Onyi Papa Jey has managed to make a significant impact on the music scene remarkably!
Among the Luo of Western Kenya, nothing is as infectious as ceremonial dance. During weddings and funerals, in happiness and in sorrow, the community unities in folklorising the birth, passing or success of their own. But since the return of the century,luo dance and music has acquired a new momentum and spiraled beyond the luo at home and home and in the Diaspora; like a bushfire, it is sweeping across Kenya and churning out new super star to the performing arena.
One of the most notable newcomers is Onyi Papa Jey(real names Bernard Onyango Angi’nya)who hit the limelight with his 2007 praise song the Raila Odinga led-Orange Democratic Movement. Since then, he has become on the leading exponent of Ohangla-music played using a set of traditional accompanied by Nyatiti and Kinada.
Born in 1982 in Kiembe village in Suba District,Onyi had no facilities to nurture his talent. He taught himself how to play the Orutu (traditional Dholuo stringed,guiter-like instrument)and overcame all obstacles of a rural upbringing to become an entertainer. It was Lamula primary school that he seriously began honing his music skills as he participated in the drama and music festivals.
He quickly earned the respect of his teachers and peers who invited him to perform in various occasions. He carried the some flame to Toga secondary school but unfortunately dropped of school after only completing the first year for lack of fees.
The fifth born in the family of 12 children.Onyi took to developing his talent instead. In 1995 he joined Tony Nyadundo’s “The Youngest Band” where he learnt to play the keyboard. That become his launching pad as the “band” moved to Nairobi in search of bigger audiences, eventually setting up base at The Black Africa Club in Shauri Moyo from where they toured other parts of the country to perform.
In the late nineties,Onyi left Nyadundo’s band after meeting Wilber Onditi who offered to provide him with instruments. Together they formed”Langasta Stars” based in Eldoret Town. But the union was short lived and in 2002,Onyi joined Jack Nyadundo the elder brother of Tony Nyadundo to perform the Kisumu ASK show. Soon after that,Onyi realized that he had matured as a composer and a vocalist in his own right and needed to start on a solo career to take his career to the next level.
He formed his Super Koleko band in 2006 before leaving for Tanzania where he was based for a year. He announced his return sensationally in 2007 with the release of this first album,ODM,followed by Mapatano,a tribute to the post election settlement that established the coalition government in Kenya in 2008.
This album comprises his most popular compositions, some remixed, as well as the new release,Migingo,in which he sings about territorial dispute between Kenya and Uganda over the tiny island by the same name.