Shirati Jazz was D.O. Misiani’s band and his music can be heard on a new album released by Stern’s, titled King of History.
Without Daniel Owino a.k.a “Mwalimu” (teacher), benga, the energetic and hypnotically involving music of the Luo-speaking people of Kenya, would not be where it is today. Misiani and Shirati were the first stars, their success set a standard that others could only follow.
Misiani wrote songs on all sorts of subjects, not least Love and Politics. Both got him into trouble; the first required that he leave his village, the second that he go to prison. But he remained undaunted and unsilenced, and although he didn’t live to see the election of Barack Obama, one can imagine the fun he would have had with the fact that a Luo man’s son can become President of the United States, while the Presidency in Kenya has so far eluded any Luo, the 3rd largest language group of that country.
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