Kisii-based gospel artiste Embarambamba (real name Christopher Musioma) has taken social media by storm.
His songs, which he calls “comedy inside Gospel”, have been viewed hundreds of times on Facebook and YouTube. They depict him dancing in a slapstick manner, his passion on steroids. He shakes a leg, claps, gyrates, hits the ground, sloshes through mud, flip flops, jumps from a tree, dives into a maize field, attempts to ride a cow!
“Yes, I know. Some people are saying I am mad,” he told TV47 Digital on phone from Keroka, Kisii County. “But I am not. Those who are saying so should support my talent.”
Zig-zag Dance for Moi
Embarambamba says he realised he had a talent way back when he was a pupil at Kierira Primary School, Keroka. “Moi (former President), visited Kisii town to open the agricultural show. We were asked to stand by roadside and greet him. As he passed by, I was dancing and lifting my leg in a zig-zag motion. Moi called me and shook my hand. I was the first pupil in Nyanza province (as it was then), to greet Moi,” he says.
After writing his primary school exams, Embarambamba lost his father. He was the family bread winner, and owing to lack of money at home, Embarambamba dropped out of school.
He started singing in 2004, first secular music. “I recorded with Mr Ongengo (another comic-musician) in Kericho until 2008, and later, Sagero Man Pepe.
It was Mr Ongengo that gave him the nickname “Embarambamba.” It means a ‘small musical instrument that produces a good sound.’
“We were approached by several politicians and even invited to State House, Nairobi, where we met President Uhuru Kenyatta,” Embarambamba says.
Switch to Gospel
How did he switch to gospel? “I had a dream. In the dream, I heard a voice tell me, ‘go and sing a song that says you are alive'”, he says.
The outcome was Yesu Moyare, a sub two-minute long song. He says it is his magnum opus. “Its my best so far, I think. But pia kuna ile ya Ng’ombe!“
He explains the song: Watu wametoa wapi hii ujinga ya ulevi na kuchukiana, na Yesu alimaliza hizi vitu? (Why so much drunkeness and enemity in the world, yet Jesus Christ redeem His people?”
Embarambamba is a father of three. What do the children say about his musical antics? “They love it. When I am at home, they ask me to make them laugh.”
The musician/comedian says he will capitalise on his fame to make money with which he will buy musical instruments.