Currently redefining the future of Benga music, the Bengatronics recently exploded onto the East African music scene. Blending cutting edge electronics, irresistible Benga rhythms and sweet-as-sugarcane guitar riffs – the outfit seemed to arrive fully formed out of nowhere.
Truth is, echoing Robert Johnson’s mythical meeting at the crossroads – this story began with DJ Gregg Tendwa picking up a young guitar-slinger hitching by the side of the road in Machakos county, Eastern Kenya.
The two shared a few words and decided to jam – Tendwa dropping beats from his laptop and John Kithikii improvising lyrics and melodies for hours on end. Gregg Tendwa, inspired by the path his trailblazing Santuri Safari project had led him down, dubbed the style Bengatronics – a sly nod to the experimental electronic scene coming out of Congo and Kenya’s own rich Benga tradition.
Joined by John Udulele on bass and vocals, Missing’ Rotich on the rhythm and vocals, Moseh Drumist on percussions, and aided by the studio wizardly of Kibby Kenneth, Sarabi’s Harun Waceke, and Claus Seest of Fluffy Studios, the collective is busy honing their live show and developing tracks for Bengabelt Vol 1, their first release. As it stands Bengatronics have already rocked Nairobi, Arusha and Jinja, – and will be hitting a town near you soon.