March 30, 2010 – A UK-based record label with presence in Kenya and Sudan, Gatwitch Records, has taken up neo-soul and Afro-fusion artist, Atemi Oyungu under its wings.
Atemi began singing at the age of ten, before stepping onto the scene via an all-girl group INTU, alongside Natasha Gatabaki (who is now a banker).
That was ages ago. In 2003, Atemi joined Kenyan sensation, Eric Wanaina, as an assistant vocal harmony provider for his band.
Together with the Eric and the Mapinduzi band she performed in Zimbabwe, Ghana, Sauti Za Busara Festival in Zanzibar, Festival Mundial in Holland, The North Sea Jazz Festival in Holland, Big Brother Africa in South Africa and at the Annual German Ambassadors Conference in Germany.
She played a major role in Wainaina’s musical production, Luanda, and later in Kenya’s biggest theatre production yet, Mo Faya. Atemi has been hosting an all-Africa TV show, Africa Rising, since 2009.
Atemi released her first single, “Happy”, in 2004; and in 2008 launched her debut album, “Hatimaye”.
The musician collaborated with Nyatichi Nyasani and a Ugandan sensation, Kawesa, and “I need to Know”, a song for a UNFPA project supporting sex education for children in schools.
Another collabo, “Earth Song”, was with Kenyan musician, Nikki, for a UNDP project to clean the Nairobi River.
Atemi is the third artist to be signed with Gatwitch, following Kenyan hip hop sensation, Juliani, and Sudanese world music artist, Nyaruach. The label established its name in East African music industry with the release of Juliani’s first solo album, Mtaa Mentality, in 2008.
Founded by international hip hop artist and humanitarian, Emmanuel Jal, Gatwitch Records operates in London, Nairobi and Juba, focusing on world music and hip hop, and striving to give local artists an international platform.
Besides financing their albums, the label provides marketing, distribution and event organising for the artists it signs. Gatwitch works to enrich the current music market by creating and increasing opportunities and competition.
Based on Emmanuel Jal’s fundamental belief in the power of music to change lives, the label sends proceeds from its events, and a share of each CD and merchandise item sold, to one of the crucial projects in communities of its artists’ origin and work. Gatwitch is putting together a music festival in Nairobi in December 2010.
A mix of neo-soul and Afro fusion, Atemi’s sound has been described as that of “Miriam Makeba meeting Jill Scott.”
Gatwitch Records has announced an immediate commencement of work on Atemi’s second album, to be released later this year. The artist is scheduled to perform in the “A Affair” show at The Alliance Francaise, along with Aaron Rimbui, Dan “Chizi” Aceda and Chris Adwar, playing with Wananchi and The Villagers Band on April 1.