Just a Book is the work of Nairobi based visual arts collective,Just A Band. More conventionally known as a musical band, their exploration of artistic terrain has seen them create experimental work that speak to multiple publics. The book documents their evolution from a band and the presentation of their art through music videos and video installations from Nairobi to New York.
It has involved constituting and sharing of an archive of Just A Band, thus presenting an exercise in tracing the production of artistic identity of the individuals within the collective and of the collective as a whole. Through the creation of an unorthodox space that straddles multiple worlds, Just A Band has undoubtedly maintained the ability to speak to multiple audiences.
The book features preparatory sketches, animations, behind-the-scenes photos, installation shots and video stills. The reader is taken into the world of Just A Band, with insight into experiments that remain unreleased, photos from the band’s tour and a deeply personal and reflective collection of letters in the afterword.
The texts include an essay by Jepchumba, and an interview by Wanjeri Gakuru.
Just a Band is a Kenyan electro-pop and visual arts collective. They are mostly known for their house/funk/disco band. The band’s career was launched with their debut album, Scratch to Reveal, in 2008 and their music has explored various musical directions such as jazz, hip-hop, disco and electronica.
The band are also notable for their DIY aesthetic. In addition to writing, recording and engineering their music, the band creates their own music videos, packaging and promotional items and establishing a strong web and blog presence, referencing elements from virtual bands like Gorillaz and incorporating anime and animation, illustration and photography in their visual campaigns.
Fictional band history
The fictional backstory of the band states that the trio was formed on 7 February 2003 and lists their disparate origins:
Dan had just returned to Kenya from three years of travelling with a Touareg caravan led by Hazim Barghai… Bill had no idea where he came from, having spent 13 years of his life under hypnosis. He came to his senses sometime in 2002, finding himself living in an abandoned convent in Limuru… Jim spent many years of his youth serving Arabic coffee in the coffee and opium dens of Kilgoris..