©2018, La 39ème Chambre
 

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Muthoni Drummer Queen

Opening statement:


Muthoni Drummer Queen is a musical and cultural firebrand with a timeless,
thought-provoking, genre-bending, afro-diasporic sound, which, is an infectious
club and radio-friendly fusion of african drum patterns, hip-hop,
reggae/dancehall and neo-soul/blues. Her live performance seamlessly weaves
together singing, rapping and drumming, embodying at once the consciousness of Lauryn Hill and flawless choreography, costuming and delivery à la Beyoncé.
She pours forth the bold, the riveting, the immersive; she is the storm you will
unreservedly be taken by. Muthoni’s music often finds itself musing on the state of Nairobi (and Africans at large) the human condition/ the human experience and the state of women. The underlying purpose of the works is to awaken the listener to their inherent
divinity, their purpose and ignite/heal their longing for freedom. In muthoni’s
words, “Freedom is the core of my existence and indeed of any work/platform I
create
.”

Indeed Muthoni was born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya in a lower middle class home. While she knew she wanted to be a performer in the footsteps of Michael Jackson, her family strongly discouraged her from her intended musical forays.
In retrospect, she supposes this might have been because there was simply no
example/clear path for what a music career could be/produce. She believes the
concern came from her parents desire for her and her siblings to truly fulfill their potential and have a better life than theirs. So, Muthoni learned to be smart about her dreams, doing very well in school while nurturing her interests
through the school choir, and the theatre/drama/debate/public speaking clubs
without much objection from her parents. This trade-off worked well till 2004
when she decided to fully go for her music career while also pursuing her degree in International Relations and Philosophy at the United States International University (USIU-A) where she graduated Cum Laude in 2007 . It was while organising her first concert in 2004 that she realised that she was good at producing shows and this experience would prove to be pivotal for the dual career she has since forged; as a recording/performing artist on the one hand, and as a founder & creative director of two Music festivals (Blankets & Wine and Africa Nouveau)


Formation of the music direction:


Muthoni has always been viscerally aware of society and there is always a tinge
of activism colouring her work. As a child in the late 80s – early 90s, she listened in on adults as they discussed the political situation in Kenya and took note of the injustices of a totalitarian state, and the dearth of financial opportunity that came with it. This ignited a deep desire to learn more about the world and to do what she could do to fix what she might.
With regard to the kind of performances she intended to have, Muthoni says,
We didn’t really have a music system, so I watched music videos - as opposed to listening to records - and so very early on, I intended to be a performer in the way Michael Jackson and Missy Elliot were. I loved the precision, the high-drama, the costumes, the choreography. The works!” Muthoni’s presence today, both on and off stage, can be succinctly described as glorious high drama. As CDs and continental TV platforms such as “Channel O” made their way into Kenya, she gravitated towards Soul/Blues music from artists like Mary J Blige & Erykah Badu, while maintaining devotion to Missy Elliot who had completely changed what a female singer could look and sound like. But it was The Fugees who really changed the course of Muthoni’s life, and in her words “I had never heard a crew speak so sincerely about their life conditions while switching effortlessly between rap and singing in the way they did. Plus the sound! It is Lauryn Hill who taught me to find that middle ground between conscious messaging and club-ready musical presentation”.
In 2013, Muthoni started working with two Swiss beatmakers, Jean “Hook”
Geissbuhler and Greg “GR!” Escoffey who are both activists in the hip hop
movement, having notably produced for IAM (France), Stress (Switzerland) and
A-Lee (Norway).
Introduced by a mutual friend who was working in Nairobi, Muthoni, Hook and
GR found immediate chemistry with GR! (The Jedi master of the crew) bringing
the samples and sonic ideas and Hook transforming these "raw materials" into
ultra-fresh, genre defying sounds. The synergy around a common love of
traditional hiphop, african drum patterns, reggae/dancehall vibration and popmusic sensibility accelerated the creation of their first project -The Self-titled album “MDQ” - which was produced, written and recorded in 16 days. The project was released in December 2014 and features the hit singles “Nai ni Ya Who” and “This One” , the latter winning the best song in the urban category of the M4Music demotape clinic in 2014. In 2015, Hook, GR! & Muthoni went on
their first summer tour in Switzerland, performing most notably at Paleo
Festival.

In 2016, the trio started work on their next project in between shows in
Switzerland and Kenya. The result of this phase of collaboration is their second
12 track album titled “SHE”

 

Muthoni continues to be a maverick as an artist and as as a creative
entrepreneur, As an artist, she continues to blur the genre-rules and
expectations of music from Kenya. She makes radio and club-friendly music
without losing the essence of who she is , which is, a bringer of light, one who
elevates consciousness, an activist for a better human coexistence. She continues to push the boundaries of what is considered “Kenyan” and has been growing the space for present/future sounds by mainstreaming “alternative” music. As the
founder of East Africa's’ most prolific festivals, she continues to makes space for other artists from Kenya and the larger Africa, mainstreaming “alternative”
sounds and growing the space for artistic expression in Africa. Muthoni is the
embodiment of the spirit of the International African – “Think Global, Act Local.”
Her sheer existence allows others the courage to imagine their own global vision executed right here in Africa.


Discography:


2008: Mambo Bado (EP)
2009: Human Condition (LP)
2013/4: MDQ (LP)
2017/8- SHE (release March 2018)


Awards & Nominations:


MTV MAMA Best New Artist East Africa 2010
Best Song, Urban, M4Music demo tape clinic 2014

 

Features:


High Snobiety’s 10 Under The Radar Artists to Discover
Muthoni the Drummer Queen Rules Kenya’s Music Scene
Muthoni Drummer Queen Drops Spanking New Music Video of Her Latest Single - “Suzie Noma”
Muthoni Drummer Queen Plays Drums She’s Not Supposed to Play as a Woman and Raps Against Corruption
Muthoni Drummer Queen Releases ‘Million Voice’ and ‘Kenyan Message’

 

Contact Information:


Publishing / Distribution:
Andreas Ryser:
andreas@mouthwateringrecords.com


Bookings: (Switzerland):
Just Because
christophe@justbecause.ch

 

Bookings Africa:
Chris Syren
csyren@music.org.za

 

Press liaison:

Hook

hookbeatmaker@gmail.com


Artistic projects:
hookbeatmaker@gmail.com,
muthoni@mdqmusic.com,
grbeats@gmail.com