Blow to Benga music as two legends pass on

Kikuyu Benga maestro Joseph Kamaru during two of his past public performances PHOTO COURTESY

The Benga music fraternity in Kenya has been dealt a blow.

This is following the passing on of two legends just hours apart.

On Tuesday, news broke out that  Benga Maestro Julius Okuku alias Jerry Jalamo had passed on at the Owen Hospital in Bondo, Siaya county.

Jalamo who was the founder of the Extra Heka Heka band had previously undergone a surgery at the hospital.

News of the musician’s death shocked many in Siaya county who thronged the hospital to catch a glimpse of his body.

The 60-year-old was a household name among Ohangla music lovers with hits such as Ayiecho Olweny, Prof Ogada, Lome, Nya Kasulle ( lady from Kasulle)  and Selleh Nyar Suba( Lady from Suba).

Late Benga Maestro Jerry Jalamo PHOTO COURTESY

Even before the dust on Jalamo’s death could settle,  news broke out that veteran Kikuyu musician Joseph Kamaru had passed away at the MP Shah hospital after battling a short illness.

According to his son Stephen Main, musician Kamaru passed away at around 9 pm on Wednesday after ailing. Kamaru had been admitted at MP Shah since Monday.

Kenyans led by President Uhuru Kenyatta have sent out their condolences to the family terming Kamaru’s death as a talent robbed from the country.

“It was a blessing for us as a country to have had such a talented artiste who played a big role in promoting the Kenyan brand of music. The songs stamped his status as a Kikuyu music legend who touched the hearts of music lovers with classic hits some that the present generation might not be familiar with,” President Kenyatta said in his condolence message to Mr. Kamaru’s family, friends and fans.

Joseph Kamaru who was also known to his fans as Kamaru Wa Wanjiru hailed from Kangema Murang’a county having started his music career in 1956 singing songs addressing both moral and social issues.

Earlier on 27th April 2018 allegations of Kamaru’s death had surfaced something that Kamaru had come out to clear the air about stating that God cannot take him before he mentored the youth and upcoming musicians.

As Kenyan mourn, the legendary loss Deputy President Ruto is among politicians who have sent out their condolences.

“What a sad moment for the lovers of Benga! Waking up another day with a sad news that Kenya has lost a big icon in the music industry. He has enriched Kikuyu culture perfectly and in a big way. We’ll live to remember Mzee Joseph Kamaru. Deepest condolences to the family. #RIPKamaru” Tweeted DP Ruto

Others who have sent condolences include Raila Odinga, Starehe MP Charles Jagua, MP Gideon Keter, Women rep Sabina Chege among others.

Some of  Kamaru hit songs among others included Tiga kuhenia igoti ( Stop lying to the courts) and Uthoni wa Mbathini( Dowry negotiations held in a bus).