Benga maestro Dan Aceda is set to release his fourth album this year.
His debut album titled Suluwe was released in November of 2005. It featured the hit single Sanasana, which was twice nominated for the Kisima Awards. It also features collaborations with Wyre, Eric Wainaina and Kanjii Mbugua.
His break-out album, Benganology was released in July of 2010. It features the hit singles Saida and a duet with Sanaipei Tande called Not the One. The album also garnered two Kisima Awards.
His third album, Made in Kenya is his most recent, released in June 2013. It features the song Arise, which was commissioned by the Africa Alliance of the YMCA to celebrate the 50-year anniversary of the African Union.
"Benga is the music of East Africa, nice guitars sweet melodies, it is a music that everyone listens to. The spirit of Benga is in storytelling, getting a song, finding a melody and giving people a narrative within a songs," said Dan Aceda while appearing on the Lit 360 show on Thursday.
His definition of benga is music that tells a story from beginning to end. A good example, he says, is singers back in the day like Freshly Mwamburi, who is famously known for his mega hit song Stella Wangu.
"He starts the song on how he used to love a girl, who later went to Japan for further studies, but their long distance relationship did not survive and she ended up coming back home carrying a child of another man," remarked Dan.
He adds: "This is the same stuff that I have been doing but now the sound of the music has changed because now its club and heavy drums while back in the day the first guy to go on stage would be the rhythmic guitar, then the base guitar and finally the drummer joins in."
The one misconception about benga, he says, is that it is music for old people but that is not the case. What happens is music evolves from one generation to the next.
Aceda, however, first started his career in the entertainment industry as an actor. And, although he has been singing and acting at the same time, he decided to take a break from acting last year to give his full concentration to his music.
His words of wisdom to other artistes is not to be afraid to express themselves.
"What I would tell upcoming artistes is to always be themselves, express themselves and tell the world your story. Because the world has so many other stories and if you do not tell yours, nobody ever will," says Dan Aceda.