“This man is a revolutionary, a pace setter and the very image of positive culture..in his diligence and passion for cross generational cultural integration. He is one of the most humble Artistes in his field that I have had the privilege to work with once and directly experienced professionalism and felt a sense of hope in the music industry due to his warm heart his vision his approach his sensible and good work etiquette. Huo ndio #Utamaduni wetu Today Utamaduni festival takes this moment to Celebrate and acknowledge the efforts of Gregg Tendwa #utamfestival”
Tendwa is that guy who doesn’t say much but plays music that will tell you a million stories. His music goes way back to groovy traditional African sounds that meander around modern but rare sounds of Katitu, Benga, Kanindo and some purely collected sounds from around the world. well, if you don’t know what those are, listen here
Currently redefining the future of Benga music, the Bengatronics recently exploded onto the East African music scene. Blending cutting edge electronics, irresistible Benga rhythms and sweet-as-sugarcane guitar riffs – the outfit seemed to arrive fully formed out of nowhere.
Truth is, echoing Robert Johnson’s mythical meeting at the crossroads – this story began with DJ Gregg Tendwa picking up a young guitar-slinger hitching by the side of the road in Machakos county, Eastern Kenya.
The two shared a few words and decided to jam – Tendwa dropping beats from his laptop and John Kithikii improvising lyrics and melodies for hours on end. Gregg Tendwa, inspired by the path his trailblazing Santuri Safari project had led him down, dubbed the style Bengatronics – a sly nod to the experimental electronic scene coming out of Congo and Kenya’s own rich Benga tradition.
Joined by John Udulele on bass and vocals, Missing’ Rotich on the rhythm and vocals, and aided by the studio wizardly of Kibby Kenneth and Sarabi’s Harun Waceke, the collective is busy honing their live show and developing tracks for Bengabelt Vol 1, their first release.
” From a striking resemblance to Jamaica’s Tarrus Riley, Gregg Tendwa or Mwalimu (teacher) as those close to him call him is the man behind the WIBO Culture movement- an experimental, self-evolving art initiative that envisions an open and connected global community through food, fashion, music and stories. We recently caught up with the deejay, art lover, entrepreneur and photography enthusiast for an exclusive with UP.”
“First, we are mostly in agreements that the successful music industries – be it the west or the south of Africa, exploited their foundation and calibrated that foundation to fit the context of time. There was history, memory, recognition, and appreciation of the past in defining the present. Characteristic is Kenya is the ability for us to try and define music from space.”
” To know that this tribal music is available out in the villages. There were people singing and dancing to preserve the music – this is real life and largely in Nairobi we are cut off from the reality of real life, the soul. To still realize that it is available in its authentic format was great.”