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Musician finds footing at the coast

By | Feb 21st 2010 | 3 min read

By Caroline Nyanga

Dressed in a blue top and trousers to match, Fabrice 29 picks up the microphone and belts out one of his songs Dunia. At one corner, an elderly man nods his head to the beats once in a while commenting on the lyrics of the song.

"Waambie bratha." (Tell them brother.)

Fabrice Mwendangai has moved base from Tanzania.

With his Cellphone Musica band, Fabrice Mwendangai has found a home in one of Mombasa’s clubs.

After hours of long work, Fabrice has launched his much awaited album, Dunia currently raiding the airwaves at the coastal town.

"I am happy people love and appreciate my music. This is an indication I am in the right direction," he says.

He says the six-track album recorded in Tanzania is unique and different from what other Congolese artistes have released in the past.

Critics’ take

"The fact that most songs are done in Swahili besides bearing educative messages about life makes it a must listen," he says.

Fabrice says the album features different Congolese musicians Rumba maestro Samba Mapangala.

Others songs include; Fifty Fifty, Shida, Music, Mwasi and Sitaweza.

However, critics say Fabrice, a former member of FM Academia music troupe based in Tanzania, for many years has been on the low as far as music goes. Others even suggest that he may have quit music due to dwindled misfortunes and ventured into other business.

"I have not quit music because it remains a big part of me. For me music is a process and hence the need for me to take time and come up with a good product as opposed to rushing things and giving people bad music," he says.

He says he cannot please everybody.

"There is always a section of people who will never say anything good about you no matter how hard you try," he says.

His band comprises 10 people who have been together for the last three months.

The musician says he is working on a new project besides promoting his album.

" My music is available in various music outlets within Mombasa and Tanzania."

He says even though it is not yet in Nairobi – he is working on it- and fans can be rest assured of getting their copies at the nearest shop available.

An only child of Mr Joseph and Josephine Mwendangai, he says music has been a big part since childhood.

"My grandmother only known to me by the name Munyau was a great singer," he says.

Music career

Inspired by original Wenge Musica 4x4, he says he grew up listening to their music and watching their dancing styles.

"They were one group that understood and knew what music was all about," he says.

Fabrice went to school in Kinshasa and teamed up with fellow Congolese musician to form FM Academia and moved to Tanzania.

A member of his band Rigene Sarkongo

After 11 years, he went solo.

" There comes a time when one has to grow on his own and come up with something that he can be proud of," he says.

He came to Kenya and formed a band and hopes to ‘bewitch’ local fans with his music.

In retrospect, he says artistes should be more supportive of each other.

And to upcoming artistes he says: "Never give up. When you feel you have a goal to achieve, go for it because it is never too late."

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