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Kenya YearBook


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The Kenyan music scene has witnessed  a renaissance of sorts over the past 10 years. This can be attributed to the sup- port accorded by local media. In the past local media celebrated foreign artistes and music at the expense of local productions. This, however, changed in 2003, when the Standard Group, which was then under new management, introduced Pulse Magazine, whose target was the youth and mostly focused on new generation music.

Seeing as they now had a platform through which they could articulate their issues as well as creativity, young Kenyans started composing music, which was met with instant success and has produced a celebrity culture. Though the marketing aspect of local music is yet to be fully developed, the young artistes are making good money from live performances. Buzz magazine published by Nation Media Group, and much later Zukqa, also by Nation, followed shortly after Pulse.

In recognition of this development in the music industry, a number of awards have been established to recognise and award creativity in this sector.

Chaguo la Teeniez Awards

The ninth edition of the Chaguo La Teeniez Awards was held on April 16, 2011. The event was organised by Insyder Magazine, another youth publication focusing on pop and urban culture.
The following artistes were rewarded

Teeniez’ Male Artist
Daddy Owen
Teeniez’ Female Artist
Teeniez’ Group or Collaboration
P Unit
Teeniez’ Gospel Collabo Artist
Papa God Ooh – M.O.G. & Mr. Seed

Teeniez’ Brand New Artist
Lady B
Teeniez’ Gospel Artist
Daddy Owen
Teeniez’ Hottest Track
Get Down – Madtraxx
Teeniez’ Live Performer
Teeniez’ Sizzlin’ Music Video
Kare – P Unit
Teeniez’ VJ or DJ
VJ Kalonje
Teeniez’ Radio Station with Most Hype Presenters
Shaffie and Kalekye – Kiss 100

Teeniez’ Blazin’ FM Station
Kiss 100
Teeniez’ Hottest Music TV Show
Str8- Up Live – KTN
Teeniez’ TV Actor
Ma DVD (Brian Ole Ndwala) – Machachari, Citizen TV
Teeniez’ TV Actress
Tanya (Sarah Hassan) – Tahidi High, Citizen TV
Teeniez’ TV Drama or Soap Show

Machachari – Citizen TV
Teeniez’ Brand New TV Show

Machachari – Citizen TV
Teeniez’ TV Comedy or Reality Show

Churchill Live – NTV
Teeniez’ Role Model
McDonald Mariga

Teeniez’ Ringback tone with SKIZA

Ousman – VIP Love

Kisima Music Awards 2011

Kisima Music Awards recognises music talent in East Africa.
Gospel Artiste/Group of the Year:

Juliani – Bahasha ya Ocampo

Fusion Artiste/Group of the Year:
Sauti Sol – Coming Home

Boomba Artiste/Group of the Year:

Jaguar – Kigeugeu

Reggae/Ragga Artiste/Group of the Year:

Kevoh Yout – Determination

Benga Artiste/Group of the Year:

Mbuvi – Kwata Kawaya

Collaboration of the Year:

MOG & Mr. Seed – Papa God Ooh

Most Promising Artiste/Group of the Year:


Lifetime Achievement Award:

Habel Kifoto

Music Producer of the Year:

(Freddy) Co-producer Moses Njenga

Overall Artiste/Group of the Year:


Gospel Music

While it is true that music in Kenya has in the last ten years enjoyed a renaissance of sorts, gospel music has been a revelation. A closer look at musicians in Kenya today reveals that gospel artistes enjoy a near-fanatical following, and therefore financial success. This perhaps has something to do with the fact that, by nature Kenyans and Africans in general are deeply religious and therefore any form of creativity packaged in the name of religion is likely to enjoy massive support.

When you talk about gospel music some of the musicians that easily come to mind include, Daddy Owen, Juliani, Esther Wahome, MOG, The Kasangas, Mary Atieno among many others. Before the rebirth of Kenyan music, Gospel music was not seen as a form of entertainment, but was rather associated with churches and was conservative in terms of expressions. The youth did not like to be associated with anything to do with churches, thus gospel music was seen not to be ‘cool’.

However this has changed and ‘parties’ which exclusively feature gospel music are the in thing with the youth today. Previously any form of vigorous and expressive dancing was severely frowned upon in church events, and was somehow equated with sin. Today, those barriers have been broken and there are dancing troupes in church as well as gospel deejays. Today, churches that feature dancing groups and deejays are the most popular, especially with the youth, and naturally have better attendances.

Some of the pioneering artistes,who eventually brought a change to how gospel music was viewed in Kenya include Pete Odera, who led a group called Hart. However, the actual revolution came with Esther Wahome’s mega hit Kuna Dawa, which crossed over and ruled dance halls as well.  There have also been interesting developments with secular artistes crossing over to become gospel musicians. The most famous example being Joseph Kamaru, who for many years made a name as a Kikuyu cultural musician, only for him to become born again and to start singing gospel music. Among the youth DNA, who made a name with the hit single Banjuka, also became a gospel artiste. Daddy Owen’s brother Roughtone was also a secular artiste before turning his energies into gospel music.

The annual Groove Awards are enough testament that Gospel music has come of age. Not only are the awards better organised, they are also well attended and enjoy more prominence among Kenyans.

Groove Awards 2011

The annual groove award is the top gospel music ceremony in Kenya. It started in 2004.

Male Artiste of the Year- Daddy Owen

Female Artiste of the Year Alice Kamande

Song Writer of the Year Eunice Njeri.

DJ of the Year category DJ Sadiq

 Eastern song of the Year John Mbaka for Mivango Ya Amaaitha

New Artiste of the Year Marvelous

Central Song of the Year Tigana na Andu

Album of the Year Paul Mwai for Racing Up

Group of the Year BMF

Artiste of the Year Uganda Exodus

Gospel TV show of the Year Crossover 101

Dance Group of the Year Saints

Audio Producer of the Year Dr Eddie

Skiza Ring Back Tone of the Year Rose Muhando

Pwani Song Of Year – Marion Shako, Adonai

Burundi Artiste of the YearJoy Nkundimana

Outstanding Contributor AwardMary Atieno Ominde

Hip Hop song of the YearJuliani

Artiste of the Year Southern SudanGeneral Mannaseh Mathiang

Radio Presenter of the YearSyombua Wa Mwele of Musyi FM

Tanzanian Artiste of the Year to Christina Shusho (Rose Muhando collects the award on behalf of the Christina)

Western Song of the YearLinet Webukhulu for her song Vuyanzi

Rift Valley Song of the YearEmily Chebet for her song Chesireret

Video Producer Of The Year AwardJ Blessing

The Nyanza Song Of The Year Award – Carol Nyakwaka for the song Owinjore Gi Pako

Artiste of the year RwandanBlessed Sisters

Gospel Radio Show of the YearGospel Sunday on Milele FM

Worship Song of the YearPaul Mwai for the track I’m On The Race

Reggae/Ragga category of the YearPraise Him by Alemba and Sadiq

The Victoria Music Awards (Vima) was launched in Nairobi on August 16, 2011 to celebrate outstanding talent in vernacular music. The inaugural awards held in Kisumu on December 10, 2011 recognised regional artists of the year from Coast, Eastern, Central, Rift Valley, Western and Nyanza provinces; urban artistes; viewers’ choices of gospel, male, female and bands of the year; vernacular radio of the year; and life time achievers.

Full Victoria Music Awards List Category Winner

Best vernacular radio station


Best vernacular TV show

Dunda Kikwetu (KBC)

Best vernacular music video

Onyango Alemo (Piny osiko to sikie)

Best artiste/song (Coast)

Nyota Ndogo

Best artiste/song (Eastern)

Ken wa Maria

Best artiste/song (Central)

JB Maina

Best artiste/song (Rift Valley)

Mica Martim

Best song (Nyanza)

Johnny Junior (Sweetheart)

Best artiste (Nyanza)

Osogo Winyo

Best artiste/song (Western)

Pastor Joseph Shisia

Best Band

Limpopo International

Best gospel artiste/song

Betty Bayo

Best Urban Artiste

Susanna Owiy

Overall song of the year

Musa Juma – posthumously (Lake Victoria)

Best collaboration

JB Maina

Overall vernacular artiste

Johnny Junior

Mwafaka Awards 2011

Mwafaka awards seek to promote upcoming gospel artistes. The event is now in its fourth year. The 2011 ceremony took place on 13th August 2011 at City Hall plaza, Nairobi.

Male Artist: Ringtone

Female Artist: Loise Kim

Song of the year: Papa God ooh (MOG feat Mr Seed)

Video of the year: Tikolo (P Nine)

DJ of the year: DJ Touch

Group of the year: Tetete

Hiphop artist of the year: Izzo

Dance group of the year: Detour

Collabo of the year: Nifungue (Alemba and Kaberere)

Producer of the year: Emile

Longest hit: Gethia Mundu(Sammy Nene)

TV show of the year: Gospel Garage(K24)

Radio presenter of the year: Lawrence Thuku (Truth FM)

TV personality of the year: Jesiel Njau (GBS)

Most Promising Artist: Mr. Seed

Winners of East African Music Awards 2011

The ceremony is hailed to be the first competitive and all inclusive music awards show, encompassing the entire East African region: Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Ethiopia, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is organised by Golden Dreams Co. Ltd

Urban   Contemporary   Category Best Male — Dr. Claude – Baramu Gyanye – RWANDA

Best Male Jaguar – Kigeugeu- KENYA

Best Female Juliana – Alive Again – UGANDA

Best Group PUnit – Hapa Kule – KENYA

Best Collabo AY ft. Mwana F.A. Habari Ndio hiyo – TANZANIA

Gospel Category

Best maleDominique Ashimwe – Nditabye – RWANDA

Best maleDawit Getachew – Etebikihalehu – ETHIOPIA

Best Gospel FemaleChristina Shusho – Unikumbuke – TANZANIA

Best Gospel GroupB.M.F – I live for you – KENYA

Best Gospel CollaboEmmy Kosgei ft. Lynn Ongeureren – KENYA

Afro Fusion Category

Best MaleKidum – Mapenzi – BURUNDI

Best Afro Fusion FemaleEmarauce Niwizera – Yambogorera – BURUNDI

Best Afro Fusion GroupThe Brothers – Sawa Sawa – RWANDA

Rhumba Category

Best MalePapa Wemba – Six Million – DRC

Best Rhumba FemaleTshala Mwana – Maloz – DRC

Best Rhumba GroupMsondo Ngoma – Kaza moyo – Tanzania

Folk/Traditional Category

Best MaleAlfred & Bernard – Igukumi Karotirinda – BURUNDI

Best FemaleTina Mdulule (Big Mama) – Tupapule – TANZANIA

Most Promising Artistes

Most Promising male ArtisteMr. Lengs – SOUTH SUDAN

Most Promising Female ArtisteKeko – UGANDA

Best Video CategoryLam – Stay in Love – SOUTH SUDAN

Artist Of The YearKIDUM

Cultural theme nights

Despite the seemingly unstoppable march of modernisation, Kenyans have in the past decade or so realised that while the Western cultures have their fascination, they cannot completely do away with their traditional practices. A re-awakening among urbanised Kenyans has seen hordes flocking back to their ‘roots’.

Smart entrepreneurs tapped into this ‘patriotism’, giving birth to cultural theme nights, which have become very popular especially among Nairobians. In a typical theme night, members of a particular community meet up at a selected night spot, where they indulge in aspects of their culture, ranging from clothing, foodstuffs, and most importantly music and dance.

So popular have these theme nights become that they have become a must-visit for any tourist who happens to be around Nairobi at that particular time. Some of the better known cultural nights include Mulembe Night (Luhyas), Ramogi Night (Luos), Mugithi Night (Kikuyus), Esagasaga Night (Kisiis), Kitwek Night (Kalenjins), Kililimbi Night (Kambas), Mambura ja Meru (Ameru) and Ntemer Night (Samburus).

So popular have these events become that corporate and media institutions scramble to be identified with them as sponsors. It should be noted that in spite of the fact that these cultural gatherings are identified with particular communities, it is open to people from other communities who feel like sampling what other communities have to offer.

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