Hometown: Nairobi, Kenya.
This group of young, passionate, talented and brave people came together in 2012, after graduating the local Dandora Music School. Two adults and four teenagers (four boys and a girl, ranging in age from 13-15 years old) all born and raised in Dandora, gave themselves the name Dandora Music and recorded their first single JIkaze. Music is their way of fighting extreme poverty, as they all come from low-income families striving to make ends meet.
Since then, they have recorded seven songs leading up to their sophomore album called Looking Up. The album contains the latest single by the same name featuring, and produced by, the legendary multi-talented producer Kanyeria. The album also features the works of other music producers from Kenya including Klein (Heart-Beat Studio), Sniper (G ganji), Johnso (Hewa Records) and Provoke (3D Music Kenya).
Hype and promotions leading up to their album launch grabbed the media’s attention leading to Dandora Music being interviewed by major radio and TV stations in Kenya. The group’s hard work and dedication has seen them cross Kenyan boarders for international tours in countries like Sweden and the USA. In addition, they have also shared the stage with some of the biggest names in the Kenyan music scene.
We had the chance to chat with one of the original founders of Dandora Music, Francis Demesi, aka Franso Kenya, and asked him about the project and Dandora Music’s future plans.
I have the pleasure to inform you that Dandora Music has been chosen as AOTM!
Franso Kenya: I’m so honored and grateful! Any visibility we can get is golden for us.
Tell me a bit about Dandora Music and your work with kids. You are one of the original founders of Dandora Music, right?
FK: Yes, I founded the group in 2012. At the beginning we had 25 kids — 10 girls and 15 boys. Now we’re down to 10, unfortunately we don’t have enough finances and support to help more.
What about school?
FK: I always encourage my kids to put education before talent. We always meet on weekends and when the kids are on holiday. I like to say I nurture their talent but first I ensure their school tuition. The small money we make from Dandora Music shows all goes to school fees and lodging.
What is your newest work?
FK: Our latest works are the singles On and On and Together We Can, a song about climate change. They are in the album Looking Up, we have 11 songs now.
What comes next?
FK: Our newest song is called Jipende – it’s a Swahili word that means “love yourself” – but we don’t have a video yet. We’re touring now to promote it and hope we can produce a video soon.
What is the biggest problem you face?
FK: Lack of funding. Recording one song here costs about $250 USD, these are horrendous sums for us. I’d really love to record and produce more. We have so much talent here in Dandora but without money it’s wasted… especially girls, they drop out of school too early in order too get married very young. Music would keep them in school longer.
That would be exactly my next project, to teach them how to play instruments and give them an extra skill for their future. I also dream of opening a recording studio in the slums of Kenya where I can help kids and youth to record their music for free.
What do you need? How can we help?
I’m searching for equipment — guitars, piano/keyboards, drum sets, microphones… anything that can help the talents of Dandora!
Call for action!!
Can you help Dandora Music? Do you have contacts or business partners who could organize music equipment to stock up Dandora Music? In the meantime everybody is welcome to make a contribution.
Contact Franso Kenya at dandoramusic(a)gmail.com
The Artist Of The Month wins an AKG WMS 420 Wireless Microphone!
The WMS420 wireless microphone system provides a highly flexible as well as easy to use solution. The ultra high frequency system is set up within seconds and is equally suitable on stage as well as in locations where a single- or multi channel solution is needed.
The entire WMS420 wireless system consists of the SR420 stationary receiver, HT420 handheld transmitter and the PT420 pocket transmitter.