Sam Chege was born in central Kenya and attended the University of Nairobi. While at the university, he formed his first music group made up of fellow students and performed for the university audience. Impressed with his performances, the university administration offered to sponsor him to record his first disc, Uthoni wa Thoni. The disc was followed by an album which was a huge success in Kenya. He worked and performed in Kenya for several years before signing up with a record company in the USA. His CD, Kickin' Kikuyu Style, was produced in the USA using the latest technology and has been a big seller around the world. The CD has received glowing tributes in the media and has been played in radio stations in the USA, Canada, Japan, France, Britain and in Latin American countries. He lives in the USA.
What the critics say about the CD:
In an article that appeared in the Village Voice ( a respected New York newspaper) Robert Christgau, the guru of pop music, had this to say about Chege's CD: "Fleshed out with a brightness, quickness, and rhythmic complexity absent from the classic Afropop, this appeal isn't jut rare, it's unique. Sweet, cheerful, full of fun--at times almost a dream of happy happy..."
The Africa Music Review wrote:
"Chege's band pulls together the expected mix of southern African, Nigerian and Zairean musical sounds, then gives them his own unique local twist. Chege is well educated, well traveled... This gives his music not only an international feel but a certain wit and depth that shows through every track. But at its heart, this is jumping dance music with an incessant groove, with so much more character than the usual Paris-pop releases we've grown used to."
Douglas Paterson, a music producer and critic based in Seattle, USA, wrote in his review:
"Chege's CD is rooted in Kikuyu musical traditions which have been fused with other local Kenyan and Congolese styles. It is a great example of Kikuyu benga music with its solid pulsing kick drum and interlocking guitars."
John Storm Roberts, a music producer and critic wrote in his review:
"The young Kikuyu artist, Sam Chege, has a unique take on Kenyan benga, amplifying its fast urban beat with the fluid rhythms of Zairian soukous and using the result to back songs that draw from the traditional and contemporary singing of central Kenya's Kikuyu. The results are both highly personal and deeply rooted. Besides being gorgeous, of course..."
The Icon newspaper in Iowa, USA, wrote in its review:
"Chege has a charismatic presence with a jovial smile...Chege deals with the real details of life and the music is upbeat even when the subject is serious...He is a professional musician with a global audience..."
Writing for French and German audiences JSR had this to say:
"Le jeune artiste Sam Chege approche la musique "benga" du Kenya d' une facon unique, amplifiant ses rapides rhythmes urbaines avec la fluidite, du soukous Zairois. Il met la resultat au service de chansons qui pluisent le chant traditionnel et contemporain des Kikuyu de Kenya central, la plus grande ethnie du pays. Le resultat est a la fois purement personnel et profondement enracine dans sa culture natale. Tout en etant franchement ravissant...
Die Music des jungen Ostafrikanischen Artist Sam Chege bereichert die schnelle Rythmen des Benga von Keny Flussigkeit des soukous von Zaire. Dann braucht er sie um das traditionelle bzw. Moderne Gesang der Kikuyu, die grosste Volksgruppe von Kenya, zu begleiten. Das Resultat ist sowohl ganz personlich als tief im Kultur der gewurtz. Und auch einfach ganz schon...