SUZANNE GACHUKIA CELEBRATES FOUR DECADES OF MUSIC-MAKING WITH NEW ALBUM LAUNCH
By Margaretta wa Gacheru (posted march 20th 2017)
Nyota Ndogo (aka Mwanaisha Abdallah Mohamed) is not only one of Kenya’s leading songstresses and one of the stars who performed to an adoring audience last Sunday afternoon at the Koroga Music Festival at the Nairobi Arboretum.
The acclaimed Mombasa-based singer-songwriter is also one of the many popular Kenyan music artists who’s featured on the ‘ZannaZiki All-Stars Vol. 1’ album being launched on March 28th at the Carnivore.
The album, coming out on Suzanne Gachukia’s new label, Sub Sahara Entertainment, is featuring everyone from Ian Mbugua, Mumbi Kaigwa and Camp Mulla to Dan Chizi, Bwana Ngoma, Abbi and Peter Odera among others.
It also includes the popular Afro-fusion artist Wyre singing together with Suzanne on the music video ‘Konbo Gakwa’ which was just released on YouTube late last week.Suzanne with Wyre are on YouTube. They perform tonight, March 28 at the launch of Suzanne's anniversary album
Speaking about his musical collaboration with Suzanne, Wyre said he’d grown up listening to her music. “She was an early inspiration to me and many others in the music industry. That’s why I was excited to collaborate with her on the remix of Kondo Gakwe.”
What all the artists on the album have in common is that every one of them is singing a hit song originally composed by Suzanne.
The album itself is meant to mark the 40th anniversary since Suzanne first started making music. She just turned 50 and is still going strong. Indeed, in addition to founding and running her Sub Sahara music label and assembling some of Kenya’s finest musicians to perform on ‘ZannaZiki All-stars Vol. 1’, she’s also been living abroad and playing the part of ‘diplomat’s wife’ while working alongside her husband, Richard Opembe, Kenya’s Ambassador to Ireland.
Suzanne will return to Nairobi especially for the album’s launch. She and most of the artists featured on the album will be there that night. A number of them will also perform songs featured on the album. So it should be a fabulous night.
Nyota Ndogo is one of those who will definitely sing Suzanne’s hit single ‘Nipe Nikupe’ at the Carnivore. She told Saturday Nation she wouldn’t miss this opportunity to perform with her musical inspiration, a musician she calls a ‘living legend’ and a ‘role model’.
“I used to watch Suzanne on TV while I was still working as a housemaid in Mombasa and I wanted to be just like her,” confessed Nyota Ndogo (Mwanaisha).
“I used to take a pencil and pretend it was a microphone. Then I’d sing along with her karaoke-style,” she added.
After the British music producer, Andrew Busnell (aka ‘Madeba’) produced Mwanaisha first album, he suggested she come with him to Nairobi to perform at a music concert. She agreed and that’s where she first met Suzanne.
“I told her how she’d inspired me and how much I loved her music,” she said.
Ever since then, Mwanaisha says just the mention of Suzanne opened musical doors for her. She’s been indebted to her ever since.
So the opportunity to be on Suzanne’s 40th anniversary album is an honor for Nyota Ndogo, and all the other musicians on the remix.
‘Suzanne already has the musical line up for Volume 2 of ZinnaZiki All-Stars,” said Sarah Franklyn, a fellow musician who met Suzanne in Dublin and has been a close friend ever since. “It should be out later this year and feature everyone from Erc Wainaina and June Gachui to Achieng Abura and Juma,” she added.