Since 1902

By George Orido

Not since the sensational Kalenjin Sisters captured the hearts of music lovers in the Rift Valley and beyond has a singer’s prowess moved so many people.

Emmy Kosgey, the new best female singer Groove Award winner is taking Kalenjin music to new heights.

The gospel singer, a beauty from Mogotio, is no one-hit-wonder. Emmy writes and sings music that transcends ethnicity and religion.

"I don’t understand the lyrics, but I love her music," said a fan at the ceremony held last week in Nairobi.

Emmy Kosgey is taking Kalenjin music to new heights. Photo: George Orido

Her single Taunet Nelel, which means ‘A new beginning’ is riding the airwaves.

"Taunet Nelel is about restoration. In it, in it I ask my countrymen and women to let go of the past and hope for a better tomorrow trusting in God Almighty," explains Emmy, who was a backup singer for Esther Wahome for a long time.

The video is a combination of good vocal arrangements and instrumentation that sustains a pleasant, rhythmic African beat. The video is superior in quality of pictures and angles, especially its tendency to favour natural landscapes.

Resplendent costumes

But the feather in the cap of this production is the costumes that are resplendent with dark colours blended with touches of gold, yellow, white and red as well as beaded accessories. The clothes come from her clothing line, Emmy Kay House of Design.

Emmy joins the group of elite musicians who have done classic pieces that have brought together a nation beset by tribal bigotry — Tony Nyadundo, Daddy Owen, Roughtone, Joy Mboya, Abel Kifoto and Gidi Gidi Maji Maji, whose music, though in vernacular, is accepted across the nation and beyond.

Although her music is in Kalenjin, her inspiration comes from far and wide.

"I love to listen to South African music because of its authenticity," says the soft-spoken Emmy, who performed in South Africa in 2006.

Daughter of a bishop

She has also had a chance to visit the US very year since she first released her album Katau Banda, performing for audiences in North and South Carolina, Kansas, Texas and Maryland.

The daughter of Bishop Kosgey, Emmy had a strong Christian upbringing and attributes her success to God.

"To have my music accepted by people of all colours and creeds is a feat only achievable through God’s will," says Emmy, who resigned from her job as a marketing manager to pursue music fulltime.

She has a children’s home in Mogotio that caters for 45 disadvantaged children. She is also goodwill ambassador of the Light and Hope Children’s home in Korogocho, Nairobi.