• Kenyan artists have been getting tremendous reception in Australia, drawing large crowds and selling out shows across multiple cities.
• DJ Joe Mfalme shares his experiences and insights into why Kenyan artists are finding a tremendous reception in Australia.
Kenyan artists have been getting tremendous reception in Australia, drawing large crowds and selling out shows across multiple cities.
Among the stars who have successfully captivated the Australian audience are DJ Joe Mfalme, Mejja and comedian Njugush.
The Kenyan Gengetone sensation Trio Mio is also gearing up for a tour in Australia.
This year, DJ Joe Mfalme decided to make a grand return, embarking on an impressive 6-city tour that left fans in awe.
I had the privilege of sitting down with DJ Joe Mfalme to uncover the reasons behind his decision to expand the tour, what set this tour apart from the rest, and the flourishing demand for Kenyan shows in Australia.
The Past and Present Success in Australia
For DJ Joe Mfalme, first visited the country in 2017, performing in four cities - Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, and Brisbane.
This time, in 2023, he expanded his tour to six cities, including Hobart. Despite its remote location, Hobart surprised him with a vibrant Kenyan community eager to attend his show.
''This time i did 6 cities so nikaongeza brisbane, it was my first time in Brisbane and in Hobart, its like the end of the world huko Antarctica, so huko ndio nilishtuka kabisa to find that kuna kenyans huko.''
According to DJ Joe Mfalme, the primary reason behind the booming demand for Kenyan shows in Australia is the substantial Kenyan population living there.
''Kuna a very old population ya wazungu and they are looking for very young Africans who can now go work and study, and a lot of Kenyans are doing that, Kalenjins are many unajua hao huitana.''
He asserts that Kenyans in Australia have found new opportunities for education and work, leading to a surge in their numbers. As a result, they are willing to pay for entertainment, creating a lucrative market for Kenyan artists
The Kenyan Diaspora in Australia
The Kenyan diaspora in Australia is diverse, encompassing people from various ethnic backgrounds, but the Kalenjin community stands out as a significant force within this expatriate population.
''For me hakuna country nimeenda yani kila mahali unturn t ni akina Chepsos akina Kosgei its crazy hata kwa Embassy nikienda walikuwa wamejaa.''
Kenyans abroad often seek ways to stay connected with their homeland, and one of the most powerful conduits for this connection is through music, comedy, and entertainment.
''I've been around the world but the only reason Australia ina stand out nijuu i went as an individual, it was my tour, it was not tied down to another gig.''
Nostalgia and Cultural Ties
For the Kenyan community in Australia, the thirst for nostalgia and the desire to preserve cultural ties with their homeland are strong.
Many Kenyan expatriates use online platforms like YouTube, Nairobi Gossip, Mpasho, and SPM Buzz to keep abreast of the latest news, music, and trends in Kenya.
''Wanafollow sana what's happening on those vlogs so wanakuanga intouch, they are way ahead, mimi hata wananiambianga vitu zingine zenye hata sijui.''
The popularity of Kenyan content on these platforms showcases the community's deep attachment to their roots.
Overcoming Challenges & Careful Preplanning
However, organizing a tour across six cities in a foreign country comes with its challenges.
Australia's strict labor laws posed a challenge for the DJ bringing his team from Nairobi.
''For me nilipreplan everything vipoa I had challenges kidogo because labour laws za Australia ziko strict sana huko wanakuuliza mbona uende na photographer na tunaeza patia photographers huku job''
To tackle this, he preplanned and created a team in Australia, including a photographer, setup crew, and an MC.
This allowed him to have a smooth operation and deliver an exceptional show in each city.
'' I was really amazed by how the guys would buy tickets for the shows, you know i was alone like a one man army, solo, and then people were buying tickets to turn out for the gigs one ticket was like 50 dollars.''
Diverse Music for an Eclectic Audience
Kenyan artists and DJs play a pivotal role in fostering the demand for Kenyan entertainment in Australia.
Personal connections, engaging performances, and a deep understanding of their audience's preferences have contributed to their success.
With Kenyans comprising the majority of the audience, DJ Joe Mfalme also catered to other communities. he said that in Australia, Afrobeat and Amapiano have gained immense popularity among the Nigerian, South African, and white communities.
To accommodate everyone, he diversified his sets, mixing Kenyan hits with these international favorites.
This approach allowed him to create a musical fusion that appealed to the diverse audience.
Building Towards International Recognition
Although DJ Joe Mfalme experienced overwhelming demand in Australia, he remains focused on gaining international recognition beyond the Kenyan community.
''So we are trying to get into festivals to bring a branch there is festival inaitwa 'Promised Land' yenye tunafaa kufanya next year, these are gigs we do just to build our profile and brand tuanze kutap into the international market.''
Connecting Kenyans and Opportunities
''The only disadvantage for Australia naeza sema ni hiyo distance but am hoping Kenya Airways will do that thing they did with New York because now there are many Kenyans, we are hoping for direct flights because its just crossing Indian ocean, but other than that nothing else is missing the synergy is there everything is just fine.’’