Kenya has been experiencing an influx of refugees from neighboring countries that have been experiencing civil wars. Kakuma refugee camp in Northern western region of Kenya is host to refugees from Somalia, Ethiopia, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Uganda, and Rwanda. The refugee camp has produced some of the most sought after artists in Kenya like Kidum and international renowned hip hop Sudanese ace Jal. Other big names who can credit their success to Kenya include prolific Gor Mahia striker Dan Sserukuma and Radio Presenter G Money.
Jean Pierre Nimbona, popularly known as Kidum
RnB sensation Jean Pierre Nimbona, popularly known as Kidum, fled to Kenya with his family as a refugee following the turmoil that engulfed Burundi in 1994. His first home was Kakuma Refugee camp. The talented drummer and songwriter left the camp for Nairobi to pursue his music career. His success in the local music industry has been phenomenal. Kidum is a household name in Kenya and has won numerous prestigious awards including the Kora Award and PAM Award. The hit maker has performed in his home country and has toured Europe, Canada and USA. He has collaborated with Kenya sensation Nameless and sassy Uganda artist Juliani Kanyomozi. Some of Kidum love ballads include Mpenzi, Nitafanya and Namba Moja
Radio presenter. Conrad Gray aka G Money’s
He has a wealth of experience spanning over 20 years as a radio presenter. Conrad Gray aka G Money’s rich British accent distinguishes him from his contemporaries. The Jamaican born radio presenter has been a darling of many Kenyans since he joined Home Boyz Radio (HBR). Before he joined HBR G Money worked in the UK as presenter. The versatile presenter hosts the much listened to morning breakfast show. He doubles as a deejay playing in popular clubs in Nairobi. G Money has been instrumental in bringing Jamaican artists to perform in Kenya. He has assisted local artists to collabo with Jamaican dancehall artists and has popularised the genre in Kenya. The Dancehall ambassador has worked alongside locals Dj Wesley, DJ Nruff and Zj heno.
His name is Emmanuel Jal and his story reads like a thriller. He was a child soldier with the Sudanese People Liberation Army (SPLA) before he was rescued by Emma McCune, a British aid worker who was married to a Riek Machier, a senior SPLA commandant. With the help of Emma, Jal was able to escape to Kenya. He lived in the slums of Nairobi and that is where he developed an interest in hip hop music. While in school he recorded All we need is Jesus a track that received massive airplay in local radio and international stations. Jal popularity has grown to unimaginable heights. The hip hop heavyweight cum activist has been involved in numerous campaigns geared towards bringing lasting peace in his home country. The Sudanese icon has performed alongside the late Amy Winehouse, Will Smith and other renowned artists to mark Nelson Mandela 90th birthday in London. A documentary on Jal was shot in 2008 that showed his journey from South Sudan to his present status as a celebrity. Jal has produced 11 albums to date.
Lovy (pictured) and Christian aka Longombas
Kenya provided the duo of Lovy (pictured) and Christian a platform to showcase their musical talents. The Congolese brothers became a household name in Kenya and the wider East African region. Longomba have performed in Channel O Music Video Awards in South Africa. Some of the hits from the Longombas include Dondosa, Piga Makofi, Shika More and Vuta Pumz. The group has scooped numerous awards including the Kora Awards for Best East African Group, Kisima Music Awards for Best Group from Kenya and Boomba Group and Best Song from Kenya and Social responsibility. The brothers relocated to Los Angeles from Kenya.
Gor Mahia striker Dan Sserunkuma
Lethal Gor Mahia striker Dan Sserunkuma has an even larger following in Kenya than his home country. The diminutive striker from Uganda scored some crucial goals that ensured Gor Mahia won the Kenya Premier league title that had eluded them for 18 years. The prolific striker was last season KPL footballer of the year. His form has elicited interest from Armenian side FC Banants who are keen to sign him.
Ugandan crooner, Chameleone
Ugandan crooner, Chameleone is arguably the hottest property in East and Central Africa. The Ugandan singer has that ability to churn hit after hit and he doesn’t seem to slow down. His music journey started in Kenya when together with Kenyan raga superstar Redsan and his fellow Ugandan Bebe Cool they combined to give us big hits like Bageya. Chameleon and Bebe Cool later relocated to Uganda as solo acts.
Before she met her untimely death in a road accident, Angelina Chibalonza was a big name in gospel music circles. The talented Congolese artist who was based in Kenya was behind the hits Mwisho wa Dunia and Ninapotembea that were huge successes in East and Central Africa. Angela was famous in Kenya, her home country.