February 25th 2018

Entertainment / Music

More gospel artistes defying old characterizations

As the local gospel music industry grows, the number of multitalented artistes whose art forms transcend traditional boundaries continues to grow.

By Lemmy Bramwellbramwel@kenyafreepress.comWednesday, 08 Jun 2016 10:00 EAT

As the local gospel music industry grows, the number of multitalented artistes whose art forms transcend traditional boundaries continues to grow.

Artistes like Guardian Angel and Jfarm have produced songs whose tunes and instrumentation cut across conventional borders. Guardian Angel has recorded both reggae/raga and afro pop songs, while Jfarm has shown adeptness in both hip hop and afro pop. Even large groups Kelele Takatifu and SOC (Saints of Christ) are not left behind in the emerging trend; both have done both hip hop and afro pop.

The reggae/ragga genre is not popular with local gospel singers. Though the two categories are not completely alike, they are usually classified under one category since they are closely related and have very few differences. The main difference is that Reggae uses musical instruments while Ragga music is digitized. The instruments used among others include: the guitar, the bass guitar, the cymbal, the drum, the piano etc.

Both styles originated from the Jamaica and its Kenyan artistes have espoused the Jamaican patois which they even use in the actual singing. It was initially associated with the secular scene but in the recent past, things have changed and it has been adopted for use in the worship of the Almighty. Kenyan gospel artistes in this genre include: Hope Kid, Kevoh Yout, Jfam, Omari inter alia. They have brought out songs that have taken over the gospel industry and have won a great deal of awards in the gospel awards ceremonies.

Afro pop merges modern and the traditional African type of music. Artistes singing this genre tend to blend the traditional African music with the modern one to come up with the genre. In as much as it is still a developing genre, the reception has been overpowering with some receiving numerous air plays in the mainstream media. Daddy Owen’s hit song ‘Vanity’ has done quite well, topping the charts for months following its release in late 2015. Other songs of this class include; ‘Some More’ by Christ Cycoz, ‘Rejea’, by Guardian Angel, and ‘Ngori’  by Kelele Takatifu among others.

Hip hop gospel music is entirely characterized by rapping and rhyming, and it is identified mostly with the young folks. The musicians try to convey The Gospel in a language the youth can easily comprehend by relating it with their daily experiences. Hip Hop gospel musicians include: Eko Dydda, Juliani, Maluda etc.

Singers of traditional tunes prefer to identify with people who understand the singers’ languages. The number of musicians who sing in the native languages and have done that  well. These include: Shiru Wa GP whose ‘Agiginyani’ song was well received by a large audience, Ljay Maasai, Emmy Kosgei among others.

The writer is a student at University of Kabianga currently on internship at the Kenya Free Press.

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