At 58, Jacob William Maunda
is still going strong, musically.Although many of his
music age-sets have gone under, he
is promising his
audience more hits this year.
At a tender age, the music bug hit Maunda when he
joined the school choir in Tanzania where his
father William Kiongo worked as an East Africa locomotive driver.Maunda
has juggled music, journalism and family, jumping ship from choir to choir and band to band.Pictures: Nanjinia Wamuswa
In 1972, aged 22, Maunda
and others formed the East Africa Community Boys' Band for entertainment at various functions.He
was the vocalist and bass guitar player. Two years later, he joined Tengevu Lutheran Church Choir.
Under Maunda's guidance, the choir took lead in a competition in the wider North Diocese region of Tanzania.
"Even the famous ‘Arusha Mjini Choir' could not match us.We would beat them in every competition," he
However, the choir collapsed in 1979 and Maunda
returned to Kenya.Together with others they formed Halleluyah Messengers Band.It is here that he
started recording music mainly in his
was later to quit the band citing insecurity. Maunda
would later go solo and performed as a one man-guitarist.This was not for long because soon he founded Mukasu International Band and Mukaa International Choir which later gave rise to Orchestra Mukaa Super International Band.
It was through this last band that he
recorded songs like Baba Yenu Mlevi, Shangilia Christmas, Jirani Acheni Roho Mbaya and Nahangaika Mombasa among many other vernacular hits.
To date, Maunda
has over 40 songs to his
name.But Nahangaika Mombasa was an instant hit when it was released and remains the best to date.To him age is gold and that is why he
is telling his
audience to brace for even more hits this year.
In 2005, Maunda
approached Peter Kanyi and John Nzenze and picked a number of their hits and released a Video Compact Disc that is doing well in the market.
maternal grandfather and his
mother were musicians, Maunda
does not believe he
music prowess from them.
A man keen on multi-tasking, Maunda
has since juggled music, journalism and family, jumping ship from choir to choir and band to band in a music career spanning close to four decades.
"I have juggled music and journalism and have never regretted," he
says. Away from music, Maunda joined the East African Community Centre college of Tanzania in 1974, graduating with secretarial and communications course.He then joined the Ministry of Information in 1977 and doubled as a reporter with Kenya News Agency (KNA).He was also a newscaster with the Voice of Kenya (VoK).
Career in the mediaIn 1989 immediately after graduating with a Diploma in Journalism from the Kenya Institute of Mass Communication through a government scholarship, Maunda left KNA for VoK as a reporter-cum-newscaster for both radio and television. He
retired in 2001 at the age of 50 to concentrate fully on music. Maunda
also had a short stint as a lecturer at the KIMC
in 2004, before quitting to join Mbaitu FM
, a Kamba vernacular radio station.He
was to leave the station for yet another Kamba station, Musyi FM - a vernacular radio station of Royal Media Services
, as senior news anchor, editor and head of news department.
"Music to me equals journalism.Through music, l communicate to society in the same manner l do as a journalist," he
Each of his
songs targets certain groups of people.
During last year's General Election, Maunda
composed Musumbi Witu (Our President) in praise of Kibaki.
In 1989 Maunda
won in the bands' category in a music competition sponsored by the United Nations on HIV/Aids education.But in the end he
didn't receive full payment as agreed before joining the competition.
Despite losing huge amounts of money, Maunda
has greatly benefited from his
music career, financially.In fact seven of his
sons have followed in his
footsteps and are musicians on their own right.
But it has not been smooth sailing all along.He
says: "The challenges have been in the cost of production.Initially it was very expensive to record a song and band members also needed money which was difficult to get."Maunda
has been prey to piracy.He
once took somebody to court for stealing his