REFUGE is a rock n’ roll band of expat teens living in Nairobi, Kenya. Their sound is high-energy, guitar-driven rock, blues, funk and reggae with strong influences from the greats of past decades. They believe in the revival of righteous music and are determined to bring it to a new generation.
The band started in 2016 when Patrick, Gabe and Silas got together for a random, first-time-ever jam session and realized, to their surprise, that they weren’t terrible, the humble beginnings of any band! So they learned some covers, played them for friends, and eventually came to dominate Nairobi’s hardcore international middle school music scene.
REFUGE’s influences are broad but largely rooted in the rich musical history of the past half-century. Some of their favorite artists include the Allman Brothers, The Wailers, Santana, Groundation, Ten Years After, Jethro Tull, The Wailing Souls, Xavier Rudd, Led Zeppelin, Grateful Dead, The Eagles, John Butler, Albert King and Buddy Guy.
The band is named “REFUGE” because it represents what they are all about: a place you can go to escape from the superficial, inauthentic music that fills our airways. However, they are not a throwback band. They are just aware of a lot more that’s out there and believe that roots music is timeless and universal.
REFUGE started making waves throughout East Africa in mid-2018 with the release of its first original song “Gone Astray”, which debuted at #1 in the East African rock charts and held that position for months. Multiple local and international TV, radio and online appearances quickly followed, drawing a steady demand for live performances by Nairobi’s best venues. Over the past 2 years, the band played an average of 2-3 live gigs per month – not an easy accomplishment for kids that can’t even legally drive! In 2019, we released our original EP comprising of 9 original songs titled "Haven to a Heavy Soul".