Sunday, April 4, 2010

Msanii Bongo

I hooked up with Msanii Bongo online as I continue to broaden my horizons,just in case you don’t already know him or you have never heard of him skiza haya machaache

Q: Haya twende sasa ya' Real names and a bit about your aka?

Msanii Bongo:George Bongo Mwamuye njenga, my stage name is Msanibongo,people started calling me Msani on top of my real name Bongo my grandfather a Rabai from the Mijikenda tribes in the coast of Mombasa the fella I was named after. His name was Bongo, meaning brains (Not just brains the substance but wisdom or brightness!). Bongo also means a traditional African drum.

Bongo was a re known musician with a few traditional songs to his name.

Q: What inspired you to start music?

MsaniiBongo:I come from a linage of artiste.My dad is good guitarist but he doesn't do commercial,my mother from the coast of kenya Rabai somewhere in Kilifi/Kaloleni.Her Brothers and cousin formed the group "The Pressmen Band" and Uyoga "Formerly Them Mushroom".

All my 4 sibling are also in music,each working on their own albums,our big bro is our producer now working about under Sub Saharan (Formerly Samawati Studio).

We started singing when we were so young together,and music helped us through a tough times when our dad left us .Music helped us transmute our feeling and find solace.

Q:Who are your major influences?

MsaniiBongo:Pressmen Band,Uyoga,and Juma TUTU who helped us grow musically in our family। Our mother was a good composer and that was her work before we were able to compose on our selves which she still does.I also natured my self in church.the first church that helped us grow was St Barnabas Langat,where I learned to play several instruments.Under the leadership of my pastor and reverend Tom Otieno who train in praise and worship in Christ church Westlands.

Q:What hood are you currently in right now? what standouts in that hood?

MsaniiBongo:I recently moved from Nyayo estates to Greenfield Savannah in Donholm where I stay with my wife and my two beautiful daughters.

Its a good hood but hope to climb high,Jam to ndo mbaya।

Q: Share some new Sheng/SwaEnglish words in use over there and their meanings?

MsaniiBongo:Hapo utakua umeniweza,I am poor in sheng। I think am not a fun or influence from the coast,infact ata slang ya coast sijui.Can you imagine !!!

Q:Where have you Ministered/performed?

MsaniiBongo:As an independent artiste,I have performed mostly in rallies or school functions ,Lenana high,Pangani,and State house Girls and many that I cant remember now.

Church functions in Karen and around Nairobi।Together with my Brothers and our only siz we used to call ourselves The Firm-Ly,composed a song called "Najivunia Kuwa Mkenya" a competition under the same title sponsored by Alfred Mutua ,the government spokesman.We performed at KICC Nairobi.

Q:One or two moments you cherish?

MsaniiBongo:In Lenana high school where we had gone to ministered with my cousin Martha Mwakazi and my siz,I sung a song called Asante and in short,I wept।It was a very powerful song that i composed in langat when i had literary being thrown out of the house i had rented. I had no job and hopeless man...but I remembered Job ,that despite all he went throw he chose to praise the lord.The church supported me for a whole month.

MistaKush:Touching man।

Q:Do you have any upcoming shows?

MsaniiBongo:Currently am not slated for any show,but still active in other music ventures।

Q:Do you promote your music online? What opportunities are online, that you are embracing?

MsaniiBongo: YES।my wife says its like I can probably be found in almost every blog worldwide.Just search or Google Msanibongo and you will find me in the likes of or and many others.Am closing a deal to distribute and sell through CD Baby, amongst others.

Q.Do you think social media have become popular?

MsaniiBongo:Social media has really bridged the gap between us musicians and our fans.It is also easy to find many of them using the said Social media.I have almost 5000 fans and across the globe.There are others that have helped us sell our music to them.The recently the launched Pewa enable fans and music lover to buy musics through Mpesa and Zap.and thats power on the net.The only hitch comes when debit and credit cards are the only way to access to these music.not many Kenyan have Credit cards and these hasn't worked in our favor.

Q:Do you think there is tough competition between mainstream media giants,and the web as more and more web-goers adapt to Internet technology?

MsaniiBongo:There is a lot of competition and they better move with time।Technology is really advancing and I believe they have also made a niche in the industry .It will take time before they are matched.Kenya has a lot of potential and I think web-goers are increasing by thousands if not millions and education is playing a major role here.

Q:What has been your biggest challenge as musician? Have you been able to overcome that challenge?

MsaniiBongo:There are a lot of challenges I can tell you.first ,finances is the greatest challenge.Producers ,designs ,promotion and almost everything needs money.There's is a lot of investing at first.But am thankful to god some of the song i composed and recorded myself and my brother Alex Mugenda is also my producerI have never paid a cent to any studio,if I was to pay I would not have afforded.

Another great test is our spiritual walk.we are Christian and supposed to minister to other the perfect will of God.we often fall short of God's glory and end feeling unfit/beaten after.BUt by his blood we are healed ,washed and forgiven.his (God) grace is a new every morning.People should always pray for gospel artiste and musician to remain strong.

Promoting and selling your music is also very hard.Can you imagine i have songs in my album I recorded 3 years ago but never been played in any radio station here in Kenya.Its frustrating and these can make someone feel so disappointed,and thats when you compare your self with even secular artiste you can end up losing your passion and even calling.we are sometimes tempted with


But I have tried also to use the Internet for promotion purposes and possible market।After am done with my album i will try signing up with a good promoter and try to sell it.There are those who are already waiting for the final product.

MistaKush: Yep They aint no game I call them challenges।

Q: Whats your favorite track in your Album?

tell us why?

MsaniiBongo:Mmmmh....a very hard question,all my songs are my favorite,but Maisha which is a slow beautiful song।It's an afro fusion.

Q:Where can a fan download or buy your work online?

MsaniiBongo:Just like I said earlier go to any search engine and search Msanibongo.but here are just but a few


















• http://airplaydirect।com/music/Msanibongo/

Q:Could you briefly describe the music-making process?

MsaniiBongo:You will either come up with a tune or lyrics,thats what i would call composing,then next is to arrange or rhyme the words to bring meaning and clarity musically before going to record it in a studio।If not 100% satisfied this is where the producer will advice you on your voice or how to sing along the beat.the after recording it is mastered by the producer.When finally mastered and ready it goes through marketing.

Q:Are you a member of any music organizations?

MsaniiBongo:Yes I am a member of the Kenya Music Copyright Society

Q:Your say about the 30 meter noise rules ?How does it affect you?

MsaniiBongo:I still haven't brushed the wrong side with government on that regard।But its confusing because it has its positive and negative.Noise is bad i know ,i actually suffer in related case out of noise pollution in my left ear.I can not have a headphone on without feeling the distortion for lack of better words.but again what do you do when it hamper worship and subjects fear in church?

Q:What do you ultimately hope to accomplish with your music?

MsaniiBongo:I pray that God will use me as a vessel and an instrument for the sake of the gospel।I pray that this music will speak to people ,encourage and uplift all who listen to it.That it would speak of the love of God and souls would turn to God.I hope not to run after fame and awards,but let his kingdom come first and the rest to follow.

Q:Other passions?

MsaniiBongo:I love to play instruments and producing music.I also have interest in business.I love designing and creative art.Am also a farmer

Q:Whats your word to anyone with a ministry in Christian music?

MsaniiBongo:We are stewards and all has been entrusted to us by God.The bible say "Pride comes before a fall and remember the humble shall be exalted".

One time in river road,two people came to the studio and recorded a whole album of 12 songs in one day।it was a gospel album.What is funny is that they were all drunk. I was amazed.

Q:What book,blog,website would you recommend that can help improve the reader in their personal development?

MsaniiBongo:Read the bible and pray everyday।Let God come first in your life.

Q:Any last words?

MsaniiBongo:It was a pleasure and a testimony for me.Jesus commanded us to pray for all the saint.Remember to pray for all who stand for the gospel that they would be strong and fit for the the Kenyan musician and stop piracy .God bless you all