By Prudence Minayo
Mary Wangare Gioche, real name Kareh B, is a renowned Kenyan musician and a stage and film actress. She styles herself as an open minded, hardworking and a God fearing individual. Kareh B loves all genres of music no matter the language as long as it is well arranged and has a positive message.
The vernacular singer was born in Nairobi as the last born in a family of four children. She went to a school in South B and later on joined Kitengela Secondary School. She completed high school at Joseph Kairu Secondary School. She joined the University of Nairobi for a degree in Public Relations after impressing in her Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE).
Growing up, Karen B never envisioned herself being an entertainer as she had set her eyes on becoming a lawyer. At one point, she even thought of becoming an entertainment lawyer.
The talented musician began performing in 2009 but it was not until 2017 when she started recording her songs. Prior to this, she was part of a band that entertained people in different places focusing on different genres of music including Rhumba and Afro Fusion
While in high school, her mastery of the Kikuyu language was shaky leading to ridicule from the native speakers. She made a conscious decision to learn her mother tongue by joining Kikuyu theatre. She started listening to Kikuyu radio stations and enlisted the help of friends to correct her tenses. Her efforts paid off and she soon started singing in Kikuyu.
One of her greatest hits is Turio Twega which was a collaboration with Jose Gatutura. In 2018, she and Jose Gatutura collaborated on four songs. Their chemistry was awesome and kept their audience tuned in. Other hit songs by Kareh B are:
- Haha Nigutee 2
- Woe Gakenge
- Ninguikitie C.R.B
She has also worked with the legendary country singer Sir Elvis. He spotted her performing and fell in love with her voice. They later got together and went on to perform amazing country songs together. In an interview with Jeff Koinange, she demonstrated great talent in singing country music in the number of songs she sang during the interview.
The singer cites Eric Wainaina, Sauti Sol and Nameless as her local role models. She loves the fact they have made music their business and they not only sing but they entertain as well. Internationally, it is the late Whitney Houston thanks to her phenomenal vocals.
While the Mugithi singer has had a number of hits to her name, most people knew her for her role on TV.
A few years ago, she got the opportunity to work on what was then among Kenya’s favourite programs Tahidi High. She acted as a parent to one of the students and executed the role very well. She has also been featured in Agikuyu productions.
In March 2021, she and her family were sent into mourning following the death of her sister Winnie Mukami. Winnie passed away at Nairobi Women’s Hospital following Covid-19 complications. She was a former NTV journalist and had previously worked for Kenya Broadcasting Corporation.
“I don’t know if I will ever believe you are not a phone call away,” wrote Kareh B.
Rumors were rife that the songbird was dating Kareh B. Responding to the speculation, Gatutura told Inooro FM Jeff Kuria that their relationship was purely music and nothing beyond that.
“There isn’t such a thing going between us two and Wangari (Kareh B) who is here can confirm that our relationship is simply musical,” he told Kuria.