Gido Kibukosya is an award-winning Kenyan musician and songwriter. He is the father-in-law to Raila Odinga Jr. The former premier’s son married his daughter, Yvonne Wambui Kibukosya.
Kibukosya hails from a family of talented musicians. His father was a musician, his sons, Marcus and Miles were members of the Camp Mulla hip hop group, and his daughter Yvonne is a musician too.
In this article, WoK takes a look at the celebrated musician’s background, rise to the top, troubled past with women, and struggle with alcoholism.
Background & Education
Kibukosya is the only boy and the seventh born in a family of ten. He grew up in Kakamega in his early years but moved to Nairobi with his father when he was five. He had a close connection to his father due to his musical gift.
He attended St George’s Primary School and later proceeded to St Mary’s Secondary School in Nairobi in the early 1970s.
He also pursued a music engineering course in the USA. In 1989, he received a three-month scholarship from USAID to go study music in the US under a programme called Training for Development.
“There, I did a course at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in Sound Engineering. It was a great experience, we not only got to learn a lot about the music industry, but also met big stars like Glenn Ballad, Tracy Chapman, Clive Davis, Baby Face , U2 and Eddie Murphy among others,” he said.
During a past interview with The Standard, Kibukosya revealed that he began his musical career at a very young age and piano was his favourite instrument.
He further revealed that his father inspired his musical career by exposing him to music at a young age. In high school, he formed a band with five of his friends called Hypertension back in 1982.
“By the time I was clearing my Form Six, I knew I wanted to pursue music as a career,” he told the Standard.
After high school, the band, Hypertension was noticed by Ayub Ogada of African Heritage. He took three of them and in 1987, Kibukosya joined African Heritage.
“We got a lot of exposure and even got to tour Europe, but in 1989 we broke up amicably. Life was changing and people were going in different directions; some left the country, others got married, while others ventured in different kind of music. However, by the time the group was breaking up, I had developed a keen interest in sound engineering,” he recounted.
Kibukosya later founded Samawati Productions company, the company signed some of the country’s top musicians including; Bruce Odhiambo, Ted Josiah, Kasongo wa Kanema, Juma Kayamba, K- South Flavour, Mercy Myra, Harry Kimani and Five Alive.
After stepping away from the music scene, the veteran went into consulting. As of 2013, he worked at Creative Hub Productions, a media production company as a music producer and mentor for young, talented Kenyans.
He set up Kibukosya music foundation in Kakamega. He noted that the region has a lot of talent, and it is also a way for him to give back what was imparted in him.
As music continues to evolve over the years, he challenges producers to remain true to the art and learn instruments.
“A lot of people call themselves producers yet they cannot even play an instrument. We have forgotten our roots. We should go back to the days when a song was released, it lived on years after,” he said.
Kibukosya notes that despite the emergence of too much computer-generated music, the industry hasn’t changed much from their days and people need to learn to play instruments and sing.
Kibukosya married Suzanne in 1991. The couple went on to become a music powerhouse. However, they separated in 2007 after being married for 20 years.
“It was not easy, no one gets married thinking that it will end but it happened, but we are still good friends,” he said.
He has five children, Yvonne, Krystal, Peter, Marcus and Miles.
In 2011, Yvonne married her long time sweetheart ODM leader Raila Odinga’s Son, Raila Junior.
“It is a bittersweet moment. As father, you always see your daughter as your little girl but at the same time you are happy when she finds someone she loves, and wants to share her life with,” Kibukosya describes the moment.
He revealed that Raila Odinga’s family paid seven head of cattle and cash as per the Luhya tradition.
EALA MP Oburu Odinga led the groom’s party together with several political big names from Nyanza and Western. He describes Raila Junior as a humble son-in-law and the Odinga’s as good in-laws.
Troubled past with Women
While he might appear to have everything going for him, he too has had his fair share of challenges.
Kibukosya has had five children with different mothers. He has three children with Anne Githira- two girls and a boy (Yvonne, Crystal and Peter).
He later met his ex-wife Suzanne Gachukia after the breakup with Anne. Together, they have two sons, Marcus and Miles, who are both members of the Camp Mulla band.
“Marcus was the producer for Camp Mulla until they broke up. He also studied music abroad, while Miles plays the saxophone and is a footballer,” he explained.
Kibukosya’s marriage to Suzzane did not last. Their separation was propelled by the advent of FM stations that took up all advertising from record labels, leading to a financial crunch.
“I almost got into depression. With zero adverts and my wife leaving home, I resorted to heavy drinking,” he admits.
In 2020, Gido revealed that he had started seeing Linda Onyimbo.
Kibukosya spent three months in rehab in early 2012 after his youngest sons convinced him to. He has been sober since.
“To get over an addiction, you need spiritual power and the support of your family. An addiction does not just affect one person, but the whole family. That is why I believe it is important, especially for the family to go for counselling; it helps to bring about understanding and healing,” he adviced.