Top 5 Performing Artists to Watch in Kisumu

Re-blogged from

Kisumu is untamed land of opportunities, with myriads of untapped resources, the primary resource being art, culture and Natural resources such as Lake Victoria and the conducive climatic condition among others. Kisumu County is characterized by a rapid growing population, high population density, water scarcity, falling food production, and low resilience to climate change. Located along the shores of Lake Victoria in western Kenya, Kisumu County is home to 952,645 people. The population is projected to grow to 1,145,749 by 2017, according to population dynamics, environment, and sustainable development in Kisumu county report by Population Action International. Apparently the question in your mind is how is all these related to the above a title. Well, the catch is, three quarters of the population is under 30 years old so basically it is a youthful City. There you have it!

Over the years the art space in the region has been under-utilized with many Kisumu-based artists leaving Kisumu for Nairobi. Kisumu boasts of performing Artist  big names such as Susan Owiyo, Eric Omondi and his Brother Fred Omondi, Cleopas AWINJA (Jalas), Otoyo  ,Big Pin just to mention a few. I have to confess that several art related companies and Artist associations have come up, to put to use this space in Kisumu and western Kenya as a whole, Kisumu being the epicenter for Art in the region, and western Kenya the headquarter.

Ok now let’s get back to the purpose of this article, top 10 upcoming artists to watch in western Kenya. Probably I know you’re wondering why they are upcoming yet some of them have been in the music industry for over five years  and they have hit that 10,000 hours expert mark.

This list is in order as sorted by my blogging team.

  1. Tomito AKA Ngozi Nyeusi

He is a crowd puller, with vigor and passion. He articulates his rhymes; his grip in poetry is just moving. He is born and bred in Kisumu.  Started music in 1995 in Kisumu, so when we talk of experience he is counted in. He was in the group called kenyanna,hardcore rap trio from then to 2006. One member of the group, the late Peter Okongoo, was shot dead in Eastleigh Nairobi), and the other member, Dan Odhiambo, later in 2007 migrated to the USA prompting him to take a small break from music to strategize and repackage .

In 2011 one Tomito got a courtesy call from several studios but settled for Ogopa deejays. Tomito is currently working on his solo album with the stable. He has already done three videos;  Kiongozi wa Upinzani , Pesa featuring Kimya and seven audios with Ogopa Deejeys . He toured Europe in 2008 with his former group member Kenyanna. He had performed in Amsterdam, Hamburg, Berlin, Dublin and some countries in Africa including Tanzania, Uganda, Burundi just to mention a few. His Album is to be completed this year November by Ogopa deejays. Tobito is currently anticipating the release of his new video featuring Willy Fololo, called “maumau”.

  1. Eddah Nyangasi AKA Needah

She is good in her art and passionate about it. ‘Secrete’ she is soft at heart but an iron lady at art. She speaks it all in her rhymes, those who have interacted with her will attest to that. When I spoke with her about her Journey through music, she had a lot of insights to share.  “I started music in 2008 when I met producer one Oray Dave of Star Link Studio. As friends we used to hang out a lot. I could see artists come record then one day I told him that I was a singer in school, he decided to try me out.

My first two songs were RnB.  One called Penzi Langu and the other one called Mama. I never got the notes well most of the time. One day a group was in the studio and were freestyling on a beat and I decided to join in and did Tupac Shakur’s “as I walk through the shadow of death…… I think it’s called gangster paradise” the producer was so amazed at my rapping skill. He told me I should try rapping. I decided to give it a shot and that’s when I released “Swali.” That’s how my journey started”.

Five years down the line she started winning major music awards. She won best video 2013 Vybez awards, 2014 best female artist of the year tecno vybez awards, nominated female artist best song nyota awards nakuru edition 2014. On 23rd may she released a mixtape known as Safari Mixtape at Club da place Maboleo Kisumu, which enjoyed the support from Ignite Africa, Talent industry ,Vybes among more others. The mixtape is composed of seven Tracks namely Swali, Tamu love, HipHop ni lyf,Ktown,Safari ya mapenzi , Promoter Nipe doo and Drizzling Sorrow. You can download the mixtape here

  1. Willy Fololo AKA William Ochieng

He is one cool Artist; Off the Stage he is open minded and utterly welcoming. Those who have closely interacted with him will attest to that. He accepts criticisms both negative and positive, mostly from friends and even fans. His Journey into performing art started as a dancer. He formed a dance crew while in primary school and high school, was an active member of drama club so it gave him exposure and passion as a performer. Then later he joined a band in Nairobi as a dance choreographer and a vocalist.  As time went by, Fololo practiced playing guitar and percussion drums.

He moved to Tanzania where he stayed for 5 years performing with different bands. It was while in Tanzania that he managed to record his album Fololowise .The dancehall, reggae and Afro pop musician is currently working on another album. FoloIo won a vybez awards 2014. As he continues to produce hits so does His band back in Tanzania, the band has won three consecutive years best reggae band on Kili music awards. Get his album at Moscom mega plaza Kisumu, sound cloud and mdundo. From his words “Im yet to take Kisumu music industry to a whole new level.”

  1. Richad Matendechere AKA Xpat-Mkwanja 

He is the 2014 Tecno Vybez Awards artist of the year. Xpat Mkwanja is a recognized Kenyan artist. He has spent most of his life in Kisumu city, Kenya, where his musical journey started at Star link Studio, run by one of Kisumu’s legendary producers, Oray Dave.

Formerly known just as Xpat, the artist gained the name ‘Mkwanja’ from a hit song in 2010 by a similar name. Xpat Mkwanja has worked with renowned Kenyan producers such as Ogopa Deejays, Mandugu Digital, Dillie, Jesse (Ketebul), Stevo (Jomino) in songs which enjoy airplay in local and international radio and TV stations alike. However, Ujoc, a Kisumu producer, remains his favorite, as he does most of Xpat Mkwanja’s instrumentals. Not shying away from controversy, Xpat Mkwanja released an explicit video “Tear it up”, which had to be toned down severally before it was accepted in mainstream media.

A local newspaper editorial dotingly referred to him as “Bold Child of the World”. He later released a world cup themed song titled “Boom Shakalaka” which was regularly played in the Big Brother House (2014). Xpat Mkwanja has collaborated with great artists from all over Kenya such as Rabbit (Ningekuwa Dame), Rojo Mo and Dogo Richie (Boom Shakalaka). This effectively strengthened his position as a bigwig in the Kenyan music industry. Xpat Mkwanja plans to collaborate with international greats such as STL, Wizkid, Kanye West, and 50 cent. He is the first in the region to hold a listening party, which turned out very successful.

Apart from music, Xpat Mkwanja is an expert in scrabble and also does online writing on the side. He owns a boutique in Kisumu city, apart from other shops in the country. His recent releases are Money Sense, in which he features Kush Tracey, and a humorous song Bolingo. Link up with him on twitter @xpatwamkwanja, instagram @xpat.wa.mkwanja and facebook XPAT MKWANJA.

  1. Antony Ogoti Masitta AKA Lyricali 

He is another great Artist to be around. He has been in the music scene since 2003. He is a dancehall reggae artist and a hype Mc. He has worked with legendries’ such as Ulopa, homeboyz, Jomino, producer Ujoc of Bermuda Records, Street breeze Records and OneVybe Africa.  Has shared the same stage with East Africa’s finest like Peter Miles, Menshan, Bebe cool, Radio and Weasel, is currently he is playing in two Kisumu based music bands; the Creative Band Kenya and Uzima Band, which are the leading bands in the region. He released his hit single, Miss. Kisumu which is currently enjoying airplay   in the mainstream media.

Kisumu has been and is still an artist’s producing ‘Factory ‘with great minds and talents.  This is my list and if you didn’t know about these artists now you know them. Feel free to add your thoughts on the comment section below.

You've got a reaction to this post? Comment below:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.