Hekima and the Bongo Flava, a Hull based outfit, play a distinctively African style of music – drawing on Hekima’s Tanzanian roots their music combines bluesy acoustic guitar, reggae rhythms, and plenty of Afro percussion – including that famous bongo lava.
Hekima’s roots were in hip-hop, rapping with the the Projekt Feenix crew, a multi-racial hip-hop outfit which combined hard edged lyrics with stripped down beats and soulful backing. But having won some acclaim for his MC skills, Hekima was keen to record more ‘roots’ material, which meant returning to some of the Tanzanian sounds which had formed his musical heritage.
That didnt mean though that Hekima has abandoned all that he learned from hip-hop. These days perhaps he has more in common with Somali born K’naan than KRS-1, but that shouldnt be a suprise, as Hekima is clearly a student of African hip hop, and African music more generally, something you can pick up from the lyrics of ‘Mama Afrika’, a tribute I can only presume to Miriam Makeba. And if you listen to the title track to the album ‘Sonrise’ you’ll hear a return to the MC stylings which won him acclaim in a previous musical life.
Hekima is backed by drums, percussion, bass, keys and electric guitar, and whatever else the group bring along on the day – the big sound they make hearks back to Afrobeat legend Fela Kuti as much as it does Bob Marley. The Bongo Flava are a group which take a number of influences in their stride, and deliver it all with style and infectious enthusiasm.