COKE STUDIO AFRICA REVEALS THE POWER WOMEN OF COKE STUDIO AFRICA 2019 BAND
To celebrate International Women’s Day, the 2019 season of Coke Studio Africa announced it’s upcoming All Women Episode in a trail-blazing move, unveiling some of Kenya’s top female instrumentalists who will be part of the show’s live band in the final episode.
They include Kasiva Mutua (Percussion), Wendy Kemunto (Vocals), Ivy Alexander (Guitar), Naomi Ziro (Bass Guitar) and Mutindi Tindi Muasa (Keyboard). This will be the first time Coke Studio Africa is featuring an all female band and instrumentalists, in a bold measure aimed at highlighting Africa’s great talent and opportunities for women in the arts.
TEDGlobal 2017 fellow, Kasiva Mutua makes her second return to the show this year, and says this about her experience: “It’s been a real vibe working with different artists from across Africa and enjoying their different personalities, which is what I feed off when I’m creating. As a lover of traditional instruments, I appreciate the fact that on this season, Coke Studio Africa has included a lot of that.”
Having performed on various platforms locally and internationally, Kasiva describes the show as a ‘learning curve’ for her: “Coke Studio is always throwing a challenge at me. You have to dig deep, research and talk to artists on their vision.”
A few years back Kenyan rising star Kemunto posted a powerful Swahili version of Yemi Alade and Sauti Sol’s song “Africa” on her social media platforms, that the Nigerian Afrobeats queen reposted. That caught the eyes and ears of Coke Studio Africa’s producers who then gave Wendy the opportunity of a lifetime: a gig as a background vocalist on Coke Studio Africa. Now a fully-fledged singer and songwriter, Kemunto not only returns as a back-up singer for the show but will also appear on the big stage in her own spotlight, alongside fellow Kenyan producer Joe Mutoria who co-produced the Coke Studio Africa 2019 track #MadeInKenya. Kemunto gushed on their upcoming collaboration: “Being given the chance to actually do a song on such a huge platform means so much to me,” adding, “I was a background singer last time, it’s very different as an artist this time round! There is a bit of pressure but it’s very exciting.”
From performing at several top stages such as the Safaricom International Jazz Festival, guitarist Ivy Alexander joins Coke Studio Africa, as the show’s first female guitarist. Speaking on her debut, she says: “My experience on Coke Studio Africa has been amazing and interesting as I got to meet artists that I never thought I’d ever be in the same space with, which I admit has made me grow musically. Through the show, I have met producers and artists who I hope to work with beyond the show.”
Ivy is rapidly solidifying her place in music whilst working on her own solo compositions.
Having been on Coke Studio Africa for the first time as an audience member, Naomi would never in a million years have thought that she would feature on the show as an instrumentalist. The bassist says: “I did not expect the show to be what it is. My take away from the whole experience is the resilience from the whole crew - this is the first place that I have seen that happen.” Inspired by fellow band mate Kasiva, she describes her as a force to reckon with in the music world especially for women: “working with her closely inspires you to play better and achieve what she has.” With a style that blends eclectic sounds of Latin music, Funk, Lingala and African rhythms, Naomi is the current bassist player for Adhoc Band and Kenyan musician Serro.
From honing her skills as a keyboardist, bass guitarist and vocalist, Tindi has performed with the likes of Gravitti Band, The Flower Project and June Gachui. This is her first time on the show which she admits came as a shocker: “Everyone looks forward to being on Coke Studio Africa but I never thought it would happen this fast. The experience has been nothing short of amazing. Getting to learn different languages and understanding styles of music is simply mind blowing. Coke Studio Africa is such a coveted stage, so I do not take that for granted. It’s a blessing!”
Catch the new season of Coke Studio Africa every Sunday at 8 PM on Citizen TV, KISS TV, K24 TV and ST Swahili; 10 PM on KTN and NTV and 4 PM on Switch TV Kenya. The show also airs every Monday at 11 AM on Maisha Magic East. Coke Studio Radio Hour airs every Saturday at 2PM on Radio Citizen, Radio Maisha, Milele FM, Nation FM and NRG Radio.
Coke Studio Africa is a non-competitive music collaboration show, which seeks to bring together, and celebrate the diversity of African music and talent. It also gives upcoming artists the opportunity to work with some of the best local and international music and production talent. The artists are drawn from different genres, eras and regions and put in pairs to create a modern and authentic African sound through musical fusion. As the artists interact and produce music documented by the show’s producers, they also get to learn about each other’s music and styles while exchanging cultures. The show takes the viewers inside the recording studio to watch a diverse range of artists. Official partners of Coke Studio Africa 2019 include: Sankara Hotel, PACE Africa, Yallo and Home 254.