Mathare centre catapults Kenya kids to stardom

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A Mathare children’s centre is catapulting Kenya kids to stardom through singing, dancing and rapping in a bid to nurture their talents with early exposure.

Dubbed Billian Music Family, the centre hopes to tap into the talent of Mathare’s young while giving them a platform to showcase their work.

“As an artist myself coming from Mathare, it is hard to understand how music works especially in the studio. I decided to form the group to expose other children to music from an early age so that they would not face the same struggle,” said Billian Okoth Ojiwa, founder of Billian Music Family.

Since its inception, BMF has grown to cater up to 25 children who all learn various art forms at the centre.

“We train children on how to sing, rap, dance and play instruments,” said Billian.

Instruments such as the piano, guitar and drums are normally taught over the December holidays as there is no distraction from holiday tuition.

As the centre has grown so has the children’s stardom. The children at BMF have been able to sing and dance on various videos and songs from both local and international artists.

“In fact just two days ago we finished shooting an upcoming song with Kenyan gospel artist Mbuvi,” said Billian.

The children have also worked with Nameless on the 2013 song and video, We Are the Nations which was written and directed by the artist. Late last year, BMF also worked on a song with US singer, Ayana. BMF also performed at the German National Day at the ambassador’s residence.

The children at BMF are encouraged to branch into the area they feel most comfortable and their skills are nurtured in that space.

“Not all the children sing, rap, dance or play the instruments. Each does what they are most comfortable with and then when it comes to making the videos they all get to appear along one another,” said Billian.

The children are trained by in-house teachers or volunteers from various organisations. One of these is the Sarakasi Dancers.

Despite the numerous achievements, BMF are not slowing down and still have more in the pipeline.

“In June, the US release of a song called Child of Nature will be out. It feature children from 12 countries and BMF were a part of it. There is also a documentary under the same title coming out,” said Billian.

As the centre grows and children progress onto the next stage of life, Billian hopes to create a platform that will inspire the next generation of artists.

“For instance we will have our first form four candidate this year and we hope after his exams he will be able to help out in bringing up the younger artists,” said Billian.

For more information contact Billian on 0727 56 71 71.

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