REFUGE is Nairobi’s very own blues rock band made of six students/best friends from the International School of Kenya. Their sound is high-energy, guitar-driven rock with strong influences from the classic rock greats of the 60s and 70s. They are determined to promote authentic, righteous and soulful music to a new generation.
REFUGE’s influences are broad but some of the artists they listen to and appreciate include the Allman Brothers, Ten Years After, Jethro Tull, Black Sabbath, Santana, Led Zeppelin, Grateful Dead, Eric Clapton and Blues greats such as Albert King, Elmore James and Buddy Guy.
The band is named “REFUGE” because it represents what they are all about: somewhere you can go to and escape from the superficial, inauthentic music that fills our airways. However, they are not a throwback band. They believe blues, rock and jazz are timeless and universal, will always be great, and just need a little kick from young people to bring some life into it.
Although made of expats, REFUGE considers itself a Kenyan band with family roots in other places, such as the U.S., Bolivia, Eritrea, Ethiopia, U.K. and Belgium. The band’s youth and diversity is unmissable – members are 13 to 16 years old, multicultural, multilingual and multinational, covering four different continents. The lead guitarist (the band leader) and singer are also siblings. All members come from parents that work in international aid and development, which is what brought them to Kenya in the first place.
‘Haven to a Heavy Soul’
From the Rock and Blues Review:
“The genius that is apparent with REFUGE is that they un-self-consciously blended album-oriented hard rock, blues, country and garage rock, turning it all into a distinctive sound that sounds familiar but thoroughly unique. On top of that, there’s the highly individual voice of Teresa Sanders and the band’s songwriting that isn’t afraid to be nakedly sentimental while spinning tales of real life. And, lest we forget, while Sanders sings, the band rocks like a mother-f’r. It’s the birth of a great band.”