In Summary
  • Back in the 60s, most African countries were mainly coming of age and most of the music was influenced by the rulers of that time.
  • In the 80s and early 90s, Them Mushrooms were a big name. And they covered the second stage of Kenyan music.
  • Artists like Five Alive, Kalamashaka and Hardstone came in mid 90s and were also very big. But like the others before them, their time came and went.

Which of the country’s musical era do you most identify with? The Lit360 show yesterday hosted music producer Evumbi, who went down memory lane to bring out the five Kenyan musical phases that have shaped the industry.

Most people identify with the late 90s to early 2000s when artistes like E-Sir (deceased), Nameless and Amani, among others, ruled the airwaves.

But music in Kenya was not only influenced by them, back in the 60s, most African countries were mainly coming of age and most of the music was influenced by the rulers of that time.

“In Kenya, we had Daudi Kabaka and Kelly Brown. They helped shape music in that particular era, and “twist” was also very big during this time and at that time there was a record studio by Sony on River Road that not so many people know about,” says Evumbi.

This helped form the first stage of music.

Kalamashaka. PHOTO | FILE

Kalamashaka. PHOTO | FILE

In the 80s and early 90s, Them Mushrooms were a big name. And they covered the second stage of Kenyan music. 

Artists like Five Alive, Kalamashaka and Hardstone came in mid 90s and were also very big. But like the others before them, their time came and went.

“Then we came into the millennium where there was a huge number of upcoming artistes. Here we have the Mau Mau group that comprised a conglomerate of artistes from Nairobi and Mombasa,” he explains.

As this was happening, other artistes were also coming up that led to the birth of music power house Ogopa Deejays.

Local artiste E-Sir. PHOTO | FILE

Local artiste E-Sir. PHOTO | FILE

They were responsible in producing mega hits like “Ninanoki” by Nameless and Amani, “Mega Ryder”, among others.

After this music started taking shape in Kenya in the mid 2000’s. That is where we have artistes like the Kleptomaniacs, Octopizzo, King Kaka.

“These particular artistes now enforced the success that other artistes could have. Genge music was big but hip hop was were everything was coming from,” says Evumbi.

He adds: “as we continue to progress the different ages will keep enforcing and recharging themselves. New artistes are coming up with their own unique styles.”

For more visit www.lit360.africa