About

Nabalayo is the fairy godmother of the Nairobi underground entertainment scene; creating ethereal music that explores futuristic sounds all the while paying homage to her African roots. As a part time ethnomusicologist and fulltime advocate for the preservation of local cultural heritage, Nabalayo has found herself walking the path of a contemporary Griot.

 

 She began her music journey early as a flautist at age 8 and a singer for her family gatherings.

 

As a curious child, she discovered Björk, The Cranberries and Coldplay on the family’s ancient Macintosh desktop computer. These acts resonated with her deeply and together with the local sounds of East Africa in the early 2000 influenced how she approached music.

 

In high school she picked up the violin solely out of a crush for The Vampire Lestat and later went on to play with three local orchestras. Her grunge phase that may or may not be over directed her musical interests towards more hard-core music styles.

 

While in her teen years Nabalayo experimented with sounds other than hard rock. She would sit at the computer for hours on end in her free time eager to sample diverse musical styles from the people of the world. Her new found likes only served to push her into uncharted musical territories with an even broader approach.

 

She began writing and performing her own music at the start of her university career as a music performance major, oscillating between Jazz, rock  and her idea of  Afro-indie music.

 

Unsatisfied with the inability to fit into any one genre, and armed with new found knowledge about music practices in Africa, Nabalayo decided to pioneer her own style which she calls Changanya. She then started producing music as an apprentice of KMRU, Hendrick Sam and Lloyd for the duration of 2018.

 

As a trained scholar in African music, Nabalayo has learnt the value of the aspect of community in the arts. She is a participant of the Wengi collective (Nairobi) on Currents, the Nairobi Ableton user group, and Black Bandcamp Nairobi.

 

Her self-produced labour of love debut album Changanya, which shares its name with the genre, was released on the 31st of October in 2020.

She is currently working on more music, visual art and her upcoming podcast.

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