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Popular 'Firirinda’ hitmaker Dick Munyonyi dies

Among the highlights of his career were the 'Firirinda' hit song and performing at retired President Uhuru Kenyatta’s wedding

'Firinda’ hitmaker Dick Munyonyi

Dick Munyonyi, the celebrated Kikuyu Benga musician behind the ‘Firirinda’ hit song is dead.

The talented singer breathed his last at Gatundu Level 5 Hospital in Kiambu County where he had been admitted, battling health complications.

Munyonyi’s body was moved to the morgue within the same facility with burial arrangements underway to give the veteran singer a befitting sendoff.

His popularity soared in old age, several years after releasing the song which went viral on social media, enhancing his celebrity status among a generation that had perhaps not listened to the song when it was first released.

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'Firinda' gaining popularity and endorsement

At the time of its release, ‘Firirinda’ was not a national hit song.

Several decades later, journalist Jeff Kuria shared the song on social media and with the then Kenya Film Classification Board, (KFCB) Chief Executive Officer Ezekiel Mutua endorsing it and from then on, it simple blew off, taking the youthful generation across Mount Kenya region by storm.

In a tweet, Mutua explained 'Firirinda' is a traditional song that depicts the warmth and joy of welcoming visitors, hence being endorsed by KFCB for consumption by people of all ages.

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“FIRIRINDA (Free rinda) is the kind of content we want. It's a nice traditional song based in Kenya's culture. The song is approved by KFCB for consumption by people of all ages. It depicts the warmth and joy of welcoming visitors (the African way)!” reads Mutua tweet.

Performing at Uhuru's wedding

Among the highlights of his career was performing at retired President Uhuru Kenyatta’s wedding in 1989 as the youthful Uhuru walked down the aisle with former First Lady, Margaret Kenyatta.

At the peak of his career, the singer produced several hit songs that were well received by fans at the time, including 'kuua mwana' which loosely translates to carry the child.

He was diagnosed with tuberculosis (TB) in 1986 shortly after releasing ‘Firirinda’.

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He gradually took a back seat, abandoning live performances as he focused on his health being on and off drugs and living to old age before succumbing to health complications.

Munyonyi would eventually hang his boots in the arena of music, passing on the mantle to his son who is also a musician.

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Former Kenya Film Classification Board, (KFCB) Chief Executive Officer Ezekiel Mutua are among those who rallied behind the legendary singer.

With his death, the curtain falls on yet another member of a talented generation of music composers who have been praised for their raw talent and ability to entertain using clean music devoid of explicit scenes.

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