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Sauti Sol Midnight Train Review

by June 10, 2020

Sauti Sol Midnight Train Review

sauti-sol-cdHailing from Kenya is Sauti Sol, an award-winning afro-pop group that was crowned Best Group (Africa) at the MTV Africa Music Awards (2016 MTV MAMA), 2016 Soundcity MTV Awards and African Muzik Magazine Awards ( 2016 AFRIMMA). They also won Best African Group at All Africa Music Awards (2015 AFRIMA) and an MTV EMA Award for Best African Act in 2014. The band is Bienaime Baraza (vocals), Willis Austin Chimano (vocals), Polycarp Otieno (guitar), and Savara Mudigi (vocals); the group mixes their soulful voices with vocal harmonies, guitar riffs, and drum rhythms to create a distinct world music sound. Sauti Sol blends pop with traditional Kenyan influences with a discography of Mwanzo (2008), Sol Filosofia (2011), and Live and Die in Afrika (2015). Their music has received high acclaim on Kenyan charts and gained international attention. Sauti Sol did a 2012 self-titled collaborative EP with South African avant-garde innovative rapper/producer Spoek Mathambo.

About the Album

The Kenyan Afro-pop band Sauti Sol is now releasing their fifth studio album Midnight Train. The album is thirteen tracks and features the Grammy-winning Soweto Gospel Choir. “There is a lot of maturity in the album,” states Polycarp Otieno, the group’s guitarist, in a press release. “We have come of age, and we express how people should perceive us freely after 11 years as professional singers. Every song speaks to an issue that is relatable to everyone.” Guest artists are South Africa’s Sho Madjozi, the duo Black Motion and US soul singer India Arie, Kaskazini, and Bensoul among a few others.

Our Favorite Tracks

“Midnight Train” has the beautiful vocal harmonies that have made Sauti Sol so popular. With added horns and a driving African pop feel, this track is sure to get everyone’s attention. The percussion and drums drive the music forward as the vocalist conveys the powerful message of hope and perseverance. With each verse being carried by a different vocalist, the song has a flow and sound that is varied and energetic.

“Brighter Days” is uplifting in its message, with influences from pop, gospel music, and the group’s urban aesthetic. The messaging on sauti-sol“Brighter Days” is that of encouragement and optimism—the type of content the world needs in these times of uncertainty and inconvenience due to the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic and other plights. Estelle Guy’s bass is full and propels the feel. The Soweto Gospel Choir adds a joyous sound to the song. Sauti Sol’s music is a celebration of sounds and unity.

In Conclusion

Midnight Train is a musical journey, embracing the trials and tribulations, but overcoming them with unity and perseverance. The singing is outstanding, with lyrics sung in Swahili, Luhya, Luo, and English. The combination of Western pop and East African music is the cornerstone of their sound.  Midnight Train is a fun ride from start to finish. All aboard!




Sauti Sol


Midnight Train


Universal Music (Pty) Ltd.

Release Date

June 5, 2020

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