TALANTA MASHINANI

Sh25m recording studio in Gatanga to grow talent

KBC and film classification board pledge to market content produced.

In Summary

• MP Ngugi said high costs of production has made the music industry difficult to penetrate for local youths. 

• As a result, young talent has gone to waste as the existing generation of artistes grows older.

Kenya Film Classification Board CEO Ezekiel Mutua, KBC chairman David Were, a Kirwara-based artist and Gatanga MP Nduati Ngugi do a jig Wednesday.
Kenya Film Classification Board CEO Ezekiel Mutua, KBC chairman David Were, a Kirwara-based artist and Gatanga MP Nduati Ngugi do a jig Wednesday.
Image: Alice Waithera

A recording studio under construction in Gatanga for Sh25 million will promote upcoming artistes and reduce production costs, area MP Nduati Ngugi has said. 

The constituency is home to a majority of Kikuyu artistes but has not nurtured enough new talent.

 

Ngugi said high costs of production has made the music industry difficult to penetrate for local youths. 

As a result, young talent has gone to waste as the existing generation of artistes grows older.

The studio, he said, will help bridge the gap by allowing youths to produce their content for free, including filmmaking.

“There is not a day that ends without Kenyans listening to music from Gatanga artistes. Talent is the cash crop of my constituency and the studio will help youngsters exploit their talent and expose them to the market,” he said.

Nduati said that the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation and the Kenya Film Commission have pledged to help to market content produced in the studio.

The studio will be completed in 14 weeks after which workers will be deployed to train and work with local artists.

The MP has been conducting a Talanta Mashinani programme to identify and support artistes to produce their content.

 

The winners of the talent search will be invited to curtain raise during Gatanga Night events that bring together local artistes and their fans.

Only three other studios have been set up so far under the Studio Mashinani programme in Mombasa, Kisumu and Nairobi counties.

Kenya Film Classification Board CEO Ezekiel Mutua said the MP's  consistent lobbying had borne fruit. 

President Uhuru Kenyatta ordered the studio be set up during the funeral of veteran musician Joseph Kamaru in October last year. 

Veteran artiste Peter Kigia performing during the groundbreaking ceremony of the studio in Kirwara, Gatanga constituency on Wednesday.
Veteran artiste Peter Kigia performing during the groundbreaking ceremony of the studio in Kirwara, Gatanga constituency on Wednesday.
Image: Alice Waithera

Mutua appealed to artistes to use the studio to produce music that will preach love and cohesion and steer clear of incitement and insults.

“Most of the artistes that we grew up listening to produced music that had advisory messages as compared to a crop of current artistes that makes music full of vile messages,” he said.

He cautioned musicians against engaging in politics of hate but to ensure their music brings people together and enhances national cohesion.

“Artists must avoid taking partisan positions and use talent to promote peace,” he said.

He urged upcoming artistes to follow the example of older artistes such as Peter Kigia and the late John Demathew.

Mutua said that the Sh100 million set aside by the government to cushion artistes from the effects of Covid-19 will not be extended to those who produce offensive music.

He said his board is working with Google to get vulgar songs off YouTube in partnership with Communications Authority of Kenya.

“Our aim is not to arrest but to advise them. Legal action will however be taken against those who go overboard and they will not benefit from government incentives,” he said.

Some of the artistes, he added, have received a warning from CAK and will be prosecuted if they do not heed to it.

He said that the government is committed to set precedent with the studio in Gatanga and ensure it produces artistes who shine even on the international arena.

He said the Sinema Mashinani concept will be brought on board to make the project a model studio that will nurture talent across the region.