There is no law or scripture that dictates that a Gospel artiste cannot perform in bars or that they should only be restricted to singing in church, popular Akorino Gospel singer Hezeh Ndung’u has said.
In a statement bound to raise religious temperatures in an already scandal ridden industry, Mr Ndung'u said “personally, I will sing anywhere to get money and I belong to church hence not fighting it...but for money I will sing even in bars.”
Mr Ndung’u says it is only God who is righteous and singing in bars does not make a Gospel artiste unclean.
Lately, photos of Akorino faithful donning their turbans and singing in bars have become routine, with the artistes sometimes even singing secular songs.
Mr Ndung’u said that he finds nothing wrong with that “as long as you do not become part of the acts and utterances outside the scope of Godly dictates.”
Speaking to Jeff Kuria TV, Mr Ndung'u said “even alcoholics are our fans...bars and alcohol do not sin but it is we the humans who do, hence why I find no big deal in showing up there and staging your show.”
“Don't be a fool. If singing in bars will give you a livelihood, go and utilise your talent to live,” he added.
He dismissed the notion that bars contain the unholy and sinners saying that “even God advocates for going out there in the field, leaving 99 sheep safely home in search for only one lost”.
“You will be surprised to hear that most of those you find in bars are only living a lifestyle...but they are grounded in religion since their parents gave them that foundation.
“Singing for those you dismiss as sinners is more rewarding than doing it for the church people”.
Mr Ndung’u said music has three aspects—message, entertainment and business—the latter being the most important for the artiste.
“If singing in church will give you Sh10 and singing in bars will give you Sh100, do not be a fool...Even God will disapprove your naivety of pursuing illogical considerations to run away from maximum reward for your talent,” he said.
“I urge all not to limit their potentials and rewards on grounds dictated by competitors whose only beef in criticising those already featuring in bars is based on reason that they have not been invited to do it.”
He said the debate is full of ironies since “the very ones criticising the bar performers are either alcoholics or if invited to perform for a pay, they would certainly show up.”
“Gone are those ancient days when holiness and righteousness were killing us in poverty...We have come a long way from the days of singing while rooted like statues to the modern dance in gospel industry.”
Mr Ndung’u is famed for rejuvenating the gospel beat where he introduced the 'jukebox' hard beat and danceable climax at the end tail of his tracks. He also introduced audio-visual recordings with dancers no different from secular music videos.
His songs have remained evergreen, starting with hits like Bilshiba, Kígunyí-iní, Mwanake wa Jesse, Gituamba, Etererai mwone and Umagariai.
He became a household name in 2004 when he released a track Andú a Nja Múgwanja, which said that a time is coming when seven women will seek to be enjoined with one man.
Mr Ndung’u has produced over 100 singles since 1990 when he produced his first album.
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