D K Mwai


He was born Daniel Kamau Mwai in 1949 in what was then Fort Hall- now Murang’a District, Central Kenya. He learned to play the guitar from his older brothers as a teenager during the Emergency years of 1952-1956. At a Christmas party in the village of Gatanga his siblings got thoroughly drunk and got into a brawl. The bored audience had began to leave when young D.K. snapped up courage and jumped onto the stage and started performing without even a microphone. The audience was impressed. By the time his brothers sobered up, D. K. had already made a name for himself.

D.K’s native Gatanga location is famous as the home of flamboyant popular Kikuyu musicians whose staple influence over the years has been American country music. Soon after he mastered to play he came to Nairobi as a novice looking for a recording deal. He went to the then state-owned Voice of Kenya (VoK), at the time the premier stop for musical production and publicity, and was fortunate to find a kind officer who sent him to commercial music producers. He was barely out of his teens when he recorded his smash-hit 'Murata/I Love You' in 1970, and which catapulted him to instant fame. The song starts off to a rumba beat before climaxing in a benga style, which could explain why it became the first Kikuyu pop recording to break into the rigid Luo-Nyanza market.

Over the last 40 years D.K has been critical to the growth of Gikuyu popular music, altering its rhythms through clever cross-fertilization with other forms. He is happy that his experiment has paid off and points out the non-Luo stars Kamande wa Kioi, Simon Kichera Musa, John Ndichu, Kakai Kilonzo and John Kioko as some of the talents that have mastered benga among the Kikuyu and Kamba. Others include John de Mathew, Musaimo, Mike Murimi, Kefa Maina, Queen Jane and Lady Wanja.

D.K has written and recorded over 1, 000 songs. He believes good music transcends tribe, and that it is the best tool to fight the tribalism and stupidity propagated by politicians, and which divide Kenyans.


KENairobi, Kenya


Daniel Mwai
Profile ajoutée par Stanley Gazemba le 29 mai 2014