Saturday, April 20, 2013

The band with a difference

He can dance, sing and play a myriad of instruments with ease. His music resume is testimony of his vast talent that has seen him collaborate with the country ‘elite’ artists. The multi-instrumentalist has rubbed shoulders with the legendary South African jazz musician Hugh Masekhela. His music has been received well locally and internationally. Welcome to the music world of Wakake as he shares with TAHB about his band and his future plans……. TAHB: When did you venture in the music industry? WAKAKE :My music journey began when I was 12 years old. I started drumming cooking fat tins while still growing up in my rural home. I then relocated to Nairobi where I joined Dandora Catholic church. I joined the Church dance group that afforded me the chance to enhance my drumming and dance skills. That was the beginning of my career as a percussionist and I have never looked back. TAHB:What's the name of your band? WAKAKE :My Band is called Pamoja. Pamoja is a band that brings together musicians with same interests and who have intentions of achieving particular goals. I for instance believe in music activism. My major roles are in using music for social education besides entertainment. I also hold workshops to help musicians learn new skills and business approaches to music business. I do all these under PAMOJA. However, I have my personal band that am setting up now which is named OUTLAWS, with myself as the chief outlaw. TAHB:Why name your band the Outlaws? WAKAKE :We like doing the usual things the usual way. However we as musicians will not do what is right and necessary including following the right channels in engaging each other. When one does that you are referred to as a trouble maker. For Me doing the right thing is the only way and if it will get me branded so, then be it. TAHB: What role do you play in your band? WAKAKE :There is band leader and a manager. All are within the band membership. However I like working on arrangements in my songs. I like refined approaches to song making with gradual growth as the song progresses. A song should build emotions. TAHB: The music you play appeals to both local and international audience. Do you mind sharing the secret formula? WAKAKE: I have been privileged to have played with different musicians from different parts of the world. That has helped me get a certain level of skill and understanding of the music that appeals to a wider audiencel. I also researched a lot on different market segments while working on my album and did a lot of consultations with players in different markets. For instance, my album production process involved over 6 studios both locally and in Europe, including online production elements that played a major role in the inclusion of musicians outside the country. I consulted on preference, reception, market segments in different countries and then used musicians who best understand the different markets preferences. That’s a good thing. However, now that the album is ready, it will take more work to penetrate all those markets< /p> TAHB:what's the inspiration behind your music? WAKAKE :My music is inspired by life, people, history, cultures, and such like stuff. TAHB: Which instruments do you play? WAKAKE :I play percussions in its entirety. That includes soft percussion and hard percussion. Soft are what we call toys which include things like, shakers, maracas, wooden blocks, cowbells, vibraslaps, tambourines, devil chasers, wow wows, maraquitas, hand claps, mouth and body percussion and anything in that line.. Hard percussion include hand and stick drums, from the djembes, congas, bongos and any other form of drum that can be played by hand or using sticks or any other strickers as an accompanying instrument. The good thing about percussion it’s the fact that is very wide and cannot really be exhausted. TAHB:Are you working on an album? WAKAKE :My first album is out. It is called Hili Na Lile (This and That) and is a collaboration with George Zirro, one of the most talented musicians Kenya has seen, and who has not yet been exposed really. The album features different styles from Jazzy tracks, African rhythms, a bit of the normal Kenyan pop and such. Some of the artists featured in the album are Sussana Owiyo, Kevin Wyre, Chris Adwar, Ian Wainaina, Dave Otieno, Stanley Kyalo, and my mentor Tellef Kvite, a multi talented music teacher and performer in Norway. Now am working on singles that will help elevate my music and my album as I get down to marketing and performing my music to the world TAHB:Does music pay your bills? WAKAKE :For as long as I can remember, I have survived on music. However, I am broadening my horizons in the music business and that means that I have to invest a lot. In the process am left with just enough cash to do the basic stuff in life. However my investments are paying off and in another 2 years, we will have a very unique structure in Eastern Central Africa that has not been experienced before in music business. There is one thing though music maturity takes an average of about 5 years, which means that for one to recoup investments they will have to do a little more and exercise patience. The good thing however is that when it pays it pays big time. TAHB:What is your take on drug abuse among youths in Kenya? WAKAKE :The youths should be engaged in skill development and opportunity creation. The truth is that we do a lot of the things we do out of influence or because we are not given alternatives in life. So for those who abuse drugs we should try our best to talk to them but over and above, try and give them alternatives. Truth is, drug use is rife among the youth now and Kenya is becoming a major conduit of drug business on the world stage. I believe all musicians should be engaged in educating our youth on the effects of drugs. There is a lot more that we can do as musicians besides writing songs, we can go out there and interact with the youth. Give them inspiration, share ideas and much more. TAHB: What efforts as an artist have you taken to sensitize youths on the inherent dangers associated with drug abuse? WAKAKE :Am currently involved in talent identification and enhancement with several community groups and musicians. There after we shall hit the streets, villages and all towns with our performances but we are still in the formative stages of preparations. TAHB: Are you involved in any charitable organizations and which are those? WAKAKE :Yes, I am currently collaborating with cancer organizations to highlight issues of cancer and promote lifestyle change among the youth to safeguard their future. To have a better future ahead, we must change now. There is a lot more that I will be doing in the near future. All these will be done through NGOMA MOJA CHARITY INITIATIVES, a Music Social Responsibility initiative that involves community service. TAHB:What are your achievements in music so far? WAKAKE :I think I have everything I have ever wanted in Life. That is my music, a good studio, my talent, a beautiful album and my interactive skills. The rest I leave to my imagination. And the sky can’t hold me down. TAHB: What is your long term career plan? WAKAKE :Creation of the biggest network of musicians worldwide, setting up a music school whose plans are at advanced stages and development of markets for music products all over the world. TAHB: What is your message to your fans? WAKAKE :Mafans, I will be sharing my works with you soon sooner soonest. Keep your ears on the ground.

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