Wednesday, January 16, 2008
We are a group that has (hopefully) dared to be different yet relevant with our message for today’s youth. With tracks such as Super Omosh and Mapambano we attempt to address issues in life using comedy and through (predominantly) hip-hop music.
This is how it went down:
“They would meet at a friend’s house for practice, one who occasionally borrowed the church keyboard to make tracks. One day one of us made a tight hip hop track and he invited the group to rap over it. Taking the lead, their friend Fred freestyled to show what he expected. They mucked around with different lyrics, writing in English, Kamba, Swahili whatever. Over time he continued to make more tracks for the group, though none of the group’s members knew how instrumental their relationship with Fred would blossom into later on.
At its inception Mission Driven began as friends and got together because of their love for singing. They then started a fellowship geared towards studying scripture. While on a name search they played around with names such as Mashujaa, before eventually settling for Mission Driven, which was proposed by one of the founder members, Okoth Okwemba.
Starting off, the group comprised Tim Ndambuki , Josiah Mugambi, Okoth Okwemba, Ken Mwalabu and Timothy Makuta. Due to the rigours of education Okoth and Makuta left the group while Richard Ngugi and Reuben Okubo joined. Today Mission Driven is a large group, who mostly all worship at the AIC Ngong Road- Nairobi; all involved in ministries as diverse as instrumentalists, bible study leaders and worship team. Interestingly, MD is more than just a music group, based around fellowship and friendship they confess spending more time bonding than praying and have continually met for their weekly Bible study every Thursday since their inception in 1999.
Incidentally, Fred was part of a group of young Christian professionals called The Brothers . Fred saw that he could help this young group realise their dreams, and got The Brothers to pay for a full recording session. With an assignment to identify who they wanted to work with from a wide variety of music producers on offer, they settled for Julian Macharia, who was at the time a young talented upcoming producer. They proceeded to record their first radio single titled Mapambano . It was so well received within both Christian and mainstream radio in Kenya and Uganda that the Brothers paid for another two singles. Armed with advice form their producer Julian they decided to visit different studios. First stop was Soulchild Records, where they met Steve Ominde, who produced some of MD’s tracks. It took more than a year to finish their debut full length album; launched on the 14 th December 2002. Mission Driven’s style is predominantly hip-hop, with a fusion of African, R&B and the occasional Rock tinges. Realizing they are not all called to be full time musicians there is leeway to support the group in other forms apart from availing one’s vocal skills during recordings and performances.
The group has been nominated for KORA Awards 2003 (Best African Gospel Group), and have shared the stage with Kenya’s top gospel artistes; among them Henri Mutuku, Rufftone, SK Blue, and Gospel Fathers amongst others. They are currently working on second album with various producers. Amongst the artists they have worked with, they reserve their highest plaudits for their first producer, Julian Macharia. They say his honesty, high work rate and skills as an engineer place him above many of his peers. Blackman’s urban stylings also resonate very well with them. Other producers include Ben Gittx Gitau, for his openness to new ideas and Tim Ennovator Rimbui for his pure talents. They look forward to recruiting more members who will stand in truth, know God’s Word and have faith in themselves.
Saks, one the groups members says that many people think that hip-hop music is only about entertainment, but at the core it really is ministry. ‘Our ministry really is an overflow of who God is to us, and it overflows to all those who are around us.’
He encourages those talented in music, to channel their gifts to accomplish God’s purpose.
"Mission Driven exists as a music ministry and is committed through teamwork and individual effort, using eclectic skills to convey God's fullness through quality music, going forth to make disciples in obedience to the word of God and in the process becoming effective witnesses of Jesus Christ."This is what we initially came up as a mission statement some 3-4 years ago :). Still very much true.