Mt Kenya artistes and businesses look to reap big from Mashujaa Day celebrations

General view of the artists during the Mashujaa Day celebrations' Recce concert at the Wanguru stadium, Kirinyaga county. [ Elvis Ogina,Standard]

Mwea town, Kirinyaga County is a beehive of activity as Wang’uru Stadium prepares to host 2021 Mashujaa Day celebrations on October 20.

Vendors and businesses are hoping to get a windfall from the event that will be held in the County.

The stadium is getting a facelift, and so are roads around the town. Some hotels have already received early bookings. And it is not just businesses feeling the wind of change.

In the last one month, several artistes and choirs from the area have been perfecting their performances at the stadium. 

Last week, traditional music dancers, gospel and secular music artistes thrilled residents as a government delegation inspected the presentations that included a military parade.

Although established performers like John Maina alias JB Maina, Samuel Maina alias Samido and Mary Wanjiru alias Shiru wa GP will be on stage, the biggest beneficiaries are little-known artistes from the region, who will be taking the big stage for the first time.

“I’m happy to be part of the artistes who have been chosen to entertain the nation on such a big occasion. Even though I have done this on a number of occasions, it is never the same,” Shiro wa GP told The Standard.

Nominated Kiambu County MCA Sarah Kimunyi is part of the Akurinu musicians who will take part.

Together with her 12 colleagues, this is a dream come true.

“It has been a learning process for artistes, who have been undergoing training by music judges. I have come to understand that there is more to the performances we watch during such ceremonies than meets the eye,” said Kimunyi.

Gospel singer Ben Githae said such functions give artistes an opportunity to air their concerns and also make money.

“I have been vocal about supporting President Uhuru Kenyatta, and it is a great opportunity for me to be involved in this project. Just like players in other careers, music is also a business where artistes expect to make a living out of,” he said.

The Permanent Presidential Music Commission Director Donald Otoyo said devolution and the revolved system of holding national day celebrations had revealed regional creative talents.

Otoyo said PPMC has been working with artistes countrywide, doing away with the old system where only a select few could benefit from such functions.

“Besides playing their national duty as entertainers, this is one way to ensure that artistes from different regions exhibit our diverse cultures,” said Otoyo.

All the 44 solo acts selected for the celebrations have been picked from Central Kenya counties. On average, each artiste will take home Sh100,000.

“Our team has been training them on everything music. They have also recorded the works that we will share and have them earn more,” said Otoyo.