Kenya Music: Music is part of African life. Songs are sung at childbirth, initiation, marriage, death and with every daily activity such as planting and harvesting. The music of Kenya is as diverse as its people, It is through music that cultures are communicated, passed on and preserved.
Contact with oriental and Euro- American cultures has given rise to new genres of music such as the Arab influence that led to the development of taarab, chakacha and kaswida. Unique music has sprung in recent years.
The new genres include benga, with its characteristic bass-drum beat, omutibo, which has developed from the Luhya culture, and twist credited to music greats such as Daudi Kabaka and Fadhili Williams. Other even more recent genres are ‘kapuka’, ‘genge’ and ‘Afrofusion’. They are popular among the youth and singers and performers have become celebrities.
Kenyan music cannot be discussed without mentioning the heavyweights who have ruled the charts. Although most of them are dead, their music still sells well. Their hits have outlived them and are recorded by other stars. The list includes the late Williams, who sang the evergreen Malaika. The hit was later recorded by the late Mama Africa, Miriam Makeba, and Harry Belafonte of the US.
The evergreen Gabriel Omolo, popularly known as Omolo Gabby, released a 1972 hit single, Lunch Time. Others are Kabaka, Ochieng Kabaselleh, John N. dichu, Peter Tsotsi, Fundi Konde, Collela Mazee, D O Misiani and loseph Kamaru.