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Being a Conductor, Mukurino Narrated How a Police officer Removed His Turban For Not Giving Bribe

LLife's difficult beginnings don't always portend a sad finale. That rings true for Martin was Janet, a 40-year-old Kikuyu gospel musician whose climb to the top has been fraught with obstacles, self-doubt, mockery, and faith in the face of hopelessness. Martin has been influenced by everything that has happened to entirely depend on and trust in God, no matter what difficulties he has in life.

The life of this turbaned guy (mkorino), who is known for songs like Nituririkanitwo and Nitumwinyihire with Obedi, began in Kihnu Mwiri, Muranga County. He attended PK primary and secondary schools up until Form 3 when he was forced to leave due to personal issues. He left Muranga for Kiambu, unsure of what to do with his life, and was accommodated by a certain woman.

Martin, then in his teen years, went nearly 4 years without a job in Kiambu before finding work in a hotel in the heart of Nairobi in 2003, where he made Sh100 per day. His small build made the hotel job difficult, and one day the intense heat in the kitchen made him throw up.

Martin pleaded with the hotel owner to grant him one more month after he punished him. He started working as a waiter, but the inconvenience of waiting got to him after less than three months. He joined a local adoring church Africa Mission Holy Ghost headed by Bishop Ezra Njoroge where he played drums with vigor.

Martin, who was unemployed and hanging around Kiambu town, was approached by a man driving a matatu and given a position as a conductor for Kiambu town route 100, a job he did till 2008.

He wanted to sing as a conductor and wrote songs after work but lacked the funds for recording. Martin remembered that music in his heart. Sammy Nene and Hezeh Ndungu, two fellow akorino gospel performers, affected him.

He faced many difficulties in his role as a conductor while donning the white akorino turban. He recalls an incident where his turban unintentionally fell off while he was hanging on a Matatu door, prompting a passenger to jokingly inquire as to what had fallen off his head. He was a born-again Christian who was also wearing a turban.

The traffic police despised him because he never accepted bribes because of his faith. Martin refused to accept a bribe, and one policeman became so enraged that he removed his turban and hurled it to the ground. It was hurtful and being a born-again conductor he encountered many problems.

Martin with funding from a certain woman recorded his 7-track debut album ‘Ngai niwenjire Githima’ which was played intermittently on the radio. Still to get the master CD from the recording studio took him 3 months to raise sh15, 000.

In the song (Ngai Niwe Niwanduire Mwariria) from album 4, Martin admits that it has been challenging to achieve the success he has today. He has also questioned both his musical talent and God's plan for his life. He recalls selling barely two CDs at notable events and being detained by the city council while promoting his music on a tiny radio.

False promises to purchase his songs were also made by prospective customers. He was broken at one point when he went to Nanyuki with Mutara. Martin brought 300 CDs to the event and sold 5 of them on day 3 for only Sh500. While his CDs were selling, Mutara, who was broke and in worse shape than when he arrived, helped him out by paying for his lodging and meals.

Disappointed, Martin stood on stage on a penultimate day and said, "I want to know if it's my music you dislike or don't have money." He then decided to sell them for half the price of Sh50 to get by. While returning to Kiambu from Nanyuki, he felt let down but recognized that perhaps GOD's timing was not right. Martin said, "If GOD has to lift you, you will be tried in the fire so that you are full of revelation."

Martin claimed that getting his music recognized was difficult, in addition to not having enough money for recording. Knowing there are hundreds of thousands of Kikuyu artists, he understood that GOD would need to step in for his music to be heard by the public. "At festivals, people tend to disregard unfamiliar musicians," Martin tells.

It was difficult to get airplay on Kikuyu Radio stations, thus he cherishes the moment in 2008 when Kameme FM played his song "Niwe entire Githima" for the first time. Martin added, "I felt reborn, renewed, and praised God for it. Martin claimed that while one can spend a lot of money on recording, GOD's favor and prayers are what matter. You can write a song that receives a lot of airplay, but if GOD doesn't open people's hearts to your music, it won't be accepted or purchased, he stated.

His advice for aspiring gospel musicians is to pursue it only if one is certain that it is GOD's calling so that one can continue even if an album fails. Otherwise, a musician who is only interested in gospel music for the money may be disappointed if his debut record fails. He also counsels against entering the music industry due to a wave.

Martin has personally seen individuals sell a cow to record after seeing a neighbor record and succeed. He sees such people sell their CDs to family or close friends, fall bankrupt, and return to their villages disillusioned. Although piracy has hurt him, he thinks that about 100,000 of his albums, including VCDs, have been sold.

He currently works at Kameme TV as a presenter. Martin is the CEO of Marjan paints, an artist, influencer, and brand ambassador.

He is married to Bitty Waimaitha after he parted ways with his ex-wife Ruth wa mum. Martin is a father of four children.

Content created and supplied by: CarolKibet (via Opera News )

Janet Kihnu Mwiri Kikuyu Mukurino Nituririkanitwo


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