The 2019 season of Coke Studio Africa has announced it’s upcoming All Women finale episode in a powerful statement and a trail-blazing move, unveiling some of Kenya’s top female instrumentalists who will be part of the show’s live band in the finale episode.
According to a press statement by Anyiko PR, they include Kasiva Mutua (Percussions), Wendy Kemunto (Vocals), Ivy Alexander (Guitar), Naomi Ziro (Bass Guitar) and Mutindi Tindi Muasa (Keyboard). This will be the first time Coke Studio Africa is featuring an all-female band and instrumentalists in a bold move to highlight Africa’s great talent and the opportunities for women in the arts industry.
TEDGlobal 2017 fellow, Kasiva Mutua made her second return to the show this year. She shared her experience: “It’s been a real vibe working with different artists from across Africa and enjoying their different personalities, which is what I feed off when am creating. As a lover of traditional instruments, I appreciate the fact that on this season, Coke Studio Africa has included a lot of that.” Having performed on various platforms locally and internationally, Kasiva describes the show as a “learning curve” for her: “Coke Studio is always throwing a challenge at me. You have to dig deep, research and talk to artists on their vision.”
A few years back Kenya’s fast-rising singer Kemunto posted a powerful Swahili version of a Yemi Alade and Sauti Sol’s “Africa” song on her social media platforms, that the Nigerian Afrobeats queen reposted. That repost caught the eyes and ears of Coke Studio Africa’s producers who then gave Wendy an opportunity of a lifetime: a gig as a background vocals singer on Coke Studio Africa. Now a fully-fledged singer and songwriter, Kemunto not only returns as a backing singer for the second time but will also appear on the big stage in her own spotlight, alongside fellow Kenyan producer Joe Mutoria who co-produced the Coke Studio Africa 2019 track #MadeInKenya.
Kemunto gushed on their upcoming collaboration, “Being given the chance to actually do a song on such a huge platform means so much to me,” adding, “I was a background singer last time, it’s very different as an artist this time around! There is a bit of pressure but it’s very exciting.”
From performing at several top stages such as the Safaricom International Jazz Festival, guitarist Ivy Alexander joins Coke Studio Africa, as the show’s first female guitarist. Speaking on her debut, she said, “My experience on Coke Studio Africa has been amazing and interesting as I got to meet artists that I never thought I’d ever be in the same space with which I admit has made me grow musically,” adding, “Through the show, I have met producers and artists who I hope to work with beyond the show.” Ivy is rapidly solidifying her place in music whilst working on her own solo compositions.
Having been on Coke Studio Africa for the first time as an audience member, Naomi never in a million years would have thought that she would feature on the show as an instrumentalist. The bassist said, “I did not expect the show to be what it is. My take away from the whole experience is the resilience from the whole crew this is the first place that I have seen that happen.” With a style that blends eclectic sounds of Latin music, Funk, Lingala and African rhythms, Naomi is the current bassist player for Adhoc Band and Serro.
From honing her skills with as a keyboardist, bass guitarist, and vocalist, Tindi has performed with the likes of Gravitti Band, The Flower Project, and June Gachui. This is her first time on the show which she admitted came as a shocker: “Everyone looks forward to being on Coke Studio Africa but I never thought it would happen this fast. The experience has been nothing short of amazing. Getting to learn different languages and understanding styles of music is simply mind-blowing,” adding, “Coke Studio Africa is such a coveted stage, so I do not take that for granted. It’s a blessing!”
The finale episode of Coke Studio Africa from the 31st March at 8 pm across various media outlets.