This week, we are thrilled to introduce to you Steven Chuchu, an amazingly talented musician and pastor in Tanzania. Steven has just released an album of traditional Tanzanian music called ‘Omoghaka wa Nguru,’ translating to ‘Mighty Elder’ or ‘Mighty Father God.’ We recently checked in with Steve and our staff member in Tanzania, Stephanie, to find out how things are going. Read more about Steven and his album below!
Steve Chuchu is a long-time singer of Tanzanian Gospel songs. He directs the choir in his church, is an assistant pastor, a preacher and teacher, and skilled at everything that happens in Pentecostal churches in Tanzania (TZ). He was born in the Mara Region in TZ but has traveled and lived in other places in TZ, particularly around Lake Victoria. Steve has one wife and three young children, all of whom also show musical talent. He has appeared in some of the worship videos that Inspiro has produced in the last 6 months, and he is in the process of applying for Incarnate.
The album of music videos we are releasing this month is called ‘Omoghaka wa Nguru,’ which is a Kuria phrase that roughly translates to ‘Mighty Elder’ or ‘Mighty Father God.’ It has six songs, two in Swahili and four in the Kuria language. All the audio and video for these songs was produced by Zephania Kikumbo and Kikumbo Sound in May through September 2020.
Song 1: Anadumu Milele (Forever Strong)
Language: Swahili, with a Lingala phrase at the very end
The opening of this song tells the story of the Good Samaritan. Steve is singing while walking along a highway just north of Arusha, near the Kenyan border with Tanzania. It continues on to convince listeners of Jesus' value, that He will last longer and be stronger than anything else in your life, so you should believe in Him.
Musically, 'Anadumu Milele' is in the Sabene style. Sabene is well known in Tanzanian churches. It's a kind of Congolese music that strongly influenced the Tanzanian music scene in the last generation, particularly Muziki wa Dansi. It's since faded from the popular music scene, to be replaced by other TZ and East African pop genres but seems to persist in the church. Sabene is a sort of relaxed kind of music that is sometimes played for hours at a time. It's harmonically simple, and relies on electric guitars and bass, as well as electric keyboard. The western drum set is also important. To people unfamiliar with the style, it sounds just like Western pop music, but Sabene is pretty African and has influenced music across the continent.
Song 2: Nakushukuru (I Thank You)
Language: Swahili, Sukuma, Luya, Zuku/Ndebele, etc...
This song focuses on giving thanks in multiple languages. Steve first had the idea for this song some years ago. When he was at GCoMM Nairobi (Global Consultation on Music and Missions) in 2018, he was inspired to develop it and include as many languages as possible saying ‘Praise the Lord,’ I think. It evolved to be song of thanks, with people saying, ‘Thank you, Lord.’ While teaching songwriting in Kitale, Kenya in 2019, he developed it further, including some Kenyan local languages. When we went to record it in April 2019, he included these languages as well as the Sukuma or Nyamwezi language since our producer, Zephania, is from that people group. Some of the other vocalists in the song also added other languages.
The song is influenced by South African music, likely specifically choral music. It's a bit complex by TZ standards for Christian music, particularly from individual artists, but that's Steve. He's easily bored with simple songs.
Check back in a couple of days for information about songs 3-5! To listen to Steven's music, please scan the following QR code with your mobile device or visit this page.