RFI Discoveries Award 2011

Winyo (Kenya)

11/08/2011 -

With his delicate voice, Winyo, a talented Kenyan artist, offers music rooted in his country’s traditions and inspired by new international music, as well as jazz and folk. For the second consecutive year, Winyo has been one of 10 shortlisted for the RFI Discoveries Award..

Winyo was born Shiphton Onyango. His stage name is a word in the Dholuo language spoken by the Luo people from Kenya (and Tanzania, from the Victoria Lake region). Winyo means “bird” and refers to his light, ethereal voice like the song of a bird.

As well as being a professional photographer and TV producer, the composer/ songwriter/ musician plays acoustic guitar while singing, which suits the music he has created perfectly.


In 2006 Winyo began with the trio Rateng (which means "black" in Dholuo), when he first tried his hand at composing. He also was the lead vocal and played the guitar. With him were Moses on percussion and Isaac Gem on bass. Together they gave a number of stage concerts in Uzbekistan, Swaziland, and of course, Kenya.

In July 2009 the trio released Thumology, an album mixing traditional rhythms with folk tunes.

Since then, Winyo has concentrated on his solo career in order to pursue his artistic dreams in his own way.

In 2011 the young Kenyan released an album called Benga Blues, produced by Tabu Osusa at Ketebul Music Studios in Nairobi. Sung in Dholuo, Swahili and English, the songs raise social questions. There are love songs too, which are enriched by his delicate voice.

Between the 3rd and the 12th of June 2011, he took part in a European tour organised by Équation musique, a grant program for producers from the South led by the OIF (Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie) and the Institut français.

Translation: Caroline Preller

Winyo on Internet

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