One of the most entertaining groups to come out of East Africa in Kenya is no other than Boomba Clan. Since the first time I was in Kenya to be married in 2006. I heard the sounds of Boomba Clan on the radio, television, nightclubs and dining out in restaurants with the smashing hit "Chonga Viazi."
Their style reminded me of solo singer - comedian "Weird Al Yankovic" from the US. However, make no mistake; they have their own style that stands out, and a lot more entertaining than Weird Al.
Never the less, I have followed this group off and on since 2006 to see where they are going with the music scene in Kenya. I started to find more videos on YouTube and on MySpace that kept me interested in their music. Besides their funny themes, the beats that they have created come across with a genuine Hip Hop appeal that anyone can dance to and all their tracks are big hits in nightclubs throughout Kenya.
When stepping outside the American grid, you can find all kinds of different music. Unless you know somebody from another country and who owns a private collection, you will never know what is out there. Even then, you do not hear as much or see what is out there unless you have viewed YouTube's extensive collection or visit different countries. American music is virtually the same from one "artiste" to the next, and the lyrics for the most part are just plan boring. The mainstream music industry in the US killed the talent that once was abundant.
I was very interested in knowing more about Boomba Clan and started researching for online or magazine interviews or even narratives from the group turned up nothing. I found it somewhat odd, that with a group that is as popular in Kenya as Boomba Clan, there should have been some kind of write up from one of the Kenya media houses by now. It is now 2009. When I found nothing to review in regards to Boomba Clan, I got the crazy idea. I had just done an interview with US based Kenyan rapper Dezyne back in February of 2009. I should ask the Members of Boomba Clan if I could do an interview.
It was brought up to me by "Thome" one of the Members of Boomba Clan, that Boomba Clan refuses interviews from Kenya media houses. The media houses in Kenya are looking to find a negative on the group instead of writing about their struggles and accomplishments. I cannot say that I blame them, if that is the obvious or hidden agenda of any interviewer; hence those doing the interviews should be ashamed and start looking for another career option. I am just saying.
Meet Kenyans got the rare chance to get an interview with the permission from Members of Boomba Clan.
Meet Kenyans: First, I would like to start off with saying thank you guys from "Boomba Clan" for this opportunity for an interview and welcome to our media known as Meet Kenyans.
Boomba Clan: Thanks man we are honoured.
Meet Kenyans: Karibu.
Meet Kenyans: Second, I would like to know about your name Boomba Clan. Where did you guys come up with the name and what does it mean?
Boomba Clan: The name was coined while in high school and it means the best of our music bestowed all over.
Meet Kenyans: What areas of Kenya do the members of Boomba Clan come from?
Boomba Clan: We come from different corners of the country...but sisi ni watuu wa mtaa!
Meet Kenyans: As a group, how did you guys meet one another?
Boomba Clan: We met in high school.
Meet Kenyans: When did Boomba Clan start? What inspired you guys to make music?
Boomba Clan: It started when we realised we could make music together in 2001 and that was the era of the emergence of Genge / Kapuka.
Meet Kenyans: What genre of music do you consider your work to be? Who are your major influences?
Boomba Clan: We are a high bred of Genge and Kapuka so we call our music Boomgeng! Ha aha for real man!
Meet Kenyans: I have seen five different Boomba Clan videos, but not everybody stars in the videos from one to the next. How many members of Boomba Clan are there and what is everyone's name?
Boomba Clan: We are currently four members "Victor Nyothach -a.k.a- Viquniq," (the blaqberry) "Thomas Mboss -a.k.a- Thome," "Eric Soi -a.k.a- Crazytonz," "Philip Makanda -a.k.a- Philoh."
Meet Kenyans: How many videos and how many songs does Boomba Clan have in their collection? How many from this collection do fans know about?
Boomba Clan: We have six videos but fans have only seen like five. The sixth one is dropping real soon. In terms of songs we've got many, as much as twenty by now but fans know like five of our songs coz those are the ones we released officially to the public via audio and video.
Meet Kenyans: Do you have a record label? Is Boomba Clan a member of any music organisations?
Boomba Clan: We have our own company and we are members of the Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK).
Meet Kenyans: How do you guys come up with your material before producing a new song?
Boomba Clan: Writing music can be spontaneous or we brainstorm on what to write. But basically we mirror what happens in the society and deliver it in our own unique style!
Meet Kenyans: Could you briefly describe the music-writing process?
Boomba Clan: We all come up with ideas of a song and the one that gets us laughing the most gets first priority. We joke around and at the end of it all we get in the booth and make jewels! But honestly we are always amazed that we are actually musician's coz we clown too much! A recording session that would have lasted three hours can take up to five hours!
Meet Kenyans: Where have you performed? What are your favourite and least favourite venues? Do you have any upcoming shows in 2009?
Boomba Clan: We have virtually performed in every town in Kenya and the best show for us is when MTV picked us to headline a show at the "Carnivore." But all our shows have been good coz we know how to rock a crowd! We are busy recording new material that is to herald our new image coz we are repackaging ourselves. So we are not focused on shows at the moment, but we can always honour any invitation that comes along.
Meet Kenyans: How often do you guys have rehearsals?
Boomba Clan: It depends on our tour and shows schedule. If we are heavily booked then we rehearse three times a week for three hours straight.
Meet Kenyans: How has your music evolved since you first began?
Boomba Clan: Yes it has coz we can now afford to do high quality music both audio and video plus we are targeting the regional market and the international scene at large, hence the slight change in our music style.
Meet Kenyans: What has been your biggest challenge? Have you been able to overcome that challenge? If so, how?
Boomba Clan: Our biggest challenge has been airplay and conniving promoters. Radio airplay has really dropped for the Genge / Kapuka genre due to the lack of a quota system. we are petitioning the government through (MCSK) to have the quota system enforced. As for shady promoters, we don't deal with them. "They know who they are!"
Meet Kenyans: What's your ultimate direction for your music? Where do you guys see Boomba Clan five years from now?
Boomba Clan: Five years from now we are targeting to be regional and international stars as well.
Meet Kenyans: What advice do you have for Kenyans who want to break into the music business in Kenya?
Boomba Clan: Work triple hard and believe in yourself.
Meet Kenyans: How can fans-to-be gain access to your music? Do you have an official (.com) Web site with sample songs or a demo CD?
Boomba Clan: You can reach us through Facebook, hi5, MySpace and YouTube.
Meet Kenyans: Is there anyone you would like to acknowledge for offering financial or emotional support?
Boomba Clan: We will always be grateful to "Martin Oneya" for his financial support that got us our big break and many others for their emotional and moral support. Since we cannot mention all of them we shall leave a dotted line for them to write down their names......................
Meet Kenyans: How often does Boomba Clan travel outside of Kenya for music tours?
Boomba Clan: We are yet to do that but there is a U.S. TOUR coming soon! Watch this or any other space...ha aha!
Meet Kenyans: Your most recent video "Does Your Mother Know" looked to be a high quality video production, using 3CCD camera equipment to produce it. Who is producing your videos?
Boomba Clan: Well we cannot deny or confirm whether its 3CCD, but our video plus audio has been done by "Ogopa DJs" like we said earlier we are taking our game notches higher!
Meet Kenyans: BOOTLEGS! We all know there is some fellow Kenyans selling everyone's music illegally. How does it make you guys feel when they are making profits and Boomba Clan does not benefit from the illegal income being generated? Do you ignore it or accept it as a form of free advertisement to gain live performance gigs?
Boomba Clan: It's a sad thing that we are yet to reap the fruits of our labour but truth be said there are no good mechanisms to deter the bootleggers! We don't approve of piracy coz it robs us! Any "artiste" who condones it is sick in the head.
Meet Kenyans: Does Boomba Clan support any NGOs to help out in some way within the Kenyan community? If so, with what NGO or if not, what do you do to help out?
Boomba Clan: We have worked with children's homes like "Thomas Barnados" along Langata Road plus Womankind Kenya based in Garissa.
Meet Kenyans: Do you have any last words?
Boomba Clan: Buy Kenya to build Kenya...tujivunie kuwa wakenya so lets have lots of local Kenyan content on our airwaves...lets build and not destroy!
Meet Kenyans: The next time I'm in Kenya; we should meet-up and hangout. You guys down?
Boomba Clan: We are definitely down like coffins under the dirt...ha aha aha, and maybe we can continue putting KBL in business...know what we mean!
Interview by Meet Kenyans