ABOUT REUBEN KIGAME
Frequently Asked Questions
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WHERE DID YOU SPEND YOUR CHILDHOOD?
I grew up in Bunyore, situated in Western Kenya, not too far from Lake Victoria. Actually the lake is about fifteen miles or so from Bunyore. Bunyore is a densely populated area with small subsistence farmers. The warmth of the people and the simplicity of life, quite unaffected by urbanization, sort of made me who I am today. For a while I spent my childhood in Kisumu, right next to the lake where I attended my Primary School education and where I fell in love with the Luo language which, I think, is idiomatically richer than my own Luyia language.
TALKING ABOUT LANGUAGES, HOW MANY DO YOU SPEAK?
I speak at least two Luyia dialects fluently, i.e. Kinyore (my fatherâ€™s tongue) and Kimaragoli (my motherâ€™s tongue). I can also speak a bit of Luo. I understand more than I can speak. My wife who went to be with the Lord was a Kikuyu, and so I picked up enough to converse. I speak a bit of German and Lingala â€“ oh, my! What a confused mind! And, of course I speak English and Kiswahili. My greatest language aspirations right now is to learn Spanish.
DO YOU SPEAK FRENCH?
No. I donâ€™t like the sound of French. Iâ€™d rather Hindi or Russian!
WHEN DID YOU BECOME BLIND?
When I was three years old.
DO YOU FEEL BITTER?
Initially yes, but not anymore. I even find some advantages in being blind.
It is hard to tempt me with visual pornography, violent scenes on te screen, etc. If you frown at me as I give a speech I will not notice.
WHERE DID YOU GO TO SCHOOL AND WHAT DID YOU SPECIALIZE IN?
I attended the Salvation Army High School for the Blind, Thika High School and Kenyatta University. I studied Philosophy and Religious Studies and History. I trained to be a teacher and taught for four years before resigning and entering Christian ministry.
WHAT DO YOU DO NOW?
I direct a Christian organization called Word of Truth Ministries, which is involved in the defence of the Christian faith before critics and opponents of the same.
WHEN DID YOU BECOME A CHRISTIAN AND WHY?
I became a Christian in 1981. Life without Christ is empty and meaningless. Nothing answers the basic questions of life as does the Bible.
WHEN DID YOU START TO SING?
Nobody could really say exactly when they start to sing, but I remember enjoying listening to and participating in the family singing on certain evenings before my mother would lead us all in prayer before going to bed. Christmas and Easter times were full of music, dance, choir festivals, etc and I participated some by osmosis. I think I was about eight or nine when I consciously began to team up with other children to deliberately make music.
WHAT ABOUT MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS? HOW EARLY DID YOU GET INTERESTED IN THEM?
My brother, Philemon, had his own band. Sometimes they practiced at home. I was captivated by everything that took place. I liked the sound of the guitar from very early. They played acoustic instruments. Maybe that is why I really enjoy the sound to this day. I also liked their percussions. I was occasionally invited to try my hands at the percussions. Maybe this is where I developed my love for the sound of membranes, shakers, chimes, etc, and certainly, my love for playing drums and congas. I did not actively start playing anything until I was about thirteen.
SO WHAT DO YOU PLAY?
I wish I knew. Many times I feel like I play with, rather than play. I try my hands at the piano, guitar, drums and percussions. I also clap and do a bit of the recorder. Before I die I would like to play a Sax.
WHICH MUSICIANS WOULD YOU SAY HAVE INSPIRED YOU?
Before I became a Christian, I enjoyed mostly Abba, Kenny Rogers, Miriam Makeba, and a large selection of Congolese bands such as Super Mazembe, Mangelepa, the music of Franco, etc. After I became a Christian I spent more time listening to Wander Jackson, Keith Green, Barry Maguire, Don Francisco, Sandi Patti, Amy Grant, Evie, and later Lenny Leblanc, Don Moen, Ron Kenoly, Maranatha, Vineyard, Graham Kendrick, etc. I also remember admiring and spending lots of time listening to Andre Crouch, Rich Mullins, Dallas Holm, Twila Paris, etc. I was to develop a love for the American Christian Country artistes like Randy Travis, Ken Holloway, Paul Overstreet, Susie Luchsinger, etc. I think I cannot really call upon one particular person as a sole influence.
WHAT WOULD BE A FAVOURITE STYLE OF MUSIC FOR YOU?
I have tried many things in my life. I have two Country albums out, I have a Reggae album out recorded in 2005, I have recorded some Swahili worship albums and just tried my hands at about everything including a symphony which flopped, called â€œSerenityâ€ in which I lost interest because the Lord brought me the serenity I was searching for by writing the symphony. I have written songs for children, for the youth, for dying persons, for the searching skeptic, and for the Christian who wishes to spend time in the presence of God. There is no single style I really prefer over another.
SOME PEOPLE SAY CERTAIN STYLES OF MUSIC ARE EVIL. WHAT DO YOU SAY?
A style is a neutral packaging of music. It is like a knife, which is neither good nor bad. Styles are mere cultural packages. It is what you do with a style (just like a knife) that matters. You can worship God with Country or Reggae, Hip-hop or Rap. You can also curse God with the same.
HOW MANY CHILDREN DO YOU HAVE?
I have three daughters: Shalom (born 1992), Shekinah (born 1994) and Shema (born 2003).
HOW DID YOU LOSE YOUR WIFE?
Mercyâ€™s death is the greatest tragedy of my life! She died in a cruel road accident on 5th September, 2006 while taking our daughter Shema for surgery in Nairobi. I mourn deeply for Mercy, but know I will meet her again in heaven. Absent from the body, present with the Lord.
DO YOU HOPE TO REMARRY SOME DAY?
Yes. At Godâ€™s own appointed time. It is hard being father and mother at the same time and be actively involved in the ministry.
HOW MANY ALBUMS HAVE YOU RECORDED SO FAR?
Let me see! I will just list them.
1. What a Mighty God we Have
2. No Setting Sun
3. The end of Time
4. Another Country
5. Amani Moyoni (Swahili Hymns)
6. Wastahili Bwana
7. Worthy Is The Lamb
8. Praise Across Kenya
9. Come with Me
10. Ombi Langu
11. Never Alone
12. Unyite na Guoko
13. Hamba Khu Yesu (colab with Douglas Jiveti)
14. Ariho Yesu (colab with Douglas Jiveti)
15. Yesu Ari Muoyo (colab with Douglas Jiveti)
16. Godâ€™s Reggae (colab with Douglas Jiveti)
ANYTHING IN THE PIPELINE?
Yes. My computer recently crashed with quite a bit of the material from two upcoming albums. I am praying that the Lord will restore this and set me on my way. God willing, there should be something in the pipeline at least by next year.
WHAT IS YOUR CURRENT PASSION MUSICALLY SPEAKING?
Basically mentoring upcoming artists and helping them get on their feet.
WHO HAVE YOU WORKED WITH MUSICALLY?
Mostly Douglas Jiveti, my friend from college days. I have also provided arrangement support for the Kasangas, Mary And Alex Ominde, Joanne Mwangangi, the Diguna A-Team, etc.
DO YOU HOPE TO DO ANY COLLABS WITH OVERSEAS ARTISTES?
Yes. I have checking the possibility of starting out with some Christian Country collabs. I also hope to do something with artistes from other parts of Africa. I have particularly enjoyed working with Ugandan artistes.
WHAT ARE YOUR HOBBIES?
Basically music, reading non-fiction, traveling and talking to children.
ARE YOU RELATED IN ANY WAY TO FELIX MWANGI OF 12TH NOTE PRODUCTIONS?
Yes. Felix is my brother-in-law. He is a great musician, but most of all, a great Christian who puts great talents to the service of God. I think his company is going to go places in the world of music production. I like his testimony.
DO YOU HAVE A PRODUCTION COMPANY YOURSELF?
Yes. It is called Kigame Music Productions and operates from Eldoret, Kenya.
RUMOUR HAS IT THAT YOU ALSO DO BROADCASTING. IS IT TRUE?
Yes. I direct a new media house in Kenya called Fish Media. We have an FM station called Fish FM. You can get to know about us by going to www.fishkenya.net
HOW COULD SOMEONE CONTACT YOU?
By sending an email to email@example.com
Tel: (254) 727-135135
Managing Director Fish Media
P.O. Box 3608, Eldoret, KENYA. 30100
Tel: (254) 53-2061130