By Prudence Minayo
The August 9 general elections are coming to an end. The exercise was largely peaceful and Kenyans hope it remains so. The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has diffused tension by making use of choirs to entertain Kenyans as the IEBC commissioners announce winners of the various elective posts. The well known choirs are Muungano National Choir, Wazalendo singers and Mtakatifu Kizito choirs from Kenya and Tanzania.
Here is what WoK has gathered about the choirs.
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Muungano National Choir
Muungano National choir has a rich history spanning over four decades. They have sung in major events in the country and promoted Kenya across the globe.
Founder and Music
Muungano National Choir was founded in 1979 by Boniface Mganga. He was a choral director working at the office of the late Daniel Arap Moi. The late retired president asked the then 21-year-old graduate of the University of Tanzania to start a choir that would promote Kenya culture to the rest of the world. They grew to be a leading cultural ambassador for Kenya and toured various countries including Australia, Israel, United States, Finland, Canada, France, Germany, Austria, Italy and Spain.
The choir uses the acapella style of music and invited people from all tribes in Kenya to audition and received funding from the government. They use a number of musical instruments including drums, reed rattle and Kayamba. At their peak, the choir topped the charts for more than two decades and their most famous song was Chama KANU. It was meant to encourage Kenyan’s to register as members of KANU.
In 1988, the recordings of the choir named Missa Luba and Ten Kenyan Folk Melodies became best sellers and could be found in public libraries in the United States. Mganga went on to become a Member of Parliament, Assistant Minister of Culture and later Education. He died in a road accident in 2012.
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Mwalimu Thomas Wesonga
He is best remembered for the song he composed in praise of the late president Daniel arap Moi. The song Tawala Kenya Tawala lyrics became popular in schools and during public functions. He has been leading the choir at the Bomas of Kenya.