Why Kenyan gospel singers love Tanzanian collabos

A collage of Christina Shusho and Rose Muhando.

Tanzania gospel singers are a joy to watch during their live shows. Some of the renowned Tanzanian artistes include Christina Shusho, Rose Muhando, Bahati Bukuku and Martha Mwaipaja.

“And their (Tanzania) music is well-researched and have sweet melodies that are rich in moral lessons and idiomatic expressions,” says Aggrey Lugalia, the Director of Music at St Luke Anglican Church in the Diocese of Kitale.

Lugalia says Tanzania’s songs have dominated the Kiswahili-speaking countries of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zanzibar; sections of Rwanda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Malawi.

“Tanzanian gospel singers take time to compose songs, most of which are rich in content and moral lessons as opposed to us,” says Lugalia who has interacted with Tanzanian churches at the annual International Hymn Festival.

“We like their (Tanzania) partnerships because their experience in Kiswahili and methodology of doing their work is vast and rich in moral teaching and lessons,” says the music teacher who also was once a director of music at ACK Church of the Good Shepherd in Nakuru Diocese.

Kenyan singer Anastacia Mukabwa says there is a lot to learn from each other when artistes from different parts of the world sing together.

“We have different ideas and exposures, and we learn from one another as we come from different backgrounds and regions. Designs of music are different and they vary in style and ideals. Coming together improves the quality of our gospel melodies and lyrics,” Mukabwa told the Sunday Magazine.

The musician says some artistes also like associating with celebrities, hoping to build their careers. “Associating with big names does not mean you will grow overnight. This comes with the Almighty God’s blessings and nothing more. He is the giver of talent,” says Anastacia.

Anastacia has done two collabos with Tanzanian artistes - Kiatu Kivue with Rose Muhando and Matumaini Makubwa with Christopher Mwangila.

Anastacia says that besides enhancing exposure, collabos are meant to preach the word of God.

In Kenya, Anastacia has sung with Uncle Niko in the song Kabla Nizaliwe.

She says musical fame is seasonal, and that “there is a time when one is up when the other is down. All these things come at its own time when God allows”.

“There is a lot to learn from one another, although I have never done collaborations as a gospel singer,” says Jemimah Thiong’o of Mipango Ya Mungu Ni Ajabu fame. 

“In all my songs, I have not had any external input other than from the local front. That doesn’t mean we cannot work with gospel musicians from other countries,” she says.

Jemimah has sung different songs with gospel musicians Reuben Kigame and Bahati.

Tanzania’s Christina Shusho said collaborations nurture talents.

She has made music with Kenyan singer Janet Otieno in the songs Napokea Kwako and Omba.

Eight years ago, she produced Tenda Wema with Kenya’s Rayton.

“Collaboration comes with quality music and for many years, it has enhanced regional integration between Kenya and Tanzania. We are here to promote it more,” says Christina.


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