Mike Onyango, the best trumpet player from Kenya, has made tremendous achievements in the music scene.
Born in 1978 In Nairobi Kenya, I inherited my passion for music from my father: Michael Onyango who played music as a hobby, but gained much recognition among his peers and the society.
At the age of 13, I played the first note on the trumpet, however I wasn’t allowed to advance for the fear of dropping out of school, as much as I was self taught by then. From frustration, I kept my talent dormant, till after high school. Contrary to my parents’ wish, I had already made a choice of being a fulltime musician.
The passion for music during my childhood I should suppose was influenced by the fact that my brothers(the late Dickson Owuor, Boaz, Fred Awalla, John Were and I grew up listening to our dad’s(Michael Onyango) favourite instrumentals and swing such as such as Tijuana brass, count basie’s big band among others. In the late 80’s we had a family band and only enjoyed performing in church, once in a while during public family shows and functions, During this time I learnt about The GREAT AFRICAN TRUMPET Legend; HUGH MASEKELA, his PERSONALITY as well as his MUSIC has always been INSPIRATION to me, MILES DAVIS, FELA KUTI, MANU DIBANGO among others are my outstanding mentors.
Soon after my high school graduation, I was already hanging out with Professional musicians in the Kenya’s Jazz scene such as IBEBA JAZZ QUINTET, HOMETEAM, AGO SALSA, Mathew Shitakha a.k.a DANGER (Bassist), ZACK AMUNGA (PIANIST) , George MONTE (Drummer) among others.
I opted to join the Kenya Conservatoire in 1997 and successfully graduated in 2000. My first tour was in The Netherlands in 1999 with a famous afro – percussion group: THE TALKING DRUMS OF AFRICA. The group toured all over Europe till 2002. In the meantime I’d sideman for famous Kenyan artists as Suzanne Owiyo and the producer Tabu Osusa, of Ketebul Productions. We toured African countries like Djibouti, Ethiopia and Congo Brazzaville. I also played alongside Eric Wainaina touring Zimbabwe(HIFA a multicultural festival 2003), Holland (festival mundial 2003)
In 2003, together with few friends; Abby, Charles Obuya, Kaboge Chagalla, Fred Mudasia and David Otieno a.k.a Lefty; we formed the group Kikwetu and recorded an album –Mdunia with a hit track KOROBOI (tin lamp) which was sponsored by Alliance Francaise – Kenya and produced by Blue Zebra’s Tedd Josiah. The debut earned us a tour in Holland’s festivals including festival Mundial (2003 ) and the North Sea Jazz Festival (2005) and in France.
During the same year 2005, courtesy of the MUNDIAL PRODUCTIONS and SARAKASI TRUST-Kenya, I toured the Netherlands for the exchange project with former students; Stevie Anne (composer), Hans (pianist), Paul and Jimmy Nieuwenhuizen (drummer) of Fonty’s ROC Academy. Where I got the first ever chance to do my own/original tunes. We made good concerts from Festival Mundial, Paradox Jazz Café in Tilburg among others. Unfortunately, I had to quit the band in Kenya to further my studies and passion in jazz music in Rotterdam’s University of Arts – Netherlands, where I am still based..
Up to date I’m a sideman of the Netherlands’ PATRICK LAUWERENDS QUINTET, ANDRO BISWANE (guitarist) afro – fusion, funk and jazz …also alongside PETER CADMUS(singer and percussionist) and the Leader of AFRICAN MIX BAND…
I JUST LOVE MUSIC…