The curtain has fallen on a name that is not only closely associated with this blog but and also inspired its nomenclature. Today (Amka) Kumekucha has lost a syllable in Habel Kifoto's death.
Kenya's present generation may not know what they missed until they listen to the EVERGREEN Maroon Commandos led by the burly guitarist Habel Kifoto. Well, that no nonsense band leader has just past on in some nondescript hotel room in Madaraka estate where he was staying in readiness for a Music Society of Kenya (MSK) board meeting.
Those old enough can only imagine the grief of one indefatigable DJ Jeff Mwangemi whose infectious laughter when introducing local talent over the radio made madmen offer handshake to strangers. Only people like Jeff with their natural charm would break the monotony and boredom of the monolithic KBC then.
The late Habel Kifoto of Charonyi ni Wasi fame was born in Taita District of Coast Province. He started his music career back in 60s and started playing bass guitar in 1967 until when he started his skill in Solo lead guitar.
That Maroon Commandos was synonymous with Habel Kifoto is irrefutable. The soldier in him never dimmed not diminished his vocal prowess. Instead he lead from the from the front strumming the strings and by example in leading his fellow soldiers to musical glory.
Nostalgia galore for those fortunate/old enough to have graced the then agricultural shows where Habel Kifoto and his Maroon (Green) Commandos had villagers and urbanites alike shake their legs to nationalistic songs whose inspirational was way ahead of our past and present tribal leaders. What is more, apart from Aziz Abdi (Kilambo), few musicians appealed beyond tribal enclaves. if in doubt just ask PENSIONERS.
Kenya has lost her equivalent of both Baraka Mwinshehe and Remi Ongala. It is a sad day for Kenyan music, (wana) Maroon Commados and 7KR.
Fare thee well Habel Kifoto.
Tribute to Habel Kifoto from Chris Kumekucha
Tears are blurring my eyes and I have a heavy heart as I write this brief tribute to a truly unsung hero of the republic.
I was sincerely looking forward to his classic (which has always been the anthem of this blog) Amka Kumekucha being played over and over again one day in 2012 when we have a new government and government structure in place. In my heart I knew that that would be the moment when Kenyans would wake up and really notice this talented Kenyan who has given so much and yet received so little in return.
Alas it was not to be. We will still play his song but it will not be the same.
I agree with my comrade in arms Taabu that Kumekucha the blog has truly lost a syllable.
"His life was gentle; and the elements
So mixed in him, that Nature might stand up
And say to all the world, THIS WAS A MAN!"
— William Shakespeare (Julius Caesar)
Today's post by Kumekucha Chris: What is this new thing happening in Kenya?