_mwl. Gregg Tendwa is a multimedia artist, freethinker, and afrofuturist questioning the future of the African identities in the face of the next industrial revolution. He explores deeply complex and uncomfortable conversations of social reality through music, writing, photography, fashion, food, stories and games.
He is a keen music collector, selector and director with an amazing attention to taste. His direction of producing, remixing and playing music can be described as Afro – eclectic with an element of experimentation drawn from the diversity of African guitars and percussion.
His DJ sets are full of afrogoodness, – dropping rare grooves – from Afrohouse to Afrofunk to Afropop, Afrojazz, Afrosoul, Afrobeat, Highlife, experimental Electronica and everything in between. His style of “digging” has sometimes been described as afrocosmic archeology – unearthing the forgotten, the nostalgic and the futuristic.
_mwl GT. Is hugely influential to the Afro + Electro + House movement across East Africa. As the architect of Santuri Safari, he engineered a project that is famed for disrupting the underground electronic dance music culture of East Africa. He is the pioneer of Bengatronics, a sound that blends sweet as sugarcane rhythms of the traditional Benga style of music with the cutting edge of electronic dance music. Benga Music evolved between the late 1940s and late 1960s, in Kenya’s capital city of Nairobi and is currently interpreted as Kanindo/Sungura music in Zimbabwe.
Since 2014, he has performed widely across the East and West of Africa and Europe. He is familiar face in Arusha, Jinja, Kampala, Dar e Salaam, Nairobi and Amsterdam. He has shared stage with Umoja, a dutch Dj duo that is heavinly influenced by African sounds, the German DJ Duo schlachthofbronx and the Jimmy Hendrix of Kora, Sekou Kouyate from Guinea, and Berlin based DJ Zhao also known and the ambassador of rhythm. He has spoken at major music conferences including Buzz Meets Biz – (Accra, 2017) and Music in Africa ACCESS conference (Nairobi, 2018).
Beyond curating amazing DJ set, _mwl GT. finds a calling in bringing to the world a finely crafted Benga Music experience. He grew up listening to Katitu Boys Band, Kimagu and Newtown Karish of Kangara Boys Band. Since childhood, he picked an interest in the soulful harmony of Benga Rhythms and Patterns, and is currently setting up a record label to work with various artists to discover, rework, and publish a retrofuturist sound direction of Benga Music.
About the Legacy Tour 2019
Since 2014, _mwl Gregg Tendwa (_mwl GT.) has made a considerable investment in researching and developing Bengatronics, a retrofuturist sound direction of Benga Music. Mwalimu is known for initiating and overseeing disruptive projects such as the Benga Reprise Project in collaboration with the Embassy of the Kingdom of The Netherlands here in Kenya, Tuongee Wakenya project in partnership with Hivos and enabling the publishing books such as Shades of Benga in partnership with Ketebul Music and Benga Kaleidoscope in partnership with the Flee Project.
Between 2018/19, _mwl. Gregg Tendwa worked on a full-length studio album together with Umoja DJs from Amsterdam and various artists from across the Benga Belt of Kenya. This album brings forth extremely nuanced cross generational and inter-tribal conversation from Kisumu to Kilifi, featuring original compositions by Boaz Otieno, Missing Rotich, Msupa S, John ‘Kakee’ Kithikii, Musyoki Mutua and Abaki Simba Troupe. The album is grounded by the prowess of Udulele John and Michel Ongaro on the guitars, and Oduor Bernard “Kidum” on the drums.
“I want to bring to life a new sound direction of Benga music, I want to see young Kenyans embrace Benga music as their authentic culture, and not to be ashamed of it. I want to see a massive Benga movement grow through our Benga Fest series. I want to elevate Benga to become a cultural export from Kenya. I want to travel internationally and play Benga at major festivals across the world, and the world to recognize Benga music as the official Kenyan Dance Music!”_ Mwl Gregg Tendwa (June, 2019).
Starting July 2019, Mwalimu is going on Legacy Tour 2019, showcasing the body of work produced under both the Santuri Safari & Bengatronics projects over the past 5 years at major festivals and venues across East Africa.
Tour Dates 2019
- July 26 Benga Belt Vol 1 Album Launch – Alliance Francaise Nairobi
- July 27 MUZE Club Westlands Nairobi, Kenya
- Aug 04 Bayimba Festival Lunkuluku, Kampala Uganda
- Aug 23 Ongala Music Fest – Banamoyo, Tanzania
- Aug 31 Benga Fest Machakos , Kenya
- Sep 06 Nyege Nyege Fest – Jinja, Kampala
- Oct 05 Kuona 1st Sato – Nairobi, Kenya
- Oct 19 Kigali, Rwanda – confirmed
- Nov 23 Africa Cross Roads, Mombasa Kenya
- Dec 14 Benga Fest Kisumu
- Dec 19 Rusinga Festival Kisumu, Kenya
- Dec 27 Mdundiko at Backpackers Kilifi, Kenya
- Dec 31 Kilifi New Year, Kenya.