Kabaselleh: Ohangla remixes stealing from original singers

Ochieng Kabaselleh

“Why can’t serious musicians take their time to come up with desirable and popular original compositions?” “Why are they only bothered with our work, which takes us time to come out with market-oriented and well-researched copies? Everyone must eat his sweat,” said Reggy Kabaselleh, a Benga and Rhumba musician.

Reggy is concerned with the younger generation of Ohangla artistes whose main agenda, he says, is to come up with remixes of other artistes’ from Western Kenya.

“Yes, we are all in competition but it seems some of us are taking advantage of others. Action by these young artistes is denying us royalties,” said the musician, a son of former Orchestra Lunna Kiddi band leader, the late Ochieng’ Kabaselleh.

Reggy, who leads Orchestra Masanga Band, said he is not at peace with this group of artistes.

“They only wait for others to do the donkey work before coming out with their remixes of similar compositions. It is discouraging,” he said.

The musician warned the young Ohangla artistes that the rush for quick money would lead them nowhere.

Reggy is keen to salvage the reputation and popularity of Rhumba and Benga, which is quickly being eaten away by Ohangla.

“Those who think Benga or Rhumba is dead or about to die will be in for a rude shock. We are making a comeback on our way to the top,” said the 45-year-old.

On these young Ohangla artistes, Reggy is full of praises for Otieno Aloka and Dr. Odhialo, whom he termed as ‘artistes who act professionally’. The other was the late lady Maureen.

“The duo is only among the younger generation of Ohangla artistes who come out with their real and original compositions. They have a bright future,” he said.

Asked about the likes of Tony Nyadundo and his elder brother Jack Nyadundo, he said, “They are original Ohangla kings who sweated their way to stardom on original work”.

“The Nyadundos are a powerhouse in the ‘World of Ohangla music’. They are a popular hit in the market and that is the way to go,” he said.

Reggy said nothing will stop them from reaching their intended heights.

“Who said with the emergence and stiff competition from Ohangla we are doomed? Our work is a process and we do it with due diligence. And that is why we are steadily back as a strong force,” said Reggy.

In his over three-decade experience, Reggy has released four volumes of copies that have 30 songs in them.

In the past, volumes were referred to as albums.

His last prominent public function was on June 1, at the 2021 Madaraka Day Celebrations when he was part of artistes who entertained President Uhuru Kenyatta at Jomo Kenyatta International Stadium in Kisumu.

Their entertainment residence is Vundumuna next to Uhuru Market in Kisumu, but Reggy says they can perform anywhere in Kenya and abroad.

Orchestra Kiddi Masanga was part of the group that was at the United Nations Environmental Programme celebrations in Gigiri, Nairobi in 1994 at a function graced by UN Secretary-General Boutros Ghali.

The musician said digitization has contributed to a fall in the market prices of entertainment products.

“Although we cannot do anything about it, the end products of CDs, YouTube, and Flash disks have resulted in easy access to our products making us run at a loss,” said Reggy.Top of Form


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