Artistes reap big from campaign season songs

Musicians in the South Rift are cashing in on political songs that come in handy as effective campaign tools.

Nearly 10 singers, both gospel and secular, have released songs praising either the major political parties or individual candidates.

One song can fetch an artist up to Sh500,000, depending on the contract agreement and the position the aspirant is seeking.

SONG FOR CHERUIYOT
When President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto toured the region last week to drum up support for their re-election, a memorable, fast-beat Kalenjin song dubbed “Jubilee Emet (Jubilee all over)” played prominently in their rallies.

The singer behind it is the secular artiste of Naswa melodies — Florence Mutai — who last year, also sang the hit song “Kiptoyot Komas Kasit (young man for the job)” for Kericho Senator Aaron Cheruiyot during the by-election.

“I landed a contract with Jubilee in both instances. I did the song, not for my usual fans but for the larger fans of President Kenyatta and his Deputy Ruto,” the talented youth told the Nation in an interview.

UNBIASED
The song tells of why the Jubilee wave still sweeps across the Rift Valley region, among the young and old, with a mention of the charisma of its top leadership.

A song in praise of the opposition camp, Nasa, has also been released by two artistes among them Mike Rotich going by the stage name Sweet Star, who also has a song for Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto’s Chama Cha Mashinani party, which is praised in the lyrics as a party that supports devolution of more resources.

Mr Rotich says the song is not meant to portray his political alignment.

“As artistes, we have no parties. Our job is to sing. If Jubilee approached me today, I would also compose a hit song for them,” he said.

MARKETING TOOL
Two other renowned gospel artistes with rich vocals, Pastor Joel Kimetto and Lilian Rotich, also have songs about CCM party and Kericho Governor Paul Chepkwony, respectively.

Mrs Rotich’s “Timbilwet Tano Tena” is a catchy song with South African beats.

It praises the development record of Prof Chepkwony, describing it as unparalleled.

Another secular artiste Memo of Kapchumbe Sisters has sung in praise of Ainamoi MP Benjamin Langat.

The singer changed the lyrics of her existing love song for a man named Benja, patching it up with words hailing the MP’s development projects in Ainamoi Constituency.

LUCRATIVE VENTURE
One other popular song is about Mr Kipsengerett Koross, a candidate eyeing the Soin/Sigowet MP’s seat as a visionary man of the people.

He has composed several other songs for candidates eyeing the ward representative seats.

Mostly, party songs are played during joint rallies, whereas individual aspirants play their songs while on their individual campaigns.

The Naswa singer had fetched not less than Sh100,000 from her initial song for Senator Cheruiyot but reveals she is still awaiting payment for the Jubilee song.

Mr Rotich describes the political songs business as lucrative, even though the earnings depend on the contract agreement.

“The amount depends on the agreement and the position an aspirant is seeking. There are extra coins made out of appearing for road shows and rallies,” he told Nation on phone.

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