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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 December 2007, 08:14 GMT
Kenyan group are Next Big Thing
Yunasi

Kenyan group Yunasi have been named the winners of BBC World Service's Next Big Thing 2007 competition at the Maida Vale studios in London.

The band, comprising seven men from East Africa and a French woman, triumphed with their song Ndi Ndi Ndi, about the dangers of excess drinking.

They were praised by the all-star judging panel for their "wide open, exuberant vocals" and for being "different to 99% of pop music".

"Somehow we knew we were going to take it," said the band's lead singer Simon Maranga Nyarieko.

"Our song is the best thing that has ever been done in terms of music. We came thinking we were going to take the prize, but we were nervous. Now we have it, we're good to go."

Unique style

There was a tie for second place, with 19-year-old UAE singer Jeremie Johnson and Serbian collective Vrelo sharing the spot.

The judges said Johnson had "the potential to go on and be a world star," while Vrelo were "fantastic" and their sound "an assault on the eardrums".

Talvin Singh, Nile Rodgers, William Orbit and New Young Pony Club's Tahita Bulmer
The judges included some of the biggest names in music
The other finalists were Icelandic rock act Hraun and French singer Maya McCallum.

Yunasi sing in several languages including Swahili, English, French, Luo, Kisii and Luhya, and they have developed a unique East African music style called Sesube.

They take sounds and inspirations from local Kenyan communities, cultural styles and languages, and fuse them with a European component.

The Next Big Thing is not their first award - in March 2006, they were one of the winners of the prestigious US International Songwriting Contest for the song Ji Opogore (The Difference of People).

They will now play at the O2 Arena as part of the World Service's 75th anniversary concert.

SEE ALSO
How Yunasi became the Next Big Thing
13 Dec 07 |  Entertainment
Longlist chosen for BBC talent search
27 Nov 07 |  Entertainment
BBC world talent search launches
22 Oct 07 |  Entertainment
Singer Silva wins Next Big Thing
09 Dec 06 |  Entertainment

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