Watch Mbe Omukhasi Music Video: Steve Kay’s Crossover Infectious Hit Refreshes The Kenyan Wedding Song Scene
Last updated on June 13th, 2017 at 07:52 pm
It is easy to imagine a rap battle. But a Kenyan wedding song battle?
Move over Kayamba Roots. Step up Steve Kay.
To Kayamba Roots, nothing personal. As far as made-for-radio-and-dance-floor Kenyan wedding songs go, not even Jua Kali Band’s “My Dear” can hold a candle to “Mbe Omukhasi”.
To the all time Luhya hit song “Mulongo”, we’ve had good times at weddings and Busaa filled Mulembe nights. We carry with us those lit moments of family fun that you made us dance as only Africans can.
Those Sunday afternoon Nyama Choma plots- that we love so much for killing two birds with one stone: slamming hangovers and redeeming ourselves to the wife and kids- remain with us.
It’s been real. On to the new.
Steve Kay has broken new ground with “Mbe Omukhasi”. This love story is more than just a Kenyan wedding song. I Dare say that “Mbe Omukhasi” plays in the league of My Bukusu darling and Eric Wainaina’s Daima as regards its social impact.
To understand this bold claim, we head first to the dance floor, late in the night in a typical Kenyan nightspot.
Kenyan Music and The Kenyan Reveler Experience
Every so often circa the ungodly hour of 0300 hrs, inebriated silly and having given up on adulting, we would request the Dj to have “Mulongo” on the replay.
On lazy nights we often got our wish. On popular nights, times over, the Dj would ignore our request lest s/he upsets the track order of his Kenyan Music set.
We will discuss more why this perchance for “Mulongo” later in this article. For now, lets talk a little bit more about this Kenyan music Dj set.
First, the music comes on with absolute no warning. You’d be there dancing to the groovy Bruno Mars next thing is the percussion of African music blasting through the speaker.
A Kenyan wedding song here; Kenyan Hip Hop somewhere, invariably a Kenyan gospel song too; Heck! Throw in a circumcision song it’s all good. Provided for the songs primarily sang in Kenya’s major ethnic languages, the ration is 1:1:1:1.. ad infitum.
One Kamba song, a Luhya one, definitely a Luo song, perhaps a Kalenjin song and so forth all thrown together. It is at these moments when we scream loudest when the Dj auto-cues “Kama imeshika sana wapi nduru”.
The sound of instruments from our ancestors is one that we find hard to resist. As a consequence, the dance floor is invariably packed hips gyrating, hands clasping and sweat dripping.
Thanks to the drink and music, for those fleeting minutes, we are all Kenyan. Merrily dancing to Mugithi, Kambeka and others in mockery of the divisions among us brought on by frivolous representations of our ethnic diversity.
Over the recent past, the Luhya music spot in that rapatiore has belonged to “Mulongo”, “My Dear” or Rev. Joseph Shisia Wasira’s hit “Omundu Omulosi”. Of the three the former is the more popular one. This popularity of “Mulongo” stems from a special quality. An acclaim that “Mbe Omkhasi” now threatens to own.
“Mulongo” The Ultimate Kenyan Wedding Song
What “Mulongo” used to be to us, “Mbe Omukhasi” promises to be. And better. Granted that for a live performance “Mulongo” remains the quintessential Kenyan wedding song as it allows us to Mugithi train to Luhya music.
In doing so, “Mulongo” allows us to temporarily abandon our tribal buffoonery as it bridges Eastern and Western Kenyan cultures using music and dance.
“Mulongo” is a Luhya -Western Kenya- song commonly danced in a style -Mugithi train- rooted among the communities from Eastern/Central Kenya. In a cosmopolitan setting such as a wedding, it was the perfect song to get everyone mingling in dance.
“Mbe Omukhasi” The New Ultimate Kenyan Wedding Song?
“Mbe Omukhasi” by Steve Kay adopts a technique commonly used by Hip Hop artists to pay homage to their hoods and hoomies: Name dropping. Moreover, Steve Kay additionally infuses humor and clever word pun play to great effect. Like here:
Mkisii ni Mukissi Kissi…Mjaluo nimjali jali….Mbukusu nimbusu busu
The You Tube description for “Mbe Omukhasi” embraces the song’s intrinsic qualities that make it the crossover hit that introduces Steve Kay to the world.
I quote: “Mbe Omukhasi – loosely translated to mean Give me my wife – is a Luhya wedding song packaged as a new Luhya Pop Genre of music that fuses traditional Luhya style with Modern Popular genres.”end of quote.
I find the description first typically Kenyan and secondly extremely modest. Typically Kenyan because of its claim of yet another genre of Kenyan music, Luhya Pop Music, which muddies the already arduous quest to define Kenyan Music.
Modest because its simple lyrics-punctured with Swahili-, nostalgic African melody, irresistible rich harmony and dance friendly rhythm mean that Steve Kay’s “Mbe Omukhasi” surely shakes up Kenyan Wedding music.
In fact, despite “Mbe Omukhasi” being your typical girl meets boy song, even music artists who operate outside this space need also be worried.
“Mbe Omukhasi” Video Breaks New Ground For Luhya Music
This is because the song’s cleverly done video further increases “Mbe Omukhasi” mass appeal. The effect of such an awesome HD quality video is two fold.
First, it backs the songs legitimacy to quality. This is achieved as the appealing visuals, bigger budget thanks to multiple locations, drone use, cast , costumes and editing. What this automatically does is to elevate the song from the company of those chalky VCD music videos you imbibe as your sip your local brew in the village.
Secondly, some of the scenes captured are reminiscent of any other pop music video. This makes “Mbe Omukhasi” making it an appropriate wedding song for both the family event and the naughtier after hours.
The six minute plus video features never seen before aerial shots of Bungoma town. It also lets us in on surrounding natural features such as the majestic waterfalls on river Nzoia in Webuye.
The video director expertly manages transitions pulling off what I thought only Nollywood can without bluffs. Bungoma based film producer Dennis Machio expertly layered traditional African life, modern rural Africa and contemporary urban Africa lifestyles.
What this does is that it recreates the experience of the 21st century African. This plays on the heart and endures the song to listeners as we identify with the video. We are that generation of Africans lucky to be in touch with our roots and still experience 21st century life. Africans who for instance still pay bride price whilst still opting for a garden wedding.
Steve Kay, popular for hits like Bayuda – a song on slavery in Bungoma- and Wambumuli -lamentations on a village cassanova- might have set out to go after the thrones of pop icons like Diamond and Ali Kiba with “Mbe Omukhasi”. What he ended with was something more encompassing.
A quintessentially Kenyan wedding song; a club banger; a cultural icon fronting harmony in diversity; a love song and a short film depicting courting and marriage traditions of 21st century Africa.
Credits | Courtesy : You Tube
Published on May 3, 2017
Mbe Omukhasi – loosely translated to mean Give me my wife – is a Luhya wedding song packaged as a new Luhya Pop Genre of music that fuses traditional Luhya style with Modern Popular genres.
Watch and enjoy.
The audio was produced by celebrated producer Dominic Khaemba of Ageless Studio Nairobi while the Video was Directed, Filmed and Edited by Bungoma’s renown Film maker Dennis Machio.
Special thanks to all who participated in making this video a success including the Model Bride Shila Nafula , Sheila Muhonja , Mercy Simiyu , Marylin Tindi, Mzee Retired ” Moi”, Mama Africa, David Toywa, Fidel and all others.
Wedding outfit Provided by Mercy Charity – Bungoma
African attire Provided by Mama Africa – Bungoma
Make Up by Mercy Charity
Wedding venue and decor by Bungoma Sports Club
Posters and Graphics by Samuel Mabonga
Video Production by Michezo Afrika Media