Freshly Mwamburi is a Kenyan musician who primarily focused on the rhumba genre of music. According to him, Rhumba never dies and it has a message that most contemporary songs lack.
“Most local musicians have majored in love songs but I would advise them to be creative and produce music that listeners learn from. Even their beats cannot last long but Rhumba never fades,” he once stated in an interview.
One of his greatest hits Stella Wangu was released in 1992. It’s a timeless song that continues to capture the attention of millions with a message so deep and the lyrics profound. People fell in love with the song that is both hilarious and sad at the same time. So, what is his story and why exactly did this song resonate with millions in Kenya?
Mwamburi Mwakachola (Freshley Mwamburi) was born on 7th November 1958, in the slopes of Kilimanjaro in Wundanyi, Taita.
The singer attended Changamwe Boys Day and Boarding School, before moving to Alidina Visram. He joined the school choir and discovered his passion for singing.
At 15, he had a music band named Mombasa International Band.
After high school, he was recruited to the Air Force as an artiste. He was signed by Simba Wanyika band led by the late Wilson Peter Kinyonga and his brother George Peter Kinyonga in 1983.
In 1987, he joined Les Wanyika, a group led by the late John Ngereza and Prof Omar. The musician took part in the long play of Mama Watoto, Lipi La Ajabu and Afro.
Later, he left Les Wanyika and formed his own band named Everest Kings.
In 1992, he released the Song Stella Wangu as an album cover. His song went on to become an evergreen number, taken to the top by Freshley’s emotional refrain to Stella “Come back” to him, and sustained at the top of the charts by the cosy place love stories occupy in creative arts and pop culture.
Nearly 30 years after its release, he also did a remix which brought back a lot of nostalgic memories for Rhumba lovers who listened to it in the 90s. The remix music video and audio were shot at Golden Palm Hotel , Kenol and other parts of Kenya to showcase the beautiful sceneries of the country.
Mwamburi met Stella in 1991 when he went to perform at Garden Hotel in Machakos after his band, Everest Kings, shifted base from Thika. At the time, Stella was a student at a university in Nairobi. The two began dating and as fate would have it, Stella won a scholarship to Japan. This was the turning point and to prove his love the singer helped raise funds so as to ease Stella’s stay abroad and even sold his car.
The day came for Stella to return to Kenya and the singer full of joy went to welcome the love of his life at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA). Little did he know their love story had changed forever. Instead of Stella walking out of arrivals into the arms of Freshley, she had a baby and was accompanied by a short Japanese man. She would introduce him as her husband and the child as theirs. Rather than throw a fit, the singer went to the studio and recorded the hit song Stella Wangu.
Apart from this hit song, he has also done other songs including
- Safari ya Mombasa
- Panga Mipango
- Siri ya Moyoni
- Wanawake Hawana Wivu
- Tuelewane Ndugu
- Mtongwe Ferry
- Jirani Musa
The Taita singer is happily married to Dorcas Nduku and they have five children. At first the wife was not comfortable with Stella but today they are a happily married couple.
“Initially, my wife was not comfortable when she heard about Stella. I mean, which woman wants her husband to keep remembering his ex-lovers? Now, everything is okay with her. Our marriage is happy,” he told The Standard.