Category Archives: CokeStudioAfrica

Coca-Cola in Kenya 2017

Last night, Coke studio Africa, the musical show from Coca-Cola had performances by Bebe Cool of Uganda and Falz the Bad Guy of Nigeria. They were amazing performances by top performers and I was fortunate to be at the earlier taping of the show. The production was very impressive to see live, the crowd at the taping was enthralled and it would not be a surprise if the two stars continue to perform together for many years after their first meeting in Nairobi. Coke Studio Africa, now in showing its 2017 edition, has done a lot to introduce musicians from different parts of Africa to new audiences in other parts of the continent – and the rest of the world through the Coke Studio Africa show clips which are available on YouTube and the new songs from each of the seasons that can be downloaded on a Coke Studio Africa app.

Bebe & Falz: Image from Coke Studio Africa

Besides the filming and production of Coke Studio Africa in Nairobi, Coca-Cola has had a busy year in Kenya. In the last few weeks, despite the Kenya election which usually sees a slowdown in corporate activities, they have had two major product launches – one for Minute Maid Pulpy Orange, and another for Coca-Cola Zero Sugar (formerly Coke Zero) which is now available in a wider variety of bottles.

At the same time, the acquisition of Coca-Cola Beverages Africa Proprietary (CCBA) by Coca-Cola was completed – for continues production of Keringet bottled water brand at Molo. CCBA  also bought out Equator Bottlers at Kisumu, the third largest Coca-Cola bottler in Kenya which supplies products in the Western Kenya.

At the same time Centum Investments which owns 27% of Nairobi bottlers, and 53.9% of Almasi Beverages – both bottlers of Coca-Cola products, also moved to increase their stake in Almasi by offering other shareholders Kshs 7 per share. Almasi had Kshs 7.8 billion of sales in 2016, and a pre-tax profit of Kshs 1.05 billion. Alamasi, the second largest bottler in Kenya behind Nairobi bottlers, and according to Centum – accounts for 28% of the volumes sold in 2016, which puts Coca-Cola sales in the country at  ~Kshs 28 billion.

Understanding Coke Studio Africa

Season 4 of Coke Studio Africa started showing on TV in Kenya last month. This is the first time I’ve really paid attention to it, and for the first time I can say,  I now understand what the show is about – which is to showcase African music and artistes to new fans across the continent.

The shows were shot in Nairobi and had artistes are flying in from all across Africa. Season 4 will be another massive production in terms of logistics, music production, digital, and television broadcast – that features 38 artistes from 11 countries. I did not know a single musician from Mozambique but, representing Lusophone Africa, there are two this season – with fabulous females in Neyma and Lizha James. Also, DJ’s in Kenya have been playing a funny-sounding song that has a line that rhymes like “why chew kucha” (why chew your fingernails”?) – but the song is actually “Atchu Tchutcha” by Mozambican Angolan singer, Yuri da Cunha who’s also featured this season.

The artistes are invited and scheduled, paired and flown in to meet in Nairobi, chat with each other, and try each other’s foods to build bonds. They learn each other’s music, pick songs they like and sing  versions of them, mixing languages and musical styles. Modern music has some powerful performance when people sing each other’s songs and many musicians have their largest hits from collaborating with other artistes – Whitney Houston (& Dolly Parton), Nelly & Kelly, Puff Daddy (& Sting), Sinead O’Connor (& Prince), Jay-Z & Linkin Park, Eminem & Dido, Santana & Rob Thomas, Wyclef & Shakira, etc.The Coke Studio sessions are done in a mix of other events that happen around the presence of particular artistes in Nairobi. Other local teams work around the artists pairings and locations doing live bands, back up singers, filming, recording, wardrobe & makeup, media teams, digital teams etc. Local sponsors this year are Kenya Airways who get to showcase their regional route network (flights to 40 African cities), Samsung,  General Motors who’s Chevrolet Blazers zip the artistes across town and Sarova hotels.

The shows are shown in different parts of Africa on DStv and local broadcasters so different regions get kansoul-lizhadifferent shows in five languages (English, Amharic, French, Kiswahili, and Portuguese.) with emphasis on music that appeals to a region.

Last week’s show in Kenya featured Lizha James and “The Kansoul” (i.e. Mejja, Madtraxx, KidKora) and was probably one of the best ones so far. Other Kenyan artistes featured this season are Jaguar, Sauti Sol, Nyashinski, and Bahati.

Most of the song clips will be available on YouTube and this year there’s also an app (at the Google store) that fans can use to download and watch all the songs and video from Season 4 as well as from two past seasons of the show.