Wikedest works part time in the laundry department of one of the public hospitals of Nairobi. He has a wife and two kids and, although he is not from Kibera, he moved in several years ago. Back then he discovered a secret, that Kibera is a beautiful place to live, and now he is its best ambassador, talking and singing its virtues and inviting the people to come visit.
Music has accompanied Wikedest all his life. He recalls the day he and his classmates realized he could sing. It was 1999 and Shaggy´s Bombastic song was a hype. He memorized it and came to class to share it with his mates. They were astonished, “you can sing!” they said, and he believed them.
He recognizes music is a difficult industry and talent alone is not enough, marketing is essential too. Although now radios and TVs are spreading around Kenya, it is still a challenge for artist because the well-established artists try to shout down upcoming ones. However, Wikedest is not going to give up and keeps singing and walking around Kibera with a smile in his face, greeting people from in and out the slum.
Philip Oyoo, also known as Baba or Phlexible moves comfortably among the narrow streets and ditches of Kibera. It is usual to see him walking the slum up and down, always moving, active, taking part in countless meetings of social cooperatives and initiatives.
Phlexible was lucky to have someone who paid for his primary and secondary education. Once he graduated from high school he had no doubt of what he wanted to do: become a music producer. However, his sponsor, considering that profession had no future in the slum, pressured him to opt for a more traditional career as a carpenter or a teacher. But Phlexible never chooses the easy way and he firmly believes that music is passion.
For Flexible, music is a way of life. He rehearses two times a week with other artists with a small speaker and he dreams of having his own studio production equipment that will enable him to be self-sufficient.
Daddy Evans acknowledges having a great talent and he is proud to talk about it. He has never recorded a song, he has never been on the radio and he has barely participated in small concerts in Kibera. However, listening to his lyrics, style and strength, it is hardly understandable.
Not only is his style, pausing and deep, defining of him, his message also talks by itself. He wants his music to be an inspiration for younger people whom he shares concerns with. Evans invites the young to find their talent to thrive and especially to be happy. “Pay yourself by being happy” he says.
Daddy Evans emphasizes the importance of showing the positive side of the slum: its people, businesses, initiatives, struggles… However, he thinks that, if we have to include the negative, it has to be always be viewed to find a different angle. Moreover, as he concludes, the media will take over focusing in the negative.
The artists gathered in the office that usually functions as a rehearsal room. With chai and bread talking excitedly about the day they had ahead. Music sounded through a small speaker. It is always a good moment to create something new.
Hours later, the group came out the office heading to the studio. The sticky, wet, floor after a heavy raining night led them to the matatu station. The trip passed by speaking quickly, laughing and taking pictures. After coming they held hands in a circle and dedicated a pray to the effort done and to the task they had ahead.
One by one the artists entered the cabin and the producer, Dillie, guided them, correcting mistakes and made suggestions. The artists listened concentrated while smiling to themselves. After four intense hours Dillie connected the big speakers and announced what very soon will be Made in Kibera, the song. We’re happy because they felt that a small but important stage was finally completed.