Meet Kenya’s Singing Cowboy

July 7th, 2011, byJeremy Freed

I’ve been on a bit of a world music kick recently, thanks in no small part to blogs like African Gospel Church and Dream Beach Records, both depositories of unusual and danceable tunes from obscure corners of the globe. It was on the latter that I came across one of the most unusual (and catchiest-sounding) artists yet, Kenya’s Joseph Kamaru, who in his cowboy hat and bolo tie, looks like he stepped out of a Nashville honky-tonk.

Kamaru may or may not ever have been to Nashville, but one thing is for sure: he loves country music, and uses that most-American of genres, along with more traditional Kenyan influences, as inspiration for his work. As Dream Beach points out, much of his music isn’t as blatantly country-influenced as this swinging track, but from the multitude of Kamaru videos on YouTube, it all seems to be pretty swinging.

Called “the king of Kikuru pop,” Kamaru has been recording since the late 1960s and, according to AllMusic.com, became renowned for performing “x-rated, adult only” spectacles, which came to an end when he became a born-again Christian in 1993. Can’t seem to find any of those on YouTube, but perhaps that’s for the best.

 

  • E.D. Tellis

    All music forms in the America’s were influence by Africans, and the music of the America’s just returns to the continent of it’s origins. Many people do not realize that the banjo, a big component of country music, originates from the Kora. What happened to Country music, many fear will happen to Jazz, where it’s African and black origins are forgotten, lost, or hidden. Now for those that could not figure our why Country music resonates with Africans, you have some insight. Thanks for this!

Last modified: July 9, 2011 at 3:32 pm