Wamiruri, Mt Kenya’s king of love songs

Wamiruri Mla Chake

A scene from one of Wamiruri Mla Chake's tracks.

Photo credit: Pool

Wamiruri Mla Chake has cut a niche for himself as Mt Kenya’s king of sentimental ballads with emotive dances.

His emotive and sensual love songs, and the energetic and playful dancing bring character to his videos and have earned him praise.

Known for singing about issues that characterise hustlers’ relationships, he says, “I will not be stopping anytime soon to sing (sic) about love and women because…I love the love itself and women too”.

Most of his songs are about marriage, courtship, infidelity, players, divorce, parenting; they are about male and females and the way they relate, with emphasis on women.

The climax in Mla Chake’s songs is characterised by self-aggrandisement where he introduces himself and announces his band, Kiamahinga, as well as his Iyego rural village in Kangema Sub County.

He also comes with a rare talent where he whistles, with the unique whistles sounding like musical notes from a musical instrument. 

The musician told Nation.Africa that his stage name is a childhood nickname. He also added the title mwana mwireri in his aliases, to mean he is self-made.

“Wamiruri, which means ‘he who whistles’, was out of my love for uniquely whistling, while Mla Chake, meaning ‘he who eats what is his’, was out of my stocky weight owing to a good diet raised through my own sweat. Otherwise, my official name is Kenneth Kabiru Kamau,” he says.

Wamiruri Mla Chake

Wamiruri Mla Chake gestures in one of his songs.

Photo credit: Pool

With 13 years of singing under his belt, Wamiruri says it was not always easy and he had to work his way up through real hustling.

“I have reared chicken, farmed in the village…hawked in Nairobi and served as [an] untrained chef in Nairobi food kiosks… I have gone through hard life where today my worst fear is the indignity of hunger.

“My primary school education level had its limitations but I can today tell you that the greatest asset[s] in life [are] positivity, hard work, trust in God and patience,” he says.

The artiste adds that most of themes in his songs are issues he sees, hears about, experiences and imagines.

“For instance, I have been left by a wife with whom I had three kids and who today are being brought up by a foster mother,” he says.

“She found a female garment in our matrimonial bed and my defence that it must have been a rat that brought it in did not convince her. She packed and left, never to return.”

Brought up in a poor family of four brothers and one sister, Wamiruri knew from onset that he would have to ‘grow up’ really fast and cater for his own needs. He completed his primary school education by sheer luck, he says, adding that furthering his education was an ‘illusion’.

He also grew up in a village where the Mungiki sect had its roots and young men had to always be vigilant of security forces, to a point that he would sometimes regret where he came from. He even sang about it, questioning when people will stop the blanket condemnation of youth from Kangema as sect adherents.

With the hard start in life, Wamiruri began doing hard odd jobs to meet his needs.

“A village friend linked me up with a man who ran a food kiosk in Nairobi’s Githurai Estate and I started my life as an amateur chef. I later left that employment and founded my own kiosk in Kibra’s Laini Saba Estate, and to date I have kept it,” he says.

Wamiruri says he has several other business engagements and he balances his hustles well with his passion for music, making time for each engagement.

He is currently riding high on tracks like Kimood kia Wendo, Tehu, Thina wa Saudi, Wirore, Gikeno Giakwa, Nituthii and Ngurora Naku.

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