Muthoni Ndonga (self-styled as Muthoni “The Drummer Queen”) mashes vocal acrobatics with frenetic pounding to animate spirited dance music. The Kenyan singer songwriter tears through the subwoofers of Nairobi’s underground dance clubs, deploying contemporary rhythms of dubstep, house, and neo soul as well as older African styles like afrobeat and taarab (east African orchestral music). Muthoni’s outspoken, floetry-inspired delivery is a tumbling mix of English, Kikuyu, and Kiswahi. Screaming outfits and tight-cut music videos add to her image as a flippant queen of Kenyan night life. Painting Nairobi’s pulsating nights in incandescent shades, she both revels in the qualities of carefree youth and offers biting lyrical critiques of the culture to which she belongs. Her command of the party scene led to her co-founding TYTE Entertainment, Inc., an in-demand musician booking agency. Muthoni also participates in the monthly Blankets & Wine music series, a family-friendly series that strives to create an all-ages space for innovative music to thrive in Nairobi.
She received a OneBeat Accelerator for her project ‘Ujuaji’, a video podcast focusing on learning and unlearning concepts affecting youth today, specifically around capitalism, labor, and economic power. Muthoni Ndonga hosted the podcast and was joined by Mookh Africa co-founder Eric Thimba and Porgie, also a partner of Mookh Africa, which is a leading company in the event space in East Africa. “We are here because we are deeply motivated to know, to share, to acquire knowledge, and more importantly to do better, now that we know there’s better”, Muthoni introduces in the podcast. The conversations include their personal perspectives as young leaders and entrepreneurs in the country.
The grant funded the creation of 4 episodes freely available on Youtube, inviting listeners to engage with the conversations in shaping what labor systems in Kenya can look like in the future. Listeners have engaged in the form of comments, appreciating the conversation as well as challenging the concepts brought up and attempting to imagine, alongside the hosts, alternative ways to shape a more equitable economic future. The podcast is produced by Carol Kioko, with Henry Wamai as the videographer and a music track contribution from Leon Omondi.