Lady Maureen: The high priestess of Ohangla to launch ‘Raila Roho Manyi album’

Lady Maureen on stage
  • Lady Maureen attributes her success to benga star Princess Jully 
  • Lady Maureen is set to launch her new album on the 10th of February
  • The event is expected to include a number of other ohngla hitmakees including Musa Jakadala, Tony Nyadundo, Prezda Bandasson, Abenny Jchiga and benga sensation Princess Jully

The sky appears to be the limit for the ‘queen of Ohangla music’, Maureen Achieng Otiu, more popularly known as Lady Maureen and her band, Nyar N’gato Traditional Dancers. Lady Maureen is set to launch her fifth, six-track album dubbed Raila Roho Manyi at Egesa East Villa in Nairobi’s Umoja One estate on February 10.

Recorded and produced at Rivive Media Studio by producer Jesse Bukindu, the songs have so far been well-received by her fans.

The much-anticipated event is expected to attract fans from all walks of life, including Members of Parliament and other top leaders.

Musicians expected to perform during the event include Ohanglas’ latest sensation Musa Jakadala, Tony Nyadundo, Abenny Jachiga, Prezda Bandasson, and queen of Benga, Princess Jully.

“Being my last album launch, it will feature songs from all my albums as a way of showing my gratitude to my fans before I finally decide to quit music in 2022 for an alternative career,” she said.

Since stamping her authority on the music scene in 2006, Lady Maureen was the first Kenyan musician to do a song in praise of US President Barack Obama and has carved a niche among the established Ohangla musicians in the country.

Unlike other musicians who are known to focus on love as their main theme, most of her tracks are known to glorify politicians whom she says have been a great support to her life and career.

Lady Maureen, whose song in praise of the Gor Mahia football team hit the nation like wildfire, revealed that her relationship with the team has since turned sour owing to failure by the team managers to pay her dues.

“They never paid me any money for the song and every time I call the person in charge, he either dilly-dallies or chooses not to pick my calls despite their continued use of my song during their events for their own benefit - something I plan to stop at all costs,” she claimed.

Numerous hurdles

The musician, who has come a long way, recounts overcoming numerous hurdles to find a footing in her chosen genre.

“Although I knew I wanted to be a singer, it took me a bit longer to identify the style of music to pursue,” she noted, adding that her breakthrough came knocking somewhat unexpectedly.

“Princess Jully had noticed that I rarely missed her shows whenever she performed in Kisumu. One day, I gathered some courage and approached her for advice on how to nurture my interest,” she said.

Within months, the benga star taken Maureen under her wings and was giving her slots to curtain-raise during her concerts.

However, it was not until early 2006 that her musical experiment took a turn for the better, when she made a casual visit to the Kisumu Social Hall and bumped into a group of men performing traditional Luo songs.

“As I listened to them, I realised the style was much more engaging and I instantly knew this was the music I wanted to focus on,” she recalled.

Maureen approached the group and asked to join them. That is how she became a member of Nyamolo Traditional Dancers. Barely four months later, her restless spirit saw her move on to establish her own outfit

— Nyar Ng’ato Traditional Dancers Troupe.

“It dawned on me that I could actually build on my strengths and establish my own group, hence the name ‘Nyarng’ato’ (Dholuo for ‘someone’s daughter’),” she remarked.

Her debut CD titled Wang’ni Wabiro (This Time We Are Coming), released in 2006, thrust the singer into the limelight. It features among other tracks Obama Wuod Alego (Obama son of Alego) in praise of then US Senator Obama.

Her second album, Ji Gombo Neni (Many Would like to See You), was inspired by then Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s presidential bid in 2007.

The latter CD reportedly sold about 500,000 copies within months of its release.