My Kind Of Music – Review

It’s been a long time between drinks since my last album review, but if there was a record to lull me out of my slumber, Noel Nderitu’s fantastic ‘My Kind of Music’ debut must be it. Smooth. Sultry. Delightful.

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He calls it an EP. I disagree. Your regular Extended Play release would typically have about 4 songs. At eight songs, Noel has his first fully fledged album, albeit abbreviated. And what an album. My Kind of Music is what happens when the worlds of an urban psalmist and worshiper collide with a neo-soul singer clutching his acoustic guitar. With an innocence to his vocal, a sincerity to his song-writing, and an ease to his delivery, Noel Nderitu has crafted a very attractive listen. But let’s dig in.

My Kind of Music’ is helmed by Continue reading

JAYA – The Fight Of My Life

JAYA – The Fight Of My Life (As lifted off Mavuno Life – July 2013; Pics by Mutua Matheka)

The shrill scream of a woman in labor pierces through the air, gently waking her out of her stupor. Her bloodshot eyes slowly open, greeted by a bright white light. The feeling in her face, arms and legs has returned just enough to allow her gingerly pick her head up and slowly glance around the room.

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To her left is a worn green curtain. To her right sits the dejected figure of her father, gently caressing her right hand. A gripping sense of sadness instantly shoots through her body, overwhelming every part of her being. She is alive!

Why won’t God just let me die?” she cries. “Why is God mocking me? Does He hate me that much?

This was Jaya‘s seventh suicide attempt in the past eight years, landing her in the hospital’s High Dependency Unit. A few moments earlier she lay motionless Continue reading

Aaron Rimbui – Inside Man

AARON RIMBUI – The Inside Man (As lifted off Mavuno Life – July 2013)

It’s a smoke-filled dimly lit room. Alcoholic beverages are stacked up on every table, even as the dance floor begins to fill up.

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Aaron Rimbui

Not quite the setting one would expect for a church boy and former worship leader. But this is what greets Aaron Rimbui as he takes to the stage at the popular club – Choices Bar & Restaurant. No crucifix. No stained-glass windows. No hallelujah chants. Just a plain old fashioned Friday evening.

Aaron Rimbui may be a Christian, but he’s not one built for conformity. Aaron’s Continue reading

Of Gay NBA Players, and Pink Flowered Panties

NBA player Jason Collins recently came out of the closet, becoming the first active openly gay athlete in any major U.S. team sport to do so. I must admit, that was a gutsy move. An A+ for courage. There is a reason why Jason Collins is the first! Gays and team sports have gone together as well as vegans at a beef expo. The locker room hasn’t been friendly to gays.

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Yet in this unfolding saga, an intriguing sub-plot has threatened to steal the limelight, that of ESPN’s Chris Broussard. A Christian, he has been lambasted (and there is talk he may lose his job) after airing his views on-air. When asked for comment, he stated that sexual relations are the preserve not of homosexuals Continue reading

What If Joel Osteen Really Quit?

A recent hoax spread through the Internet like wildfire. “Joel Osteen departs Christian faith“. Shock! Awe! Horror!

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The scam reminded me of Winston Churchill‘s famous comment “A lie travels halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to put its pants on”. It was a cruel hoax. But it made me think – what if it were true? What if he really packed his bags and said ‘deuces’? What would happen?

The E.N.D. Surely! The naysayers, atheists and Christian haters would have a field day. Welcome to the come-one come-all everyone’s-invited open-buffet feeding frenzy. On the menu? The church. Or at least it’s remains. And the media? My goodness the media! Forget sharks baying for blood. Unleash the Kracken! Continue reading

Has Gospel Music Taken Over?

They say nothing stinks like success!

And boy, hasn’t the Gospel industry experienced its fair share of successes. It wasn’t that long ago when you’d be more likely to experience a UFO sighting than hear a Gospel song on high rotation on mainstream media. Toss in crop circles and a streaking comet for decent cover in the local dailies.

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How times have changed! Today, pubs, clubs, DJs, writers and media outlets can hardly get enough of the stuff. Back then, if you wanted your music video to see the light of day, only the monopolistic Continue reading

Honoring A Great Man

OK, so my blog has been a little of ghost town recently. Let’s remedy that.

A YouTube video brought me out of my digital hibernation. It literally brought tears to my eyes. It’s a video about a man I didn’t know personally. OK, so maybe we had shaken hands and exchanged pleasantaries once or twice, but being the pastor of a large church, he’d probably swapped fingerprints more often than Oprah does hairdos.

I wasn’t looking for a church at the time. Yes I was a Christian, but my encounters with the church had left me jaded and disillusioned. I hated the church. I did. Paradoxically, I was in Theological College at the time, theoretically preparing to serve in one. But I was out and out the most Continue reading

Gospel Music: Ministry? Industry?

Is Gospel music ministry, or is it industry? That’s a conversation I try my best to steer clear of. My feeling is that serves only to distract Christians from the work they have been called to. Yet in the recent past I have been involved in numerous conversations that have made me realize that not only is it worth addressing, beneath the surface may lay even bigger issues. Here goes nothing…

First up I must say I believe this debate rings loudest in two camps. The first is from right-wing Christian fundamentalists, who are upset that musicians have in a sense “taken their eyes off the ball” and are only ‘using’ Gospel music for personal gain. Is there a smidgeon of truth to this? Unfortunately, yes! I’ve personally interacted with artists whose motives I question. Their values, beliefs and convictions don’t seem informed by the Gospel – only their lyrics. Yet to base a whole discussion around them is not only to become judge and jury, but also to toss the baby out with
the bathwater. Continue reading

Say Something

You’ll be forgiven for not knowing Hong Kong hip-hopper Jin. He gained noteriety for not only being the first Chinese rapper signed to a major U.S record label, but also for his “Learn Chinese” collabo with Wyclef Jean. Now I thought this (former) Ruff Ryders lyricist was a decent rapper, but I really sat up and took notice when he released a mixtape titled “Say Something” (free legal download HERE).

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It’s tough talking title-track made an indelible mark on me. Peep some of it’s chorus lyrics.

“Get on the mic and say something baby.
Say, say, say something baby.
Gotta get on the mic and say something baby”.

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Kisima Awards 2011 – A Critical Look

A lot has been said and written about the 9th edition of the Annual Kisima Awards that went down at the KICC grounds on the 30th September 2011. And with good reason. After the horror showing that was Kisima 2009 (see HERE), kudos to the Kisima team for reviving what is a much needed event in the entertainment landscape of Kenya.

Allow me to add some thoughts to the cacophony of voices. A disclaimer first.

I am a believer in Kisima, so it pains me to be critical of it. I believe it plays an incredibly vital role in the development of this nation’s music and entertainment industry. It is not only the oldest of the awards ceremonies in Kenya, but it is the only recognized mainstream awards platform in Kenya, and even a nomination from them should be sufficient to give any local artist significant standing on the world stage.

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Of End-Time Ed & Apocalyptic Nutheads

I’m afraid of turning into End-time Ed. I am! You know, the guy who views everything in his world through the eyes of the Apocalypse. You and I look up into the sky and see a slightly overcast day: the sign? It’s gonna be a lovely day. Not End-Time Ed. No he sees cumulo nimbus clouds that have somehow formed in the shape of Maradona’s hand of god and tweets; ‘Watch out, sulphuric acid is set to pour out of the sky and obliterate all those who haven’t been to confession recently!’ And should the rain pummel the ground at an angle 43.5 degrees (yes, he measures such obscure things), it’s a sure fire sign angelic hosts are washing their three-pronged spears in preparation for Armageddon.

End-time Ed has read every piece of Scripture that talks of the last days, gone over it with a fine-tooth comb at least ten dozen times, and misinterpreted it five times over. Revelation is his favorite research fodder. Yet what’s lost to him in all his study is that not a single Biblical author set out to specifically write about the end times. None. Not even the author of his beloved Revelation.

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She

She’s a mystery, isn’t she? Still going after all this time.

After the crusades and inquisitions and Christian cable television. Still going. And there to continue to be people like me who still believe she is one of the best ideas ever. In spite of all the ways she has veered off track. In spite of all the people who have actually turned away from God because of what they experienced in church. I’m starting to realize why; the church is like a double-edged sword. When it’s good, when it’s on, when it’s right, it’s like nothing on earth. A group of people committed to selflessly serving and loving the world around them?

Great.

But when it’s bad, all that potential gets turned the other way. Continue reading

SHE…The Bride

Yeah she may look gritty
When her man come back she gone look so pretty – She the Church
You might see her acting crazy, be patient with her tho cause she still God’s baby – She the Church
Before you dis her get to know her, Jesus got a thing fo her and died just to show her – She the Church
She ain’t bricks and buildings
She all of God’s people Men women and children

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Going Unplugged

More and more I hear artists flirt with the idea of going unplugged. Ditching their playback tracks and jamming with a band of their own. Frankly, I’m impressed. Good thoughts! There’s nothing worse than trying to enjoy a gig and hear the performing artist whisper (all too loudly) to the DJ, “sio hiyo track bana, track four, track four”.

It gets even more comical when the artist has to exit stage, head for the sound booth and assist the DJ find said track. Track four. So they find this track four. Finally, track four. It starts playing. The crowd lay aside their irritation and finally get into it. Just then, the track starts skipping. Goodness me. Now the unprepared and embarrassed artist has to stop the performance. “DJ. Track five”. Of course they have to find a way to plug the dead space. Oh no! Not “rusha mikono juu” and “Scream for Jesus” again! Arrggggghhhhhh! Like Steve Harvey famously quipped about hip-hop concerts, “I paid $9.95 to see this concert. You scream!”

And if I had a dollar for every time I saw an artist lip-sync their way through their own song, let’s face it, I wouldn’t be writing this article stuck up in a four by five cubicle, I’d be emailing it from a sandy white beach in the South Coast. Lip-syncing is plain ugly! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – quote me if you like – the remedy for all lip-syncing is…weka tyre! (When you quote me please realize I am just joking.)

OK. I may be a tad bit dramatic here. By and large we have good capable DJs these days, and to their credit, artists are a little more prepared than they used to be. But you get the point. Using recorded tracks can be quite a nuisance.

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Life. And Michael Jackson

King of Pop’s gone! No longer with us. Sad times, I know.

Truth be told there might never be another like Michael Jackson. So if you are anything like me I bet you are quite enjoying watching his music videos and engaging in conversation about him. Chances are you’re also enjoying seeing the images the media is now showing us of him. Energetic. Perfect complexion. Full head of curly bouncy hair. And isn’t it great what their calling him now? A legend. Incomparable. The greatest entertainer that ever lived!!

Aargh!! Forgive me while I go throw up. Not out of disrespect. I loved Michael. I adored his music – I have even spotted “Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough” as my ringtone over the past 2 years”. Over the years I’ve bought a huge chunk of his music catalogue – I even have a Michael Jackson LP (If that doesn’t say love, I don’t know what does).

And I’d be a fool if, as a student of music, I didn’t acknowledge his well documented influence on musicians all over the world. His imprints are all over Gospel music. Think Kirk Franklin. Think J. Moss. Think Ton3x. Think Deitrick Haddon – all heavily influenced by the Gloved one. Jackson’s worked with Gospel producers Fred “Uncle Freddie” Jerkins and Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins. He even worked with Gospel legends The Winans and Andre Crouch on the 1988 smash single Man In The Mirror (bet you didn’t know that!) In fact, as recently as three weeks prior to his death, Michael was working with Andre and twin sister Sandra on new material for an upcoming record (a meeting that spawned the rumour Michael got saved during one of their conversations. False).

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