Kenya has a diverse assortment of popular music forms, in addition to multiple types of folk music based on the variety over 40 regional languages.
The drums are the most dominant instrument in popular Kenyan music. Drum beats are very complex and include both native rhythm and imported ones, especially the Congolese cavacha rhythm. Popular Kenyan music usually involves the interplay of multiple parts, and more recently, showy guitar solos as well. There are also a number of local hip-hop artists, including Jua Cali and afro-pop bands such as Sauti Sol.
Lyrics are most often in Kiswahili or English. There is also some emerging aspect of Lingala borrowed from Congolese musicians. Lyrics are also written in local languages. Urban radio generally only plays English music, though there also exist a number of vernacular radio stations.
Zilizopendwa is a genre of local urban music that was recorded in the 1960s, 70s and 80s by musicians such as Daudi Kabaka, Fadhili William and Sukuma Bin Ongaro, and is particularly revered and enjoyed by older people—having been popularised by the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation’s Kiswahili service (formerly called Voice of Kenya or VOK).
The isukuti is a vigorous dance performed by the Luhya sub-tribes to the beat of a traditional drum called the Isukuti during many occasions such as the birth of a child, marriage and funerals. Other traditional dances include the Ohangla among the Luo, Nzele among the Mijikenda, Mugithi among the Kikuyu and Taarab among the Swahili.
Additionally, Kenya has a growing Christian gospel music scene. Prominent local gospel musicians include the Kenyan Boys Choir.
Benga music has been popular since the late 1960s, especially in the area around Lake Victoria. The word benga is occasionally used to refer to any kind of pop music. Bass, guitar and percussion are the usual instruments.