Rock music in Kenya would not be where it is today if it wasn’t for the contribution of the female members of our community. Examples abound in various respects from writers like Njerish Muchai on the “rocker” column that used to run on the Daily Nation.
Mildred Achoch has also been working behind the scenes to create awareness for rock music and challenge stereotypes in the most uncanny manner through film and blogging. Her “ROFFEKE” blog has been running and covering bands even before the inception of this platform. There are countless others in their capacities as drummers, guitarists, events organisers like Wemo Kitawa and Trisha Wanjiru just to name a few. As lead singers, they are perhaps the most endearing. It is here that this year’s focus will be but our subsequent instalments will feature the contribution of women in other capacities.
Our panel of judges settled on these four as nominees for best female artists. For local fans of the genre, they are easily recognisable. But for those that may want a little more information to help with the selection, we here sample a few their exploits to assist you.
- REEMA DOSHI
Reema Doshi is the lead singer Murfy’s fLaw which is arguably one of the most enduring bands in the scene. They have two full-length albums to their name i.e. Makosa and Hello Light. Reema Doshi’s credentials speak for themselves. For one she has a very lively personality and she is the key ingredient to the band’s electric performances. She has a bevy of vocal techniques in her retinue which includes clean singing and growling. Her unbounded energy and graceful charm embody the spirit of Murfy’s fLaw. Without resorting to theatrics she magnifies and envelopes the entire stage and is a darling with the crowd. She has only gotten better with age and you will be pleasantly surprised to note that she still exhudes that air of a rock diva. Her most notable performances are on the songs Hello Light, Abso-bloomin-lutely and Dare Me.
Rish has also been a mainstay of the rock music scene in various capacities. But perhaps her most memorable moments was when she debuted with the single ‘The Hate Song’ which really elevated the profile of local rock music at a time when getting airplay was quite uncommon. She was also the first rock artist to feature on a televised talent show and was one of the finalists on Airtel Trace Music Stars. Not one to attract the one-hit-wonder moniker, she quickly followed those songs up with At the End of the Day, My Strength and Habits. She is in my estimation a songbird par excellence that has invigorated the imagination and lifted the spirit of many a rock fan.
Wamvii is the lead vocalist for newly minted Doveslimme. While many might have thought the band functionally dead they returned with the announcement that they would proceed with new music. Taking over at the helm would be Wamvii replacing the much loved Jillian who was credited for vocals on their debut EP “Cool on the Inside”. As expected she had a lot of expectation riding on her shoulders because of the work done by her predecessor which in Kenya’s case is no mean feat. But the first note she struck left no one in doubt that she could hold her own. Her vocals were nothing short of magnificent providing silky fluidity to the band’s new catalogue in songs like Not Enuff and More Than Sound. Wamvii and the band have done much to endear themselves to a new fan base with acoustic sessions at lava latte since the beginning of the year, a showcase who’s return we hope to see again soon.
4. SKYLAR LORENA
Last but not least is former Irony Destroyed vocalist Skylar Lorena Wayne. Her first installment upon the scene was in 2015’s March from the Underground where her clean singing complemented Lawrence Muchemi’s harsh vocals. Her contribution with the band was limited after that but she featured in their song Lazima Udie. While her exploits weren’t captured to their full effect on that record due to its production problems she did entrench her vocal prowess when she featured on Kanyeki’s Munene Wa Ita giving the song a dynamic hitherto unknown in rock circles which for me was the main reason why the song was so captivating. She is one of the few ladies to feature her vocals on a heavy metal record and she has shown the dynamism to enmesh her dainty style within different styles of rock music.
Having sufficiently profiled our nominees for this category, we feel that you’re now properly equipped to select your choice for this award. Cast your vote HERE