“Firirida”, the celebratory jig by Dick ‘Munyonyi’ Njoroge, has gone viral on social media. Facebook, YouTube and TikTok users are dancing to its catchy tune, and spawning imitations.
When the Murang’a County Assembly passed the BBI Bill yesterdays, MCAs danced the song in celebration.
Munyonyi is dumbfounded by the song’s newly-found fame. ‘Firirida’ was first recorded in 1986, when most of the social media users in Kenya hadn’t even been born.
When the song was released, Munyonyi, who sung at President Uhuru Kenyatta’s wedding lost his voice owing to tuberculosis.
“I had joined Kamaru’s band with the likes of Wa Tailor and Julius Kangethe (By Law) in Mombasa for a series of 12 shows. I suffered headaches whenever I took to the stage. I could not continue with the shows and had to ask (the late) Kamaru to allow me to go back home,” Munyonyi recalls.
Returning from Mombasa, he passed by River Road, Nairobi, where ‘Firirida’ was recorded and “completely lost his voice.” Coincidence? No one knows. What Munyonyi knows is that whenever he passes through River Road, he develops a headache and partially loses his voice.
Munyonyi spends Ksh3,000 monthly on medication, and his diabetic wife Ksh2,000. “I wouldn’t want to appeal for any help because I would feel like I am embarrassing the president,” he says.
“I’m thankful that my name has been re-introduced to the music industry, although my wife and children always cry whenever they hear or play the song as it reminds them of how I lost my voice. I’m optimistic that things will be better.”