Kenyan Gospel music rules the music industry in Kenya. Gospel music styles range from classical, African rhythms and choirs. Gospel music has been modernised with the latest instrumentation.
The top musicians in this widely-selling genre are Loise Kim, Esther Wahome, Mary Atieno, Hellen Akoth, Jemimah Thiong’o and Rufftone.
Others are Daddy Owen, the Kassangas, Jimmy Gait, Kanjii Mbugua, Juliani and Reuben Kigame.
Kenyan Gospel Music: Top Kenyan Gospel Music Producers
Top Kenyan gospel music producers are:
- Bruce Odhiambo of Johari Clef,
- Tedd Josiah,
- Clement Rapudo aka Clemo of Calif Records,
- Lucas Bikedo of Ogopa Deejays,
- Eric Musyoka,
- Robert Kamanzi
- Maich Black.
Others are Kassangas Studio, Herbal Records and Bably Omar of Tabasamu Records.
Kenyan Gospel Music: Top Kenyan Gospel Artists
Ruff tone whose real names are Roy Smith Mwatia can be said to be the “God father” of Kenyan gospel music. The musician was born 35 years ago in the Western province of Kenya. He specializes in gospel dance hall and raga. Besides being a gospel artist, he is also a music producer and owner of lampstand records.
When talking about the gospel industry in Kenya, the name Esther Wahome always comes up. She is one of the most prolific figures who have always featured in the gospel scene. She has also dominated the scene for over two decades. Esther Wahome has also mentored many upcoming musicians in the industry. Besides singing, she also participates in charity events. As a wife and mother of three, she also represented the country in Mrs. World beauty pageant.
Daddy Owen aka Papa Fololo is the younger sibling of Rufftone. His real name is Owen Mwatia. He burst into the scene a few years back, and under the leadership of his big brother “Rufftone” he has dominated the gospel industry for the last three years. He also managed to win most awards and nominations in the last three years. The accolades included KORA, Channel O, Groove awards, and other local awards. Daddy Owen is also among the wealthiest musicians in Kenya.
Juliani born Julius Owino started his music career as a secular rap artist with the group Ukoo Fulani. Born and raised in the ghetto, he has managed to cut himself a niche in the gospel industry. As the king of gospel rap, he has also been nominated a couple of times. Currently he is also the goodwill ambassador in charge of promoting youth farming in Kenya.
Ben Githae is well known for singing more laid back gospel tunes. He usually performs in vernacular specifically in “Kikuyu” dialect. His fame has seen him feature in top musical concerts. Ben Githae was one of the most featured artists in the just concluded elections in Kenya.
Eko Dyddah is known as the king of gospel swag. He brought a new and unique style that changed the gospel scene. His music mostly targets the youth and is always well received. He is also well known for collaborations with other gospel artist.
Gloria Muliro is currently the most popular gospel artist. Although she has been in the music industry for some time, her breakthrough came a few years back. Having grown and sang in church choirs, she is known for coming up with beautiful original tracks as well as renditions. She also works alongside her husband in running “Omba” ministries.
Shiro Wa GP
Shiro wa GP whose real name is Mary Wanjiru is one of the youngest female gospel artists in Kenya. She burst into the limelight a few years back even though she has been singing in the church choir most of her life. Unlike many other artists, she mainly sings in her vernacular language which is Kikuyu.
Kambua is a young female gospel artist who really made a mark in the gospel scene. The graduate from the prestigious Berkley School of music is known for her refined musical tones as well as her polished vocals. Other than being a gospel artist, she is also a television and radio presenter in some of the local gospel stations.
Eunice Njeri started her singing career in the church. At a later age, she became the backup singer of Esther Wahome where she was able to hone her singing skills. Her versatility in music enables her perform as a solo artist, as well as collaborating with other musicians.
Kenyan Gospel Music: Top Kenyan Gospel Songs
- Signature – Jimmy Gait
- Moto – Size 8
- Mama – Bahati Kevin
- Msaidizi – Gloria Moliro
- Utawala – Juliani
- Lala salama – willy Paul
- Utamu Wa Maisha – Dady Owen
- I am in the Race – Paul Mwai
- Napenda – Shusho
- Asusu – DK Kwenya Beat
- Sitolia – Gloria Muliro & Willy Paul
- Kando – Gloria Muliro
- Exponential Potential – Juliani
- Rudi Nyumbani – BMF
- Beautiful People – Eko Dydda
- Katikia Yesu – Kriss Ehh Baba
Kenyan Gospel Music Downloads
Here are The Top 5 Websites to Download Kenyan Gospel Music Online:
Skiza Tunes is undoubtedly the most popular download site for Kenyan music. This can be credited to the fact that it is operated by the largest cellular phone network in Kenya “Safaricom ltd”. Due to its large coverage, it is easy and convenient to locate music tracks from Kenyans. You only require 75 cents (0.009 US dollars) to download a tune straight into your phone. The tune will be renewed every day at midnight. Alternatively, you can also download a song for a one-off fee of Kshs 5 ($0.06) .The www.skiza.safaricom.co.ke service also allows a user send a tune to another person. A downloaded track may also be used as a person’s phone ringtone.
Mdundo.com is one of the newest sites offering download service for Kenyan music. “Mdundo” is a Kenyan term meaning musical beat. Since its inception about four months ago, it continues to appeal to many people. It is regarded as being Kenya’s iTunes store and allows users from any part of the world to get the latest Kenyan music as well as older music from its archives. More than 100 top Kenyan artists are signed with www.mdundo.com .This allows the site sell their music as mobile downloads straight to their mobile phones. Payment for the download includes the use of special scratch cards as well as Kenya’s mobile money transfer known as M-pesa. 5 songs go for 100Kenya schillings ($ 1.2 US dollars).
Kenyanvideos.com provides a platform where music artists can market their music. It also allows a person download the latest music videos from Kenya as well as other regions. The site gives access to all genres of music which include Taarab, rumba, soukous, Kigoco, afro pop, Kenyan soul, genge, kapuka, and much more. In order to have access to the music videos, a person needs to register online at www.kenyanvideos.com where he will also get the latest information on entertainment news, Top hits, and much more.
Get Mziki is fully owned by a company based in San Francisco known as Get Mziki LLC. The company collaborates with one of Kenya’s leading entertainment groups known as Black star Entertainment Ltd. The firm also has presence in other regions of Eastern Africa which include Uganda, and Tanzania. Get Mziki standout from the rest due to their unique marketing concepts that concentrate on building local East Africa music instead of trying to ape western strategies. The close relationship between record labels, producers, DJs, and artists offers high quality musical content. Currently, the most downloaded tracks from www.getmziki.com include “Muthoni’s Nai ni Who, DK Kwenye beat’s Asusu, and Jimmy Gait’s Signature”.
Kentunes.com is one of the most popular download sites for Kenyan music. The online resource has been providing a variety of music for people looking for authentic Kenyan music. This paid for service is regarded as one of the best download site for Kenyan music due to its high security features. All that a person needs to do is register an account which he will use to purchase the music at a minimal fee. A user is also notified of any new releases on a frequent basis. The site also offers special promotions and discount offers to attract users. Genres of music that can be downloaded from their site at www.kenyatunes.com include Afro-fusion, Afro –Jazz, Benga, Folk, Gospel, Genge, Kapuka, Hiphop, Kigoco, Rumba, Urban, Zilizopendwa, Sokous, Mikatiko, and much more.
Many artists as well as listeners are continuing to embrace and appreciate music downloads. Previously, this was not the case due to poor regulation and also lack of sufficient knowledge. However, due to better regulation and public awareness campaigns, users are able to enjoy high quality music and videos, while the artists reap from their effort.
Kenyan Gospel Music: Groove Awards
The Anual Groove Award is the top gospel music ceremony in Kenya. lt started in 2004. It has honoured artistes such as Daddy Owen and Kanjii Mbugua, who revolutionised the gospel music scene.
Groove Awards 2014 Winners
- Collabo of the Year … Ngai Ti Mundu by Betty Bayo ft Mr. Seed
- Western Song of the Year … Khwekanile by Geoffrey Kwatemba
- East and Central Africa Artiste of the Year … Solomon Mkubwa
- Central Song of the Year … Busy Busy by Betty Bayo
- Ragga/ Reggae song of the Year … Live up by Hopekid
- Western African Artiste of the Year … Uche
- Audio Producer of the Year … Jacky B
- Nyanza Song of the Year … Christine Otieno
- Southern Africa artiste of the Year … Pompi
- Lifetime Achievement Award … the Late Peter Kaberere
- Radio Presenter of the Year … And the Radio Presenter of the Year is Anthony Ndiema of Radio Maisha
- Album of the year … Kirathimo
- Pwani Song of the Year … Ahadi za Bwana by Pastor Anthony Musembi
- Dance Group of the Year … Gospel Warriors
- Rift Valley Song of the Year … Laleiyo by Shiro Wa GP and L Jay Maasai
- Video of the Year … Mateke
- Worship Song of the Year … Hakuna Silaha by Sarah K.
- Songwriter of the Year … Sarah K.
- Eastern Song of the Year … Kitole by Stephen Kasolo
- Hip Hop Song of the Year … Wannabe” by Dee and Holy Dave
- Video Producer of the Year … Sammy Dee
- Gospel Radio Show of the Year … Gospel Sunday
- DJ of the Year … DJ Mo
- Gospel TV Show of the Year … NTV Crossover
- New Artiste of the Year … L Jay Maasai
- Skiza RBT of the Year … Loise Kim
- Group of the Year… Nicholas Harmonies
- Song of the Year … Lingala ya Yesu by Pitson
- Outstanding Contributor to Industry … B.A Kanyotu
- Female Artiste of the Year … Sarah K.
- Male Artiste of the Year … Bahati