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November 2023 #37 - Top 40 for African Influence Kisumu Bound Bus (track)
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Photo by: Makadem
Photo by: Makadem
Photo by: Makadem
Photo by: Makadem
Photo by: Makadem
Makadem, also known as the Ohanglaman, is one of Kenya's most talented and promising performing artists. His command on stage, charisma, and powerful vocal delivery, spiced with satire, have made many describe him as Kenya's own Fela Kuti. He has successfully fused different genres of music from Kenya, Africa, and the world with his native Luo Benga music.

After completing his high school education, Makadem became a tour guide based in his hometown of Mombasa. He later began entertaining guests at the beach hotels along the Kenyan Coast by playing his guitar and singing cover songs to supplement his tour guide income.

By 1999, he had become a fully-fledged musician and performing artist and went on to record and release a reggae dancehall single titled 'Mr. Lololova'.

Years later, Makadem met and started collaborating with veteran Afro-fusion producer Tabu Osusa. This collaboration saw Makadem successfully transform his style of music from raga to a Benga and Ohangla-based style that he refers to as 'Anglo-Ohangla'. Anglo-Ohangla is a fusion of Ohangla (traditional Luo music based on Luo drums), Nyatiti (Luo music based on a Luo lyre), and Dodo (traditional Luo music singing style – Luo is a tribe from the western Kenya, Lake Victoria region) styles of music mixed with other modern African beats with heavily accented Luo-English vocals. Makadem went on to record his debut album titled 'Ohanglaman' under Tabu Osusa's keen guidance, which was released under Ketebul Music in 2007.

Makadem uses his humorous and witty lyrics to address deep socio-economic struggles in modern-day Kenya. He has toured in Morocco and Europe and performed in regional festivals including Sauti za Busara (Zanzibar), Bayimba (Uganda), and Fest'Horn (Djibouti). He has shared the stage with top international artists including Gregory Isaacs, Mighty Culture, Glen Washington, Baaba Maal, Mahotella Queens, and Lokua Kanza, to mention but a few.

Makadem was also in the international limelight when he released a song titled 'Obama Be Thy Name' in support of then-current American president Barack Obama during his campaign bid in 2008. The video on YouTube generated quite a stir with both negative and positive feedback.

Makadem has remained one of the busiest Kenyan artists to date with regular tours of Europe organized by One World. Some of the highlights of his career include opening for Seun Kuti in Copenhagen, Denmark, in October of 2011 and performing at the opening of the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France, in May of 2012.

Apart from touring, Makadem also took some time off in March of 2012 after being selected and invited by the Institut Français for a 3-month music residency at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris, France. During the residency, Makadem worked on improving his Kalimba playing skills as an understudy of Angolan Kalimba maestro Lolendo Mvulu and also his guitar playing under the tutelage of the legendary Syrian Mbenza.

Other selected career highlights of Makadem are as listed below:

September 2012 – Kilifi Festival, Kilifi, Kenya

July 2012 – The GoDown Gig, Nairobi, Kenya

June 2012 – Sawa Sawa Festival, Nairobi, Kenya

May 2012 – Cannes Film Festival, Cannes, France

May 2012 – Festival Internacional Ollin Kan, Mexico City, Mexico

March – May 2012 – Visa Pour La Création (Music residency), Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris, France

February 2012 – Thursday Night Live, Nairobi, Kenya

October 2011 – Opening act for Seun Kuti & Egypt 80, Copenhagen, Denmark

September 2011 – The Rift Valley Festival, Naivasha, Kenya

August 2011 – Kisumu Peace Festival, Kisumu, Kenya

July 2011 – African Culture Festival, Malmö, Sweden

July 2011 – Copenhagen Jazz Festival, Copenhagen, Denmark

July 2011 – Nuit d'Afrique Festival, Montreal, Canada

July 2011 – Sunfest, Ontario, Canada

June 2011 – Pointe Noire Festival, Pointe-Noire, Congo Brazzaville

February – March 2011 – One World Scandinavian Tour, Denmark & Sweden

December 2010 – Gatwich Festival, Nairobi, Kenya

December 2010 – Kikwetu Festival, Nairobi, Kenya

September 2010 – Blankets & Wine, Nairobi, Kenya

October – November 2010 – One World Tour, Denmark

February 2010 – Sauti Za Busara Festival, Stone Town, Zanzibar
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