17 May 2017

Kenya: Stellah - Love Hit Song of All Time

One of the most popular Kenyan songs of all time, "Stellah", remains a favourite of many music lovers, thanks not only to its alluring lyrics, but also its danceable beat.

And interestingly, it's just this one song that catapulted composer Freshley Mwamburi to national fame and recognition across East Africa.

JAPANESE

Of course, it was also helped by the fact that it was sung in the lingua franca of East Africa, Kiswahili.

The evergreen hit remains one of the most favourite Afro-reggae-rumba ballads about love and rejection.

The mellow-voiced Freshley is on record as having confirmed that the song was a real-life lament about losing his fiancée Stellah, whom he had sponsored to study in Japan only for her to return with a Japanese child and accompanied by her "futi-nne Mjapani" husband.

In the song, Freshley, a long-time ally of band leader Abdul Muyonga and the Everest Kings band, recalls how Stellah returned to Kenya on May 17 in a style that shocked him.

"I was shocked that after all I had done for Stellah, selling most of my property to support her, was in vain," he says.

The catchy lyrics of the song have been blended by reggae beats.

DEVASTATED

In the song Freshley also depicts how he was devastated wishing he could vent his frustrations by singing in various languages, ranging from his Taita mother tongue and Luo to Hindi and Kiswahili.

Speaking to the Nation on Monday, Muyonga said the song has been more of an anthem during Everest Kings live shows.

Many other bands often do cover versions of "Stellah" during live performances.

The Everest Kings band is currently based in Machakos, featuring Freshley and Muyonga.

Notably, Stellah is from Kangundo, also in Machakos County.

Freshley, who is from Taita Taveta County, has admitted that he has never forgotten how he sacrificed himself to support Stellah in her further studies.

REMIX

To many music lovers, the song has gained popularity with people of all ages due to its human interest appeal.

It is widely believed that Freshley's experience is what many others have also gone through.

Besides recording with the Everest Kings, Freshley also had stints with the legendary Les Wanyika band that was led by Tanzanian star John Ngereza, among others

A sample part of the lyrics of "Stellah" in Swahili.

"Nilivyo mpenda Stellah jamani kajitolea kwa roho moja,

Nikauza shamba langu, sababu yake yeye,

Nikauza gari langu, sababu yake yeye nikauza ng'ombe na mbuzi sababu yake yeye,

Ili apate nauli yake na pesa nyngine za matumizi kule Japani.

... Ilikua tarehe kumi na saba mwezi wa tano,

Ilikua tarehe kumi na saba mwezi wa tano,

Ndiyo lokua tarehe kamili ya Stellah kurudi Kenya,

Nilikwenda uwanja wa ndege kwenda kumlaki Stellah,

Nilikua na uncle Kilinda uwanja wa ndege".

Freshley did a remix version of "Stellah" due to its popularity.

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