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Jua Cali reflects on Genge's rise to Grammy recognition after 24 years

Musicians Jua Cali, Nonini, and producer Clemmo played pivotal roles in the founding of the Genge genre in the early 2000s.

Genge singer Jua Cali

Genge sensation Paul Julius Nunda, famously known as Jua Cali, is over the moon with joy following the thrilling news that the Genge genre of Kenyan music will be recognized by the Grammy Awards in 2024.

As one of the pioneers of this music genre, alongside luminaries like Nonini and music producer Clemmo, Jua Cali expressed his elation at the long-awaited recognition, which has been almost 24 years in the making.

Reflecting on their humble beginnings, Jua Cali nostalgically recounted the days when they didn't even have the means to record their music.

"I am beyond ecstatic! I haven't even had a moment to catch my breath. This news has reminded me of the times when we didn't have microphones, keyboards, computers, or any recording tools. It takes me back to the days when we performed for free, and now look how far we've come," shared Jua Cali enthusiastically.

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Jua Cali also recounted instances when they were dismissed by other music stakeholders who believed that the genre had no place in the Kenyan music scene and would soon disappear.

The 43-year-old artist acknowledged the unwavering patience and hard work it took to achieve this milestone for Genge music. He attributed the genre's recognition to its authenticity, which they have relentlessly fought for all along.

"I've always maintained that the true Kenyan sound is Genge. Our sheng culture and the unique lingo we use, it's all embedded within Genge," he emphasized.

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When asked about the songs that catapulted the genre onto the global stage, Jua Cali pointed out the collaboration track 'Kwaheri' with Sanaa and his solo hit 'Ngeli ya Genge'. These tracks played a significant role in showcasing the essence and energy of Genge music to the world.

Jua Cali also expressed gratitude towards other industry stakeholders and artists who have played a vital role in the genre's growth. He acknowledged their relentless effort and stated that their labour is finally paying off.

The Recording Academy has expanded its categories for the upcoming 66th Annual Grammy Awards, introducing three new exciting additions: Best African Music Performance, Best Alternative Jazz Album, and Best Pop Dance Recording.

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Genge music has been included in this lineup, alongside other prominent African music genres such as Afrobeats, Amapiano, and Ndombolo.

In their official statement, the Grammy's described the newly introduced track and singles category as a celebration of unique musical expressions from all corners of the African continent.

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