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Wainaina's a good thing

By unknown | May 19, 2008 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Edward Tsumele

Edward Tsumele

When Don Khaile gave me Kenyan musician Eric Wainaina's CD about six weeks ago and remarked that "this is a good thing", I was cynical.

Khaile is Sheer Sound's marketing man and you would expect a person in that position to make such a statement.

Anyway, I decided to listen to it, and weeks later I am still listening to the CD.

It is indeed good music, especially for people who love African music.

It's great that Wainaina will be here for the Africa Day function on May 24 at Mary Fitzgerald Square in Newtown, Johannesburg. I am definitely not going to miss this event. I hope he will play material from this CD because then it will be a "good thing" indeed.

Wainaina will also perform at Mofolo Park in Soweto on Sunday, 25 May.

Wainaina is one of Kenya's best known, loved, accomplished and respected artists. He has a string of major hit tracks at home, many of them with controversial messages that pull no punches.

He speaks out against corruption in many of his songs and this has resulted in his music being banned from the airwaves many times. He has been in hot water with the authorities, but his tracks have also become unofficial national anthems because the lyrics touch so many hearts.

Wainaina graduated from Berklee College in the US with two degrees and he is the UN ambassador against drugs and crime.

His music is beautifully crafted and also diverse. It is both serious and funny and some tracks will make you dance and laugh.

The album Twende Twende, which is Swahili for forward forward, was recently released in South Africa. It is packed with amazing songs that span his entire career. It includes the powerful duet of the same name with Oliver Mtukudzi, which has been given major airplay in South Africa. It's my favourite track on the album.

In his youth Wainaina had intended to study medicine, but his love for music reigned supreme. Shocked at first by his career choice, his family later supported him. His fondest childhood memory is playing at a club at the tender age of four.

When he was young, he would listen to Papa Wemba, Youssou N'Dour, Lokua Kanza and Paul Simon.

He first stepped into the world of music with Five Alive.

With Wainaina at Africa Day, the event promises to be a "good thing" and Khaile was not exaggerating after all.


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