Born in Nairobi, the East African melting pot of cultures, Iddi was introduced to musicat a tender age by her mother who sang around her even as she went about her daily chores. She comes from a musical family; her brother plays the piano and the guitar, her sisters sang in the church choir. As she grew up, she had the privilege of having a lot of conscious music played around her having been exposed to so much of gospel music both in church and at home. She also sang in the covenant youth church choir.
It’s however in high school that the music bug in her was cultivated. This was due to the arts based clubs, like drama and music. This saw her bag quite a number of trophies and accolades both as an individual and for the school at the music and drama festivals both at provincial and national level.
After school, she joined professional art/music; it was at this point that she got to meet one of Kenyan greatest and well renowned music producer and arranger, Tabu Osusa who took her under his wings and it was through his tutelage that she further sharpened her musical intellect. Under the group Nairobi City Ensemble as the lead and only female lead vocalist they produced internationally acclaimed albums, Kaboum Boum, Kalapapla which was rated number 14 on the United kingdom Stern records, marked with a red bullet due to its popularity, Mama Africa (which was a collaboration between Hannes Klauss jazz quartet from Germany) after which there followed the release of her debut album Thim Lich which landed her at the Kisima Awards as a finalist on the afro- fusion category and was also the beginning of her solo career.
Internationally travelled on tour, in July 2005 to 2007, she landed the privilege to represent her country in Norway performing with the Best opera singer and producer Rhoda O. Wilhemsen on a three year performing contract courtesy of the Norwegian institute Of Concerts on The Msafiri project under the auspices of the Norwegian government that saw her go on a long performing tour of Norge.In October 2007 She was in Oslo, Norway, for the World Music Festival, and performed at the United Nations day in Bergen(Norway)and at the Bergen International festival wowing audiences with her chants and passionate, her electrifying performances and story telling session’s that left people asking for more .Among other notable occasions,she has also performed in Stockholm, Sweden in (2007), (2004 November) Djibouti Fest Horn, Ethiopia, Tanzania, and Uganda among others.
Locally iddi has performed in numerous concerts in Kenya notably at the World social forum held in Nairobi in 2007 at the prestigious Alliance francaise, Italian cultural center, The Goethe institute and has been actively involved projects promoting Kenyan women in business and investment forum in collaboration with United Nations development programme (UNDP) ,NGO,and Corporate and private events. She is currently working on her Fifth album due for release by mid of this year
Her music style has been termed as “AFRO- FUSION” and is on the fast-lane of growth in popularity around the country and abroad. The music is a fusion of traditional music interspersed with modern beats, styles and arrangements. The traditional instruments Orutu,Djembe,Nyatiti always feature in her songs as heard on "Thim Lich"(the forest is an unpredictable place). It can be described in simple terms as “Truly Kenyan Sound.”
A socially conscious artiste whose music is based on her people's way of life hence the tag, My Heritage, My Pride. A Happy co- existence of, love, peace, freedom, gender issues, the girl child, development of the African woman and a deeper understanding and appreciation of her culture and heritage are some of the themes her music is based on.
“If music be the fine wine of life, I propose a never ending flow of the same to humanity”,she says.
With the globalization and the world becoming smaller, Iddi has come up with a unique style of using her traditional language and rhythms to contribute to the fast rising world culture. Globalization is not all about economic standardization but a lot more. This includes a more pro- active contribution to the diversity with an objective of appreciating its beats and the very best of one another’s culture.
This dream is self evident in her music, as the vision of “one world, one culture” is clear with the fusion of contemporary African music instruments like the Djembe, Bumbumbu, Flute, Nyatiti, Marimba with Violin, Saxophone, keyboards, clarinet, guitars, without loosing the Kenyan identity.
Iddi Achieng is influenced by great musicians such as .Angelique kidjo, Dobet Gnahore, Haddy Njie, Ogoya Nengo, Baba maal among others.“If art is madness, then I come highly qualified,she adds.I will pursue art to its deepest canyons".
Iddi’s strongest aspect, as far as her music is concerned, has been the live performances. It is here that she blends in her other artistic muscle i.e. (acting, interactive participatory educative performances, facilitation, storytelling and poetic skills) on board by the way she interacts and connects with the different audiences she comes across, creating an atmosphere that makes each of her shows unique. This has also been boosted by the acting and social work side that heavily influences the songs she writes and performs. The live recording concept captures the spirit of the music. Iddi works with different musicians both at the recordings and performances, not only because of their instrumentation skills but also their uniqueness in the game. In the creation of unique music, Iddi cleverly does her best in fusing languages. From her own mother- tongue, Luo to Kiswahili, Luganda, Dinka, Arabic, Swahili and English.IDDI is raring to go!