Hailing from the vibrant streets of Nairobi, Refuge are Kenya’s answer to blues rock. Drawing inspiration from the likes of Santana, Jethro Tull and Led Zeppelin, the group met at the international school of Kenya, with the aim to promote authentic and soulful music to a new generation. Initially starting with three founding members (Patrick, Gabe and Silas), their international middle school music dominance came after a successful first rehearsal, and the months that followed were used to refine their infectious riff-driven rock whilst implementing a sense of originality.
As their songs increased in intricacy, the trio decided to expand the lineup in order to fulfil the sound they wanted to achieve. The additions of Ben (Bass), Theresa (Vocals) and Ike (Organ) enhanced their end product, all sharing the belief that blues rock and jazz are timeless and interchangeable genres. Though they are all expats, their family roots stretch from the US, Bolivia, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Belgium and the UK. This eclectic mix can be heard in their music, drenched in notes of ambience and poise while still keeping to its blues-driven foundations. Though the collective are only 13-16 years old, they have a maturity beyond their years, most significantly heard in their first single ‘Gone Astray’. Making waves across the Kenyan music scene, it debuted at No.1 on the East African Rock Chart. A steady demand of live performances, TV, radio and online appearances followed, leading to their first international set at Bautz Festival in Germany.
In relation to the EP itself, the band aren’t hiding behind a highly defined concept, instead they’ve chosen to represent a developing sound, somewhere between blues, rock, folk with small psychedelic elements to add a contemporary feel. The title refers to their name, giving people a place to escape the distasteful and dispassionate areas of music. Achieving what they have already is a testament to their hard-work as a band, yet their aspirations stretch much further, ambitious for sure…. but I think they’re ready.