Musicians from the Ukambani region have always excelled in the benga style of music. They include Ken wa Maria and the late Kakai Kilonzo.
There are, however, several rumba musicians from the region. Among them is veteran singer Marie Mado.
Mado, who sings in Kikamba, Kiswahili and Lingala, is not only celebrating her 22 years in music, but she is putting the final touches on a new album.
Speaking to the Nation, she said she was also working on a return to live performances to mark her 22 years in music.
"It was mainly due to requests from my fans that I decided to record the album," she says.
Mado, (real name Habiba Muthiani), got inspired by listening to legendary Congolese musician Franco Makiadi and Congolese divas Mbilia Bel and Tshala Muana.
Her producer-cum-promoter Sir Ngoma says plans are underway to launch the album later in the year.
"At the moment we are engaged in putting finishing touches to the new album," he said.
It has not been easy for Marie as she has to face the benga dominance in the region.
She made her debut in music in 1997 with the album Ufukara Si Kilema, a rumba track in which she was partly backed by Everest Kings band led Abdul Muyonga.
On the album Ufukara si Kilema, she was backed by media personality Alice Ngina, together with whom they formed the Glamour Girls duet.
Besides Ufakara si Kilema, she released Safari ya Afrika (2005) and Mapendo (2007).
Another popular song by Marie was Enzi ya Utumwa, released in 2015. She has also released Nthenga and a song in Lingala, Na bombeli yo Bolingo.
Despite not performing live in the recent past, she has released 'Fanya Kazi' and 'Osa' -- some of which have been produced at Mbaiza Productions in Nairobi's Umoja Estate.