Joseph Kamaru (1939 – 3 October 2018)
He was one of the most influential musician and artist in Kenya today with a large music output of over 1,000 songs. His engagement with the music world goes back more than fifty seventy (57) years and therefore he brings with him a great wealth of information, not only just in music but in topical issues, social commentary, political satire and other messages, sharing of deep cultural (Gikuyu) traditions, music business undertakings and a host of other matters.
Involvement in Music
He started work in recording industry in 1965. As one will see from the sample of his discography Kamaru has addressed many issues including but not limited to the following;
- Songs for struggle of independence such as “Mbaara Ndiri Mwago” (War has no glory) “Twathiaga Tukenete” (We used to travel joyfully) “Uhoro uria Maiguire” (The information that they heard), “Mbaara ya Ndaka-ini” (The war at Ndaka-ini)
- Love Songs such as; “Marua ma Gathoni” (Gathoni’s letter), “Wendo wa Maitika” (After season Love).
- Prophetic Songs: “Kenya ya Ngai” (Kenya, God’s country), “J.M. Kariuki” (Issues addressing the abduction and murder of J.M. Kariuki, a renowned Kenyan politician). With regard to the murder of J.M. Kariuki (the late famous political leader, who was murdered in 1970’s) Kamaru composed several songs in response to public outcry and emotion that swept the country.
- Adults only songs: These are “Gikuyu Muthunguci” Sometimes the songs were sung on the night before circumcision took place. On such night it was allowed to use vulgar language, especially with reference to sex organs and matters, without social repercussions. However, it was only allowed on this (circumcision night) and not any other. Among such songs were the following; “Ndari Ikumi na inya” (Fourteen girl friends), “Tiga Kuhenia Igoti” (Don’t lie to the court, you lied that you were taking me for employment, but you wanted to have sex with me), “Uthoni wa Mbathini” (Love affair in the bus), “Ndari ya Mwalimu” (Teacher’s girl friend, speaking of adult promiscuity).
- Social and Political Commentary” such as Mundu Atige Nyina” (One should leave their mother, commentary on trouble faced by a young man living in a hostile family environment), Safari ya Japan. He says that the former President asked him to accompany him to Japan during a State tour for raising business awareness in Kenya. Kamaru on his part promised to write a song after the trip and so he did as he promised. The result was a song that became famous, and was used to calm citizens ears during the 1982 coup attempt.
- Sacred songs: About 12 CD’s From CAMP S series. The songs in these CD’s define his newly found interest in Christian music, a departure from his former mainly secular repertoire.
- Kamarũ Celina Band
- City Sounds Band
- Kamaru Super Stars
- Njũngwas Stars
- Kamaru Music Stores (KMS)
- Kamaru City Sounds (KCS)
- Teenage Music Shop (TMS)
- Kamaru Super Sounds (KSS)
- Best Artist at Nairobi pop festival (KICC Live performance) (1977- 1978)
- Head of State Commendation by President Daniel T Moi (1984)
- Singer of the year 2nd Edition -Most consistent Artist (Njũngwa stars) (1992)
- Best song composition (Ndarĩ ya mwarĩmũ) (1992)
- Most favorites traditional cultural singer (adults only and kikuyu folk songs)
- Music Composers Association-Singer of the year & Favorite song Award (1994)
- African Culture and Heritage (2009)
- Winner Music Maestro of the year
- MCSK Awards and Gala Night-Music Legend (2012)
- Honorary Doctor of Humanity Degree by United Graduate College and Seminary International (2012)
- Kenyatta University Culture Week Talk Show-Panel Participation (2014)
Kenya, India, Japan, UK and USA
Born Again (1993) & Church
Christ Campaigners Ministry (CCM)
Collective Management Organisation (CMO)
National Music Copyright Society (NAMCOS ,Kenya).