Kenya: Musician Albert Gacheru to Be Buried on Saturday

Veteran Benga musician Albert Gacheru will be laid to rest on Saturday at his Boiman home in Ol Joro Orok, Nyandarua County, his family announced on Thursday.

Gacheru,59, died on April 5 at the Kenyatta National Hospital where he had been hospitalised for more than two months.

While announcing the burial date, Gacheru's son, Maxwell Wachira, said the late musician left a hospital bill of Sh4.8 million which was accumulated from February 16 when was admitted to hospital.

According to the family, prior to his death, the musician was being treated for pneumonia.

Accumulated hospital bill

"Plans are underway for his send-off at his home in Boiman, Nyahururu on April 10. During his treatment the hospital bill accumulated to Sh4,806,600. We have proposed a burial budget of Sh500,000. We are requesting for your support in raising funds to accord him a proper send-off," reads part of the appeal from the family.

The family is appealing to well-wisher to help them raise Sh5 million to cater for the hospital bill and funeral expenses.

A requiem mass will be held at Muungano Primary School grounds starting 11 am, followed by his interment at his home about 8 kilometers from Nyahururu town.

Gacheru, who was known for hits such as Mariru and Mumunya, produced music for artistes such as the late Queen Jane, the late John Demathew and gospels singers such as Mary Wambui and Shari Martin.

Battle with music pirates

Born in Nyandarua, the trained accountant, who later studied law at Mt Kenya University, fought in courts for the rights of musicians and for the streamlining of the copyright act to protect both the musicians and the producers.

His long battle with music pirates saw him lodge various cases at the High Court where he represented himself.

But his music production house suffered in early 2000 when his shop and studio in Nairobi was razed down by fire resulting in the loss of all his tapes recordings, an incident that dealt his career a major blow.

Gacheru blamed the fire on the music pirates who he says were hell-bent on bringing him down.

Stolen equipment

Before that, thieves had broken into his Wamaitu Productions shops in Nairobi and stolen equipment.

Gacheru was also once a director of Music Copyright Society of Kenya and also the Kenya Music Composer Association.

Gacheru started off his music career in the early 1980s by opening a hardware shop along Duruma Road Nairobi before turning it into a music shop in mid 1980s when his famous song Mumunya hit the market.

Gacheru's death is a big blow to the local music fraternity as he was one of the few daring musicians who took on River Road-based music pirates and rogue producers at the risk of his life.

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