Monday, January 20, 2014
Top Record Labels In Kenya
Kenya is awash with record labels that have popularized the Kenyan urban music. While some of the record labels went underground due to the stiff competition, some like Ogopa and Calif remain afloat. New entrants like GrandPa Records are causing ripples in the local showbiz industry and giving up start artists a platform to shine. Other industry players like Ketebul records specialize in contemporary African music. Here are some of the local Record labels in Kenya.
GrandPa record is proving to be a powerhouse in the East African region. The high flying record label owned by Refigah has signed the ever fresh DNA, Shamir whose vocal prowess is second to none and lesser known artists like TL-Moh, Pizzo, Dogo and a host of other artists. GrandPa landed a gem by signing DNA who never ceases to impress every time he leaves the booth. Maswali ya Polisi, by DNA, which is an anthem of sorts is the product GrandPa records. Madeni by TL Moh is also catchy and is receiving favorable airplay in the local radio stations. The hit that got many a tongue wagging was Fimbo Ina chapaa that featured all the GrandPa artists. Kamua Leo remix by Kidis featuring Wyre, Amileena and DNA is so far the hottest hit in the country from GrandPa records. Before an acrimonious falling out with GrandPa Records, Mr. Nice was signed to the music label.
For over 12 years Calif Records has been churning some of the best hits in Kenya. The record label held sway in the years of yore was known for the popular Genge genre. Founded by the Clemo and the multi-talented Paul Nunda AKA Jua Kali who dominated the local music charts with hits like Kwaheri featuring Sinapei has been on a downward spiral. The record label dominance has been whittled down thanks to new entrants in the now crowded field. The mass exodus of artists from the music label is a clear testimony of the fledging dominance of Calif records. Artists who have worked with the music label include: Masha, Choku, Circute & Joel, Flexx, Jimw@t, Jua Cali, Mahatma, Nonini, Pilipili, Ratatat, Mejja and the late Lady S.
This is one of the oldest production outfit in Kenya that brought to the limelight the trio of Bebe Cool, Chameleone and Redsan. Ogopa Deejays have played a pivotal role in popularizing the Kenyan urban music to acceptable international standards. Founded by the media shy brothers Francis, Lucas Bikedo and Banda who doubles as the manager, Ogopa brought a new beat known as Boomba that entwines Neo hip hop with a tinge of African rhythms. Ogopa Deejays have spread their tentacles to Namibia where they have an affiliate known as Ogopa Butterfly. Some of the artists from the Ogopa staple include the sassy Amani, Big Pin, Nameless and the most celebrated hip hop of all time the late E-Sir.
Ketebul music has cut a niche in the wider east and central Africa region as a leader when it comes to production of rich cultural music. The music label is home to the finest contemporary artists who fuse diverse traditional sounds to their music. Unlike other music labels, Ketebul thrives on live recorded instruments which are more ‘real’ and not sequenced sounds that are popular with most productions houses. Founded by the legendary Tabu Osusa, Ketebul has produced such greats as Iddi Achieng,’ Makadem, Suzanna Owiyo, Olith Ratego, Ogoya Nengo, Gargar and Winyo.
A new entrant in the local showbiz industry, Chocolate city has sent signals of its intention of tapping the best talent Kenya has to offer by signing the bootylicious Victoria Kimani. The Nigerian recording and entertainment company is keen to spread its tentacles in the larger East and Central Africa and Kenya provided them with the right platform being a regional powerhouse. Victoria Kimani, who was rumored to be in a relationship with Victor Wanyama who was recently signed by Southampton from Celtic, is the first artist to be signed by Chocolate City music label.
Ulopa Ngoma can be credited with bringing a new flavor in the local music industry. The one hit wonder duo of Shavey and Slice dominated our airwaves with their raga song thanks to the mastery of Ulopa. Ulopa has also worked with the high flying self-proclaimed king of hip-hop Collo among other artists.
Sub Sahara is home to talented artists who have won many accolades in Africa. The music label was founded by the multi-talented composer cum musician, Suzanne Gachukia. Artists under Sub Sahara production label include the gifted KUS MA and SHAPPA MAN of Camp Mulla.