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Born Shiphton Onyango, Winyo adopted his artistic name ‘Winyo’, which is a Luo word (a tribe from the Lake Victoria region of Western Kenya) for “a bird”. The reason for this becomes apparent once you hear him sing. His voice has been likened to that of a singing bird.
Winyo is a singer/songwriter of great sensitivity and an acoustic guitar player, backed by his 5piece band of accomplished musicians,
Winyo derives his music and musical strength from his forefathers whose African music was rich in melody and traditional harmonies. His musical style ranges from traditional Luo melodies infused with witty storylines, afro-fusion, and afro-jazz, to a contemporary interpretation of Benga, transformed into an authentic acoustic sound. His powerful yet mellow vocals are the icing on the cake that makes listening to Winyo, an almost heavenly experience.
Winyo sings in his paternal language of Dholuo, and Swahili with a smattering of English. His stories address a myriad of social issues ranging from the plight of homeless children to courtship and love stories.
Winyo started off as part of the critically acclaimed and accomplished trio named ‘Rateng’ (which means Black in Luo), cutting his teeth as the composer, lead vocalist, and guitarist of the group. With the group Rateng, they went on to emerge 3rd in the Uzbekistan Cultural Music Festival in 2006. Winyo was instrumental in the writing and composing of the group’s album titled ‘Theology’, which was released in the year 2009.
Winyo is also a much sought after composer and songwriter and has penned songs for many chart-topping artists including;
• Niwe, Nguga ii Baiskeli, Malaika (Arrangement), Fever (arrangement) for Tusker Project Fame winner 2008, Valerie Kimani ‘s album Baiskeli
• Angalia Saa for Ukoo Fulani Mau Mau
Later that year (2009), Winyo followed the call in his heart and set off on a solo career path, to explore and define his own path in the music industry. He is currently in the recording and production stage of his debut yet to be titled solo album at Ketebul Music studios in Nairobi, Kenya, under the keen guidance of veteran producer, Tabu Osusa. This album is set for release later this year.
To date, Winyo has graced the stage and performed at numerous shows and festivals both locally and internationally including the following;
• Bushfire Festival, Swaziland - 2010
• The Rift Valley Festival, Kenya – 2010
• Sawa Sawa Festival, alongside Jazz maestro Hugh Masekhela (South Africa) and Ayub Ogada (Kenyan nyatiti player based in England) - 2008
• BBC Radio Journalist of the Year Award, Kenya. 2007
• The Hon. Raila Odinga’s Presidential Campaign Launch (Kenya) 2007
• Uzbekistan Cultural Music Festival 2006

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