The sixth edition of Coke Studio Africa has an impressive line-up of musicians drawn from all parts of the continent, featuring musicians like Bebe Cool, Patoranking, Ali Kiba and Avril.
Musicians from Kenya’s coast, however, are not featured anywhere.
Coke Studio, in a press conference, explained that their choice of musicians is driven by market research.
“We don’t decide which artiste comes to the show but as a company we invest heavily in market research and the names we get are from the research done on the consumers on what they want. We don’t keep repeating the same artistes but the market keeps giving us these same names and you can’t bring on board someone that the consumer doesn’t desire to see,” Coke Studio project manager Monali Shah said.
Coast musicians, however, argue that their music is popular and receives massive airplay and therefore deserves a spot in the Coke Studio limelight.
Nation.co.ke spoke to a few top-tier Mombasa-based musicians on the matter.
“Nibebe” and “Watu na Viatu” hit maker Nyota Ndogo feels it’s unfair and that the selection depends on an artiste’s networks.
“Sitaki kutia mdomo mbaya kwa sababu bahati yangu sijui ni lini, ila ninahisi ni kama vile ni kujuana. Wajua niliwahi kuulizia kipindi ikianza ile Season One, nikaambiwa kwamba wanaolengwa ni wanamuziki chipukizi na wala sio kina sisi wanamuziki wa zamani. Lakini mwaka jana nilishangaa kumwona Jua Cali, yule ni wa zamani, pia Jaguar ashawahi kuwepo yule pia ni wa zamani. Dadangu Avril kaitwa kwa mara ya pili naye ni wa zamani. Jaydee vile vile ashawahi kuwepo na yeye pia ni wa zamani. Mwangalie pia Yemi Alade, kaalikwa mara kadhaa wakati kunao pia wasanii wengi wa kike wanaofanya vizuri Nigeria kama Tiwa Siwage. Nafikiri ni kujuana”
(I would not want to talk ill about what they are doing but I remember asking one of the organisers during its first season why there was no musician from the Coast. I was told the show only targeted upcoming artistes. But last year, I was shocked to see Jua Cali in there, he is from my time, so is Jaguar, who has been there too, Avril, who is making a comeback, as well as Lady JayDee. Yemi Alade has also been on Coke Studio countless times but I bet she is not the only Nigerian musician doing well. We also got the likes of Tiwa Savage. I really feel it is how well you connect with the organiser that gets you in there.”
COOL WITH IT
Susumila, who has been consistent in releasing hits, including “Mapepe” featuring King Kaka, as well as “Wewe” featuring Avril, said he was cool with being left out.
“Hawajawahi kuniita ila sina tatizo nao. Kuitwa sio lazima Coke Studio, wakikosa kuna yule anayeona kazi yangu inatosha ataniita. Kama wakinihitaji watanitafuta. Ila haimaanishi wale wanamuziki wanaowachukua ndio bora zaidi pengine kwa mtazamo wao wanaona hao ndio wanaofaa malengo yao
(I have never been invited by Coke Studio but I am cool with that. People who need you will get you but that doesn’t mean the artistes they get on board are the best, maybe they feel the ones they select meet their target.”
Suleiman Chikuku Abdallah, aka Chikuzee, said he feels Coke Studio organisers don’t think Coast musicians are serious with their music.
“Wanafikiria pengine hatupo serious na pengine ndio maana hawatufuati. Hawatuamini lakini mbona kwingine tunakubalika. Tuna vipaji vingi tu mbona wasijaribu hata mmoja waone kama hatuwezi?”
(I strongly feel that they think we are jokers. They don’t believe in us but truth be told some of us are doing better than the ones they keep calling. They should think of trying at least one of us then see how it goes.)
Dogo Richie, who trended in 2016 with his diss jam “Majanga”, said he and other Mombasa-based musicians are doing well with the only shortcoming being that they have not been able to establish brands like their Nairobi counterparts.
“Vipaji tunavyo tena hatari, ila nafikiri tumeshindwa kujibrand kama wenzetu wa Nairobi na ndicho kitu wanachokiangalia Coca Cola ambao nao vile vile ni brandi kubwa. Wanaita msanii anayetrendi kwa sababu wanataka pia kutumia fursa hiyo kujiuza. Lakini pamoja na yote Coke wangejitahidi kuacha kufanyia kila kitu Nairobi wajaribu na miji mingine kama Nakuru au Mombasa waone itakueje kwa sababu soko si moja tu na pia sisi hutrendi” Dogo Richie said.
(We are extremely talented. It’s just that we’re poor at branding ourselves unlike our counterparts in Nairobi. I’m sure a big brand like Coke also looks at what brands they are partnering with. They look for trending artistes because they also want a chance to trend too. But they should try to focus on artistes outside Nairobi too, like Nakuru or even Mombasa. They should know that the music market exists outside of Nairobi and we trend in those markets too.)
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