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KELLYWOOD Celebrities Fabulous Lifestyle
This section of Bikesh brings you the fabulous lifestyle of KELLYWOOD celebrities. Click through the links below to get a glimpse at fabulousity! There will be more coming later...
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Kellywood is the centre of Africa's performing arts industry that includes film, television, music and all other forms of entertainment, digital or otherwise. It is one of the most popular destinations in the world as you can confirm from the number of celebrities and tourists who frequent the place. The cinema of Africa often referred to as Kellywood is the African film industry based in the city of Nairobi, Kenya. Kellywood is a portmanteau of the words "Kenya" and "Hollywood", the United States Of America's film industry.
Some of the internationally reknown celebrities with roots from Kellywood are President Obama, Lupita Nyongo, Eddie Gathegi, Sauti Sol, Elani, Nameless, Origi, Shujaas, Vera Sidika, Victor Wanyama, McDonald Mariga, Dennis Oliech, the late Nobel Prize Winner Wangari Mathai, Eliud Kipchoge, Kichoge Keino, the late Samuel Wanjiru and many more.
The term Kellywood started being used in the performance industry from the mid to late '90's. The actors and actresses who were in their prime, that is they were in their twenties and thirties at the time, are the group that coined the term Kellywood. This was about twenty years ago as of the writing of this article and these guys are now in their fourties and fifties as we speak. They are familiar with this term and can confirm this.
Some of the actors and actresses during this period are Ian Mbugua, the late Derrick Amunga, Mbeki Mwalimu, Abud Eliud, Nick Ndeda, Juma Williams, Raymond Ofula, John Sibi Okumu and others. The veterans who were there before these guys and who are pioneers and hall of famers in Kellywood include the likes of the late Mzee Ojwang, Mama Kayai and Mwala of the then popular show Vitimbi.
River Road, if you are a Nairobi veteran you would know is to Kellywood what the likes of Pirate Bay, Torrent and the rest are to Hollywood. Whatever kind of bootleg media you want you can get a copy of it here, and not just media; bootleg certificates, diplomas and even degrees. Africa, recognise the gift of River Road's specialised set of skills and services to Kellywood and to the rest of the world at large!
Kellywood has massive acting talent and its a shame that it goes to waste year in year out because we have not brought this part of the industry to the level where other international film industries are at.
KELLYWOOD's Current Stars
The big acts or the flag bearers from Kellywood include Eric Omondi, Churchill, Nameless, Bahati, Jua Cali, Akothee, Size 8, Wahu, Jalangoo, Willy Paul, Huddah, Betty Kyalo, Vera Sidika, Jaguar, Janet Mbugua, Rufftone, Dj Soxxy, Ringtone, Jimmy Gait, Mr. Seed, Hope Kid, Willis Raburu, Julie Gichuru, Jeff Koinange, Victoria Kimani, Blessed Njugush, Kambua, Maina Kageni, Daddy Owen, Mercy Masika, Dj Mo, Dj Sadic, Dj Joe Mfalme, Sleepy David among many others.
Truth be told, here is one area where we are lagging behind the international scene. If the Kellywood music scene took off massively in the late nineties, then 2020 should be the time for the movie industry to take off. This can be done guys. The vernacular scene is making some money because there is a ready market. If we are to go big internationally we need to make movies using languages that are understandable at those levels and our best bet to start with is English, case in point West African Movies.
Swahili based Movies would do well in East Africa considering there is some serious competition from Tanzanian Swahili Movies. Let's start with Romance and Drama since these seem to be the easiest niche to have a break through into the industry with low budget levels. The experts say that Horror movies are the easiest to break through with but a majority of horror movies that some Kellywood producers have produced have been banned by the government, didn't know you can go to extremes with horror guys coz by definition this genre is extreme.
The major or the main theatre in Kellywood is the Kenya National Theatre, located on Harry Thuku Road in Nairobi. Alliance Francaise is also a theatre which hosts plays. You can buy a ticket and catch a show at any one of these places and they are also a good idea for the lads to take their ladies out to for a date. Some of the big Kellywood celebrities who started in theatre are Daniel "Churchill" Ndambuki, Charles Bukeko "Papa Shirandula", Angel Waruinge "Miss Morgan of Tahidi High", Ainea Ojiambo "Snake of Makutano Junction".
The biggest and most known theatrical ensembles from Kellywood are Heartstrings Kenya, Phoenix Players, Festival of Creative Arts, Fanaka Arts, Jicho Four Productions among others. Notable stage actors include June Gachui, Erick Ndung'u, Lydia Nyambura, Sam Kihiu, Kamu Ndundu, Marion Wambui, Carol Ngorobi, Krysteen Savane, Triza Kabue and Nancy Shiko. Some of the Kellywood theatre directors are Victor Ber, George Mungai, Carol Adongo, Sammy Mwangi and Mumbi Kaigwa.
Some of the younger generation actors include Peter Kinuthia, Dennis Mugo, Sarah Hassan, Shirleen Wangari, Pierra Makena, Nick Mutuma, Catherine Kamau, Pascal Tokodi, Brenda Wairimu, Nini Wacera, Gerald Langiri, Nyce Wanjeri, Abel Mutua, Dj Shiti, Blessed Njugush, Kazungu Matano, Felix Odiwuor, Philip Karanja, Linet "Size 8" Munyali, Wanjiku Mburu, Tyler Mbaya among many, many other Kellywood actors and actresses.
The pioneering television station was VOK, an acronym for Voice Of Kenya which was the national broadcating station. When this station was operating some of us writing this were not yet born so unless we make references we don't know the kind of shows they had going on here, probarbly alot of news, features and documentaries.
Exit VOK, enter KBC, Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (people with black and white TVs like the red Greatwall tvs, ours was white so it felt abit special since most people had the red ones, ahem!). KBC was also a stand alone channel like VOK, up untill KTN, Kenya Television Network joined, then Nation TV which is now NTV.
These were followed by Citizen TV, K24 TV and UTV which were the reigning chanels during the analogue era. Wonder whatever happened to Metro TV and STV. All these television stations managed to switch to the digital platform during the migration and were joined by an endless list of new stations. Boy, guys who only had VOK, or KBC as the only channel and had to endure watching that show Professional View intead of cartoons must be wondering what the kids of today's era did that they have been endowed with such a myriad number of stations and shows!
Popular and pioneering shows back then include the likes of Vioja Mahakamani, which has had the longest run of any Kellywood show, Vitimbi (with Mzee Ojwang, Mama Kayai, Masaku, Mwala), Tausi (with Mhonja, Eboso, Siti, Rukia, Mponda), Tahamaki (Inspekta Sikujua), Tushauriane, Lea Mwana and Plot 10 (Othoron'gon'go, Nyundo Wa Komeo, Kajogoo).
Current popular television shows include Machachari, Churchill Show, The Real Househelps Of Kawangware, The Trend, Ten Over Ten, Crossover101, Bambika, The Switch, Rauka, Tahidi High, Wedding Show among others.
Kellywood's stand up comedy scene has seen a meteoric and exponential rise lately, with quite a boost from the Churchil show, that has played a pivotal role by acting as a platform for well established and upcoming stand up comedians to use to further their careers. Current standup comedians include the likes of Churchill himself, Eric Omondi, Chipukeezy, Njoro the Comedian, YY, Sleepy David, Mc Jessy, Jasper Murume, Teacher Wanjiku, Professor Hamo among others. Some of the pioneers of stand up comedy include the Redykyulass trio of Walter "Nyambane" Mongare, John "KJ" Kiarie and Tony Njuguna. Others who have contributed to the genre include the likes of Kajairo.
Kellywoods music scene has also seen a meteoric rise since the early 90's. The arrival of hip hop music found its way into Nairobi and as they say the rest is history. Enter Kalamashaka, a spinoff group from Ukoo Flani Mau Mau, with the hit song "Tafsiri Hii". This group was amongst the very first to do hip hop music in Kellywood.
Soon the likes of Nameless, Redsan, Jua Cali, Wyre, Nazizi, Nonini, Amani, Mr.Googz, Vinnie Banton, Kunguru, Mr.Lenny, Wahu, Rufftone, Esther Wahome, Jemmimah Thiongo, the late Angela Chibalonza, Flexx, the late E-sir, Kleptomaniax, Deux Vultures, The Longombas, Gidi Gidi Maji Maji, Juliani and others entered the scene and took things to the next level. This was the mid to late nineties and early 2000's.
The generation of Kellywood musicians that followed these guys include the likes of Mejja, Jimwat, Size 8, Emmy Kosgei, Daddy Owen, SK Blue, Sanaipei Tande, Holy Dave, Mr.T, Victoria Kimani, Ringtone, Mercy Masika, M.O.G, Kelele Takatifu, Ruth Matete, Harry Kimani, Bamzigi, Bamdogo, Ambasada, Gloria Muliro, Eko Dydda, Elani, Sauti Sol, Kendi among others.
The latest generation of Kellywood musicians include the likes of Otile Brown, Willy Paul, Timmy Tdat, Evelyn Wanjiru, Joyce Omondi, Akothee, Bahati, Mr.Seed, Hope Kid, Amani G, David Wonder, Rebecca Soki, H_art the Band among others.
The major recording studios in Kellywood have been the likes of Calif Records, Ogopa, Lampstand and not to forget Nduti One Stop Studios! Major Music Producers include the likes of Rkay Robert Kamanzi, Jibril J Blessings, Clemmo of Calif among others.
Kellywood's gospel scene has also seen quite a dramatic change from the television days with shows like Sing and Shine, Joy Bringers, that featured the likes of The Kasangas, Mary Atieno, Mary Wambui, Munishi to today's shows of Crossover101, Kubamba, Bambika, Tukuza.
A major change was the introduction of gospel Djs and Vjs, something that did not quite exist before in this particular sense. Yes there was music and music videos but it was put in the playlist by the sound director or manager or something of the sort. Besides the aforementioned musicians, others from that era include Reuben Kigame, Paul Kyande, the late Emachichi, the late Chibalonza and others.
The gospel generation after that included acts like Community, The Eagles, Gospel Fathers, Rufftone, Daddy Owen, Juliani, Jemmimah Thiongo, A-star, SK Blue, Krystal, Mercy Masika, Eunice Njeri, M.O.G., Kelele Takatifu, Masha Mapenzi, Marion Shako, Mercy D Lai, Emmy Kosgei, Holy Dave, Izzo, Kanji Mbugua, Mbuvi, Kambua among others.
The generation after that include the likes of Alice Kamande, Bahati, Willy Paul, Gloria Muliro, Hope Kid, Mr. Seed, Magic Mike, Guardian Angel, DK Kwenye Beat among others.
The latest generation include people like David Wonder, Amani G, Rebecca Soki among others.
KELLYWOOD DjsDjs never used to exist in the old Kellywood times, well not atleast to our knowlege. The pioneering Djs were Djs Adrian and Pinye, they were then followed by a barrage or a bevy of them. People like Dj Stylez and Dj Creme de la Creme were the following acts. Then later on Djs Hypnotiq, Kalonje, Nruff, Moh, Demakufu, Lyta, Joe Mfalme, Kriss Darlin among others entered the scene.
A notable female Kellywood Dj is Dj Pierra Makena with other upcoming female Djs making names for themselves. The major labels back at the time were Ogopa Djs and their bitter rivals Code Red Djs. New labels have been introduced with the notion of Dj'ing academies replacing labels, but those two still stand out.
KELLYWOOD Gospel Djs
Gospel Djs started making waves with the likes of Dj Moz, Dj Soxxy and Dj Johnie Celeb who formed a team and worked on many projects together initially under the K-Krew umbrella. The generaton following these guys were Dj Krowbar, Dj Sadic, Dj GG Activist, Dj Ruff and Dj Mo.
The radio scene in Kellywood has also seen tremendous growth from the days where you could only listen to KBC Kiswahili and English radio service. How did guys survive this, coz the youth of today could have rioted and stuff. The only alternatives to these were the international stations like the BBC and VOA. The late 90's saw the introduction of the station Kiss 100, which was the hottest thing on radio at that time, I remember I was in some high school in the bush somewhere.
Kiss FM entered the scene with a Bang! Capital B! Just music, no commercials, no presenters, just endless R n B, hip hop and pop music, which was the in thing back then. The playlist included the likes of Joe, Tupac Shakur, Notorious BIG, Britney Spears, Back Street Boys, Mary J BLige, Ja Rule, Ashanti, Shaggy, Blu Cantrel, Eminem, Jennifer Lopez, Brandy, Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, Nsync, Take That and many more. These guys were the hottest acts at the time. This was just before Carol and her crew raided the place.
After Kiss FM, Nation FM now Easy FM followed , more frequencies were opened up and the likes of Radio Citizen, Classic FM, Radio Jambo, Milele FM, Truth FM, Hope FM, Family FM, and a myriad of vernacular stations popped up.
Yeah, so this is Kellywood and the future is today! Big things are happening and more will follow! The question is, what is the next big thing? Probarbly movies, coz that is a huge gap there and we have to silence West Africa, and more music needs to go international.
Thing is, West African movies, West African songs and Tanzanian songs are trying to dominate the industry but we are on top of that, just watch this space! Can we get more big acts in movies like Nairobi Half Life and more big acts in music like Sauti Sol and bigger? Bigger movies, bigger music? More promising acts like Camp Mulla? Only time will tell!