It’s fifteen years since the legend and renowned music composer Jacob Luseno left us.
Jacob Luseno was born during the early days of 1936.
He went to Goibei intermediate school, while at Goibei he engaged in singing folk songs, traditional dancing and drama. Luseno’s education was slightly interfered with when his parents moved from Tiriki land to Mumbetsa Imasaba. It’s here where he joined Mwikhomo intermediate school.
While at school he met other pupils with an interest in music like Likhaya Clement Induli among others who came together and started playing music with an accompaniment of a handmade guitar which they made locally using the readily available material by then.
After his successful education at Mwikhomo intermediate school, the legend joined Peps Cola a drink production company in Eldoret. While at Peps Cola, Jacob used to transport the product from Kenya to Uganda for trade. The most surprising thing is while at Pepsi Cola Jacob used to move around with his hand made guitar.
He was lucky to get greener pastures and moved from Pepsi Cola Company in Eldoret to Salisbury hotel, an Asian hotel in Kericho.
He was transferred from Kericho to Nairobi where he used to work in the company laundry as a laundry machine operator.
With his high passion for music Luseno quit his job and joined starlight night club the leading night club in Nairobi by then, the club was owned by a much known investor Armstron. It’s here where he met other legendaries like Daudi kabaka, Fadhili Williams and Nashion Pitchen.
They formed Nabongo success band, while at Nabongo success band Luseno composed and recorded his first song Jane Wanje.
Jane was his firstborn daughter and Luseno sung this song in remembrance of his only beloved daughter Jane.
Thereafter he composed other songs like Injete, Muteithi, Ikwenjeri, Inzala, Liani, Useni Mwana , among other hits.
It’s only after this the common and widely known Phonetix band was formed playing with an African beat, he was joined by a lady vocalist from the region who still keeps the fire blazing in the band Gethrude Mwendo.
Gethrude is the common vocalist in the songs produced by the Phonetix band like :Makuru, Cecilia,,House maid among other songs produced by the band.
For all this time, the musician used a Polygram to record his music.
There were no CDs by then but the music was stored on the commonly known in Kiswahili as Santuri.
Luseno went underground for some time after leaving the star light club in 1979.
He rose and shone again and recorded with a nick name,Indumba jazz.
While with Indumba jazz he recorded songs like Dinnah,,Rael ,Nandi,,Nabongo ,Ikhabi yanje among other hits.
It’s here again that Luseno ‘sunk’ for 8 years.
After the long silence, he joined Zamalek production and music store and partnered with Zamalek’s music producer and singer Samule Libayi Omusula.
While with Zamalek,Luseno was like a blazing dry bush when he recorded among his hit songs Mukangala, Khutsi Khungo, Lenah, Kumi Kumi, Ingokho ya Malore, Appointment, Narc, Shihubi, Wrong Reverend, Shifwabi among other hit songs.
He was joined by another regional musician by the name Omari Macho whom they recorded with his second last song Akanire meaning- I don’t want.
He recorded his last song by the name Nyina Mwana in 2004.
Luseno used to perform live in Bora Bora club in Nairobi’s Kawangware estate from 2004.
It is here that the original Phonetex band split into two-Phonetex the original one and Phonetex the rebel band.
It is said that the band broke due to a slight absence of the legend due to misunderstandings among its members.
The real and original Phonetex band exists and is managed by Luseno’s only standing son Obed Luseno as the band manager.
It also consisted of Luseno’s renowned lady vocalist Getrude Mwendo and Julius Shivachi also known as Itenya.
Luseno’s family still has a touch of the band and is involved largely in the management of the band.
The band has produced since the death of Luseno songs like Lifua lia Luseno- meaning the death of Luseno, Speed governor and Soldier.
Soldier as a song talks of a gentleman who is healthy and very strong who moves to the city to search for employment and ends up in even more problems in the city as a watchman.
All produced courtesy of Zamalek production and music stores.
The legend’s death.
Luseno died after being sick for barely a week.
While sick his only son Obed moved him from Nairobi to his home in Mumbetsa where he passed on sometime between 4am-5am in the morning of 3rd January 2006.
Jacob ‘Mukangala’ Luseno was laid to rest at his home in Mumbestsa on 14th January 2006.
Luseno left behind his beloved wife now widow Florence Luseno and his son Obed who is married with a loving wife Christine and four children.