What you need to know:
- Tube of the Abana ba Nasery Band, was renowned for having been among the innovators of the popular Omutibo beat.
- Some of Tube's popular songs include Maombi ya Mummy, Grace Mpenzi and Hadija Mrembo.
Veteran musician Shem Tube is dead. Born Shem Andayi, he was among the few surviving western Kenya music legends from the ‘50s and ‘60s.
He reportedly succumbed to complications from diabetes at a hospital in Luanda Township, Vihiga County, on Sunday. He was in his early 80s.
Speaking to the Nation on Sunday evening, fellow musician Sila wa Sila said Tube’s daughter, Marthe Ayoma, had confirmed the sad news. She informed him that her father had died at Romo Romo Hospital in Luanda.
"We will be liaising with the family for the funeral arrangements,” he said.
Sila, the Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK) regional chairman in western Kenya, said he would liaise with his counterparts on the funeral arrangements.
MCSK national chairman Lazarus Muli, in a condolence message, eulogised Tube for his musical prowess that greatly influenced some local Benga and rhumba artistes.
“The MCSK fraternity has lost one of its founder members who greatly influenced others,” Muli said.
Tube of the Abana ba Nasery Band, was renowned for having been among the innovators of the popular Omutibo beat, fusing it with percussion sounds from scratching a Fanta bottle with a coin.
This is a style he initially popularised with the Mwilonje Jazz Band from the 1950s to the 1970s. The unique beat would gain popularity among African music fans in Europe and other parts of the world.
He had many fans among radio disc jockeys in the UK, who marvelled at the use of a Fanta bottle to produce a unique sound.
Several other musicians picked up the music style both locally and internationally.
Notably, Douglas Paterson an American African music archivist, travelled to meet Tube to chat with him about his unique sound.
Similarly, Kenyan-born US-based artiste Joseck Asikoye of the Jabali Afrika group, has also been in the forefront of promoting some of Tube's music.
Some of Tube's popular songs from back then include Maombi ya Mummy, Grace Mpenzi and Hadija Mrembo.
Among Tube's contemporaries were Enos Okola and Justo Osala, both whom he recorded songs with under the label Country Music of Western Kenya.
Some of the songs they produced include Khwakosa Sina, Khwesimba Murwe, Esimiti Khusilenje.
Other musicians from western Kenya, who worked with Tube included Fanuel Amimo, John Nzenze (who died last year), Jimmy Lasco, Anthony Susu and Man Kale.
Surviving veteran musicians from western Kenya from Tube's generation include Sukuma Bin Ongaro, now a gospel artiste, and Peter Kombo.