Written by on June 21, 2023

For the first time Genge, a music genre that originates from Kenya was listed by the Grammys among other notable African genres as a new category under the 2024 Grammy awards.

The genre Genge originated from the Genge legends Jua Cali , Nonini and Clemo the super producer. Paul Julius Nunda, known by the stage name Jua Cali is one of the pioneers of Genge and co-founder of Calif Records.

In an interview in the AM show of NRG radio, it’s where he explained the origin of the name Genge. He narrates that they were quite bored and sulky. He was together with Clement Rapudo Sijenyi better known as Clemo, a music producer and co-founder of Calif Records and Hubert Mbuku Nakitare, commonly known by his stage name Nonini, who was a radio presenter, businessman and also Genge pioneer. They were seated in the studio and had just started off their music career. As their sound was totally different from what was before, they had no name hence were referred to as just local artists. Jua Cali says that the name was correct but they felt it was not fit as it lacked branding and did not sound authentic.


Subconsciously they all wanted a different name as their songs were totally different from the rest. They felt that their songs weren’t just sung because of singing but their songs were full of passion and not just for the money or fame. They started guessing names and each and everyone one of them were throwing different names. He said that most of them felt out of place and awkward. That was when Clemo suggested the word ‘Genge’ and all in unison agreed and saw that it was the name for their genre of music. It was perfect for them. That is the birth of the name Genge.

Some of the notable songs are like Kwaheri by Jua Cali , Manzi wa Nairobi by Nonini and Landlord by Mejja. These efforts by these pioneers set standards and hopes for young talented upcoming artists. They have legends to look up to and fathers to seek advice from.
Written by Owen Kamami

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