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What do you think or imagine when you hear, ” Kenyan Music “? Nonsense sham, stupid unknowing musicians who want to be celebrities? Poor videos produced in River Road? Well, I would love to offer a point of correction, if you may allow. I hear Kenyan Music, I hear development, I feel fulfilled and even challenged. I feel like some power has been injected in me from Mars. Why? Because, I am Kenyan, I love Kenya and always will. I know nothing about the evolving of Kenyan Music but I can offer my zero cents, like the days of E-sir and Nameless. Can you imagine where he would be, E-Sir? Look at Nameless, he is been going at it, never tires, collaborating with some top brass from Uganda. Relentless, he and his wife keep making Kenyan Music marvelous, with new ideas and angles of looking at Kenyan Music.

Then around 2004 came Jua Cali, the man from the great City within a City, or is it a State? He raised the Kenyan Music Bar by introducing another phenomenon, Genge. Hit after hit, did he make and he became an inspiration to my thinking of many Calif rappers and musicians. There was Nonini and those who I have not mentioned, pardon my lack of it, but we salute you. Wyre, how can we forget him, Redsan and others. There were even others like Maji-Maji who played their famous, Unbwogable. I keep feeling prouder every moment about Kenyan Music.

To the youths out there, Kenyan Music has risen to strides, notable, why don’t we promote local talent? Why enchantment with global Jamaican, Nigerian and American rap music? Why, not be proud of the strides these musicians strive to put forth by sweating in the studios to make awesome ear blasting music for us? A number of reasons may make you change your mind:

1.  Talent support.  Can you imagine, you are an aspiring musician with a  passion and drive. In fact, during your sleep something keeps waking up,  you begin reciting your rhymes, take the idea to a studio.  He says, overwhelmingly, “Now that’s something I have wanted to hear and listen to for a long time. Time to make you big, time to make your name”. Everything’s done, believing it’s time, you and your director know that the airplay will be great. Just a minimal painful handful airplay is what you get because some are busy with Jamaican. How would you feel? Would you still be inspired or will you feel like hiding? There’s an old saying, “do unto others …”,  now you can imagine how your respect for the Kenyan musician will up because you are in the same game! Now if you had done it long ago, would you have such difficulty?

2.  Global.  Let’s make our music global. I know you will argue that it already is, I mean music from the new generation musician.  Most of the songs have incorporated some new art like American, Jamaican and others have even copied. If we just stuck to being Kenyan Music by Kenyan Musicians, see the impact it would have? Nowadays the society seems Americanised or even Chinised, but we can make ours Kenyanised in the global world. Other pioneer musicians wouldn’t be termed as ”dead”. We have to prove to the world that we love our music, it will not start from the effort of the Kenyan musician alone, but all of us. You and me.

3.  Identity. Music creates an identity, makes one unique, belonging to a culture he or she knows best. While knowing music from other cultures is great, what about starting with musicians from your own culture, those who you identify with. After all I believe there’s no Kenyan music that doesn’t reflect Kenyan way of life. From loving women’s butts, dress codes, how Americanised we women are. You know. Most of it fosters on everyday activities of the Kenyan. Be proud of where you come from, even if you believe Kenyan artists are only towards party songs, isn’t that where we like being – to parties?

4.  Play.  Music creates a way for one person or the other to relieve some significant amount of stress. Or what do you use music for? Take your time listening to the message in a music, some touches you directly no matter how much you think the message is useless. Some affects someone around you and some is just for fun, the musician sang the song for making you feel like jumping, to unwind, to make you feel good about yourself. Imagine, if all world music was centred towards inspiration or gospel music, where would all the artists go?.

It boils down to appreciation. If we don’t show appreciation for the efforts of our musicians, who will? But if we don’t support them due to reasons like we want us to have our musicians rap like Lil Wayne or like Demarco? Are we fooling us or are we fooling them? Think it in terms of you wanting to develop a talent, then you get poor reception because of reason A and B. How would you feel?

We have to be proud, of ourselves before we even be proud of those musicians. How many radio stations have we heard playing or reliving songs from the past? Say from the start of the ones who were there during Mzee Kenyatta? How many? I don’t know, but I doubt there are there or even many. Now jog your mind, how many radio stations or even television stations in Jamaica, USA or Nigeria play our music? It’s no wonder then that when our musicians have been nominated for an award, they rarely win in international competitions, because we directed all our energies to Peter and Paul,  Demarco and Lil Wayne!

What then is patriotism if we don’t care about Kenyan Music? Did you think it’s only standing at attention screaming, “Proud to be Kenyan”, everywhere? It’s what we eat, listen to,  that makes us proud. What improvements would you recommend for Kenyan Musician to reach the global platform? How better can we support Kenyan Music and Musicians. You should never hesitate to say something, even just little.


stephanie

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