By CAROLINE NYANGA
The band made its entry into the music three decades ago, and the fact that they still make songs that resonate with a variety of audiences, put them in a class of their own.
In 2009, the band formerly known as Uyoga, launched two albums, New Zilizopendwa and Original Mushroom, proving yet again they are still a force to reckon in Kenya’s entertainment scene.
“We have mastered the art of this game hence the ability to maintain the required standards. Ours is to give fans quality music with lasting messages that is both entertaining and educative,” says the bandleader Harrison Katana.
He says some of the band’s recent releases such as Jaza Mwenyewe and Zilizopendwa Raha comprise strong Coastal influence including beats from chakacha, and nzele.
The singles recorded at Them Mushrooms Sound Lab are mainly of Zilizopendwa genre, something he describes as unique and different from what other Kenyan artistes have done in the past.
Of the band’s hits, none boasts massive popularity than Jambo Bwana that sold over 200,000 copies between 1982 and 1987 getting platinum certification in Kenya.
As a result of its popularity, many other bands covered their songs, in some cases with similar success. The Safari Sound Band version of Jambo Bwana, in particular, is one of the most played songs in tourist venues in East Africa.
Some even say the Swahili phrase hakuna matata in Disney’s classic, The Lion King, might have been borrowed from Jambo Bwana.