I have always said to my friends that music is a whole universe and genres are like languages, each used to speak to different types of people and the brain being the malleable tool it is, is able to shape itself to whatever form depending on the data fed into it. Nerd talks aside, here is Mankind, an alternative band composed of Mane and The Cloak. We have continuously pushed the narrative of looking beyond what we as Kenyans are comfortable with by writing articles about artists like Xeniah, Lisa Oduor, Bey T and more; all formidable acts but it doesn’t get more against the grain than Mankind. While a lot of Kenyan artists are still trying to curve out a lane for themselves in R&B and Hip Hop, mankind went against the grain and chose one of the lanes least travelled even globally and are killing it in every kind of way.
The duo have voices that compliment each other very well and consequentially, their sound feels like a warm hug reminiscent of Andrew Belle in tracks like ‘North’ and ‘The King of Hearts’; a song they wrote while in high school. Their styling and lyrics, however, feels like a modern day Coldplay or Kodaline with a bit more dynamic production with songs like ‘Metro’, ‘Meet me in London’ and ‘Meet me in Nairobi’ having stark differences in terms of their production, proving their dynamism. Still, on being dynamic, their talents go beyond music as they wrote a short film titled ‘meet me outside’ and provided a soundtrack to it as well though they maintain that they are strictly musicians.
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When starting out, it didn’t matter how good we thought we were. Not as many as we had hoped paid attention to our music. But as we stuck to our guns, a steady tribe gathered. We hope to always elevate ideas and challenge the status quo through our art. #FanAppreciationPost #Mankind . . . #FridayVibes #Mankind #FridayFeels #WeekendVibes #WeekendLoading #Friyay #Positivity #Motivation
The duo received a grant worth 1 million Kenyan shillings from the British Council East Africa arts program known as New Arts New Audiences which in their own words were intended for them to ‘just have fun with’. With the short film and a video for the first single off their upcoming album out, I think it is safe to say they had fun with it. The acts are signed to Pine Creek Records, one of the most ambitious record labels in Kenya and have a publishing deal with Sony which should mean Sony is responsible for the distribution of their intellectual property and as a result have access to numerous contacts worldwide. This shows they clearly know what they are doing when it comes to the business side of music just as they do when it comes to the making of music.
Despite the fact that I compared Mankind to a number of various established acts, their aura is akin to them and only them and as they continue to chart a path for future alternative Kenyan artists we will continue rooting for them and we cannot wait to see what they have in store for us.