In Summary
  • The most unique yet absurd thing is that the entire song has one stanza repeated in English, Kiswahili, Kikamba and Kikuyu!
  • Debate on social media and FM radio stations is varied as some praise Ken wa Maria’s musical artistry while others criticise the emptiness of the song.
  • Ken wa Maria is among the few millionaire musicians and has attracted a huge loyal fan base since he joined the industry 12 years ago.
  • He says he was inspired to venture into music by the then Kilome MP Tony Ndilinge, who was a close friend of his.

It is past midnight on a rainy night and revellers at a popular pub in Machakos town have for the past 30 minutes been dancing to rhumba and reggae music.

Then the deejay changes tune, quite literally, to benga with a song that seems to have captured the nation’s imagination.

There are instant shouts of approval as those whose feet had no rhythm minutes ago take to the floor to dance to the song Fundamentals by Ken wa Maria. Love it or hate it, you cannot ignore it.

From FM radio stations and online platforms like YouTube to bars, Fundamentals is a huge hit. But why should a song whose video largely features the musician and a woman lazing on beach beds, and cameo appearances by a couple of dancers be such a huge phenomenon? 

The most unique yet absurd thing is that the entire song has one stanza repeated in English, Kiswahili, Kikamba and Kikuyu!

Well, it appears its simplicity and Wa Maria’s pronunciation of the word “fundamentals” (foondamendoz) have made the lines, “these are the things/these are my things/these are your things/these are the fundamentals’’(sang, no less, as the musician correspondingly points at himself and the woman in the music video) irresitable to listen to.

RAGING DEBATE

Debate on social media and FM radio stations is varied as some praise Ken wa Maria’s musical artistry while others criticise the emptiness of the song.

“Real Kenyan with real Kenyan swag. Proudly Kenyan,” wrote Mue Muteti on Facebook.

On his part, Ronald Ooko thinks the song is “so funny, empty and nonsensical that it has become most watched for its unique nature. Keep up the fundamendo!”

Ken wa Maria is among the few millionaire musicians and has attracted a huge loyal fan base since he joined the industry 12 years ago.

When Lifestyle sought out the man of the moment, he was guarded in his responses. Asked what he had in mind when he composed the song, he said: “I just thought of a hilarious English word for the song and fundamentals fitted the bill.”

While the dictionary definition of “fundamentals” is “the most basic and important aspects of something”, the musician told Lifestyle he leaves its interpretation to what tickles one’s fancy. 

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