Two years ago, East Africa’s biggest band, Sauti Sol, had a lovely idea that were sure would improve the music industry in Kenya. So they prepared a lovely proposal once they learned that they will be meeting President Uhuru Kenyatta in a few weeks.
They wanted to give him the proposal, which they did, upon meeting in Mombasa.
That was December 29 2015.
But some two years later, they got a rude shock after being invited to an event only to see it’s their idea being launched.
“I feel so robbed,” said an angry Bien. “I plan to make everything public soon. Just so that the ones who want to, can learn from it.”
Through their nearly decade-long career, the Kenyan afro-pop quartet—made up of vocalists Bien-Aime Baraza, Willis Austin Chimano, Savara Mudigi, and guitarist Polycarp Otieno have grown from just an ordinary band to superstars who brush shoulders with Obama, Jay Zs and Mariah Careys.
According to Bien, the project was intended for Kenyans but the Kenyan government even made things worse by letting foreigners be part of it.
The project, Studio Mashinani, was launched on March 17, 2017 by Ministry of ICT and most Kenyan artists were invited. Jamaican artists Etana, Richie Spice and Luciano were the curtain raisers, something that didn’t go so well with Bien.
“This is a new project which is at procurement level,” said Ministry of ICT’s website. “The project aims at enhancing availability of accessible recording studios and enhancement of self-employment opportunities for artists in the robust creative music industry.”
Multi-award winner Etana is slated to perform at “Dobba Fest” on March 18th, 2017 alongside reggae stars Luciano and Richie Spice.
Here is Sauti Sol’s Bien Aime statement:
“On December 29 2015 I had the honor to meet with His Excellency The President in Statehouse Mombasa. The agenda was Kenya Music Industry and Youth. Myself and my sauti sol brothers shared a proposal called STUDIO MASHINANI with His Excellency. It was an extensive project involving Music studios, community radio, ICT Centers and Libraries with the spirit of community service.
We were further instructed to give the proposal to Bruce Odhiambo who was at the time Chair of the Youthfund office. We teamed up with Raphael Obonyo, Cedric Kadenyi tighten the whole proposal with budgets and standard operating systems for the project.
The Proposal was sent to the relevant parties. Only to wake up today a year and some months later to see the project being launched countrywide by a JAMAICAN ARTIST!!!!!! NOT EVEN A KENYAN!!!!!I am not in any way implying that The President has a hand in this because he deals with millions of things and this may just be one of those that he delegated.”