Music fusion as benga meets urban genres

Githuki wa Nyokabi carrying out at Golden Desires Grill, Murang’a. [Boniface Gikandi, Standard]

A couple of a long time back in Kenya, vernacular tunes was turning out to be a marginalised affair at the expenditure of urban songs genres.

Most children desire to affiliate them selves with Entice, Drill, Shrap and Amapiano as they seem down at the likes of Benga, Mugithi, Ohangla and Rhumba.

Currently, although, the tables have turned and these songs are no extended a reserve for the more mature generation. And with the music scene shifting, and new genres creeping up, we have found the fusion of genres throughout the board. at?v=S9peLHD6GjE

When Kikuyu famous musician John Boniface Maina, very best acknowledged as JB Maina, showcased dancehall artiste Wyre in his strike song Mwanake, it was a big deal for the reason that these types of collaborations had been unheard of.

JB, commonly regarded for tracks these kinds of as Ni Sorry Muno, Tiga Kumute and Mundia Tawe did a remix of Mwanake, which was not just a further Kikuyu tune, but became a club banger as effectively. Wyre introduced out his Jamaican lingo and the final mix was pure bliss.

Yet another act that was not only surprising, but also confirmed how different adaptable worlds could come jointly is when 125 dropped the track How We Do with backing from the ‘King of Mugithi’ Mike Rua.

The danceable tune shot at the Alchemist Bar bringing out two incredibly distinct genres of music to a ideal blend, with the one particular-gentleman guitarist known for his lewd lyrics and guitar capabilities nearly outshining the kids.

Kenyan music combines established around the world genres these types of as Soul, House, Reggae, RnB, Hip Hop, Trap, Nation, and Rock with area sounds such as Benga, Rhumba, and common folks.

Traditional musical devices like the Orutu, Nyatiti, and Ajawa, as properly as classical devices and preparations, are applied to produce a loaded, exclusive sound.

Pioneers of what we would get in touch with the substitute acts this sort of as Makadem have experimented with, and altered their strains from Ohangla and jazz to ‘nyatititroniks’.

This is a tendency among different functions that are redefining the songs sphere.

A handful of months back, bengatronics, a retrofuturist exploration of Benga music in Kenya, dropped their album Kiunga 2, also dubbed Kiunga Fireplace.

Quite a few are common with the Benga audio elaborate guitar licks normally much too speedy to capture, and crisp percussion, which has the ft and hips transferring pretty much of their very own volition.

This unique musical masterpiece, a 10-track cultural exchange album was a clash of African folks and pop cultures.

This project was a initial of its form and incorporated classic instruments these types of as Adungu, l’Mqess, Nzumari, Bongos, Bendir, Benga Guitar, Masinqo, Orutu, Guembri, Tam Tam (Tbilats), Taarija, Tbal and Nakouss, just to rejoice the prosperous range of African cultures.

And early this month, 254 Brewery hosted a a person-of-its-type occasion dubbed ‘Folk Fusion Extravaganza’ that was headlined by major afro-fusion artistes in Kenya such as Yaba, Ayrosh, Akoth Jumadi and Winyo.

This goes to exhibit how artistes are embracing their distinctive cultures and bridging the gap in between classic hits and city releases.


Shiphton Onyango aka Winyo (Luo phrase for hen), started off off as part of the critically acclaimed and accomplished trio Rateng’, reducing his teeth as the composer, vocalist and guitarist for the group. Winyo is now a much sought-soon after composer and songwriter, who has penned tracks for many chart-topping artistes in Kenya which includes Tusker Task Fame winner Valerie Kimani and received significant acclaim as the writer and vocals behind Ukoo Flani Mau-Mau’s hook on Angalia Saa. As a solo artiste, he unveiled his to start with album Benga Blues though on tour in Europe, performing in Germany, Italy, Romania, and France, which then introduced the adhering to 12 months in Kenya and internationally. Much more a short while ago he worked with Afro Household legends Suraj and Kate Chege, dropping a 5-monitor EP with Gondwana KE.


Samidoh, a very well-recognized Mugithi musician, has been in the new music industry for some time now. He first started out as a backup vocalist for Kamande wa Kioi right before he debuted his solo occupation with the release of Ndiri Mutwe Mwega in 2016. He has considering that turn out to be a domestic identify, with his tracks receiving millions of views. His musical roots may well be traced back again to his more youthful many years when he was a member of the Christian Union worship group.

Prince Indah

Evans Ochieng’ Opiyo is also acknowledged as Janabii. He is CEO of Musical Masters Empire and band Leader at Malaika Musicals. Indah commenced his vocation as Emma Jalamo’s drummer before graduating as a backup singer. The Luo artiste introduced his debut album Cinderella in 2015  and promptly dropped his sophomore album Tenda Wema in 2016. Because then he was catapulted to fame thanks to his controversial Nyakisumu Part 2, which catapulted him to massive fame. Some of his modern music include Te AMo, Kido Mar Hera and Mama Watoto. He has carried out some collaborations with mainstream artistes which includes Khaligraph Jones and Bahati.

Emma Jalamo 

Austine Odhiambo is a Kenyan Luo-Ohangla singer and songwriter whose good results in the audio business is due to the unique style of his composition. Emma brings together Benga, Ohangla, and Rhumba songs into a new mix that draws in supporters of all types. The specific style of his selection prompted him to title his band Ramogi Ohangla Rhumba (ROR).


Ayrosh is ideal recognized for his futuristic tactic to Mugithi (a local style derived from Benga). In addition to organising the celebration, he plays alongside other folks musicians revisiting outdated classics and fusing them with preferred genres. He is very pleased to have graced many stages in Nairobi such as Africa Nouveau, Story Moja and Slam Africa. Having now been nominated for several awards – Sondeka Awards (Fusion Artiste of the Yr), and Café Ngoma Awards (Folk Artiste of the yr) – in 2022, Ayrosh is having things to the following degree with new tracks and greater crowds beckoning.

Akoth Jumadi

Jumadi is an architect of the long run, crafting ethereal folk seems with modern day and tribal aspects. Her do the job requires weaving with each other a variety of factors of Luo people, Afro-soul, Tribal Fusion, Jazz, Taraab, and Benga. In her songs, she explores themes of really like, healing, non secular emancipation, political liberation and cultural integration in the arts. Her debut EP Ere Yo unveiled in 2020 noticed her tunes shaping the East African soundscape and pushing boundaries of what the Kenyan musical identification is currently. The Ere Yo tour saw Akoth enjoy several festivals and shows all-around Japanese Africa and outside of.


Yaba debuted into the tunes industry with the neo-benga duo, Purple Acapella, right before launching a solo career that led to him getting topped Prince of Rhumbacane, fusing the genres of Rhumba, Trap, and Soulful Benga. His collaboration with neighborhood team 125 on the 2016 monitor Tabbu, led him to common attraction amongst Kenya’s entice-loving youth. His audio has themes ranging from storytelling, youth, adore, self-awareness, truly feel-very good inspiration, and activism.