For Easter, Filah’s Choir Goes Beyond Gospel

This Easter, one of Nairobi’s biggest vocal ensembles presents a celebration of music that combines gospel, contemporary and traditional African music and pop.

The Easter concert this Sunday by the Redfourth Chorus features a rich repertoire of music according to the choir founder and director Philip “Filah” Tuju.

“The choice of music favours short but exciting pieces drawn from a multiplicity of sources capturing the spirit of Easter,” says Filah.

The concert begins with a performance by the junior choir, the Redfourth Kids who are aged six and 13, performing “Sing”, which was originally recorded by British singer Gary Barlow for the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II.

The women’s choir known as Redfourth Divine will be featured on a rendition of the Easter favourite “Hallelujah My Father” (originally by Tim Cullen which the choir first performed along with the vocal group Natena during Easter 2018) “Kutembea Nawe” (originally Rebekah Dawn) and “Lem Na” (composed by Filah).

A soloist of the Divine choir, Shyx will lead the performance of “The Lord’s Prayer” and “You Raise Me Up” popularised by Josh Groban, Daniel O’Donnell and other artistes who have recorded the song through the years.

The Redfourth Chorus will perform an African set that includes the famous “Muzina” the Taboo Ley song that exhorts everyone to pray and thank God for life’s blessings.

Other songs in their repertoire include “Ewo” a song in Luhya that was composed by Felix Mengo who was a visiting music director with the choir, and “Atieno” which according to Filah has proved to be very popular with audiences.

“This is the first concert that we have rehearsed with coordinated dancing, thanks to the services of a choreographer who is now working with the choir,” says Filah. The group will be accompanied by the Eclectic Band, a new outfit that is able to adapt to the wide mix of sounds for the concert.

Started by Philip “Filah” Tuju who wanted to create a choir that was representative of the diversity of Kenya, the Redfourth Chorus and Music Academy is guided by the motto “In the spirit of music”.

The group first caught the attention of fans with their recording of the gospel song “Kuliko Jana” originally by Sauti Sol and have subsequently recorded covers of songs by Rebekah Dawn, Nyashinski and Amos and Josh.

Upper Hill School was the birthplace for the group but the membership has now been extended even to singers in other schools, boys and girls, and those who are postsecondary school.

Their current projects includes recording cover versions of Miriam Makeba’s “Pata Pata”, the South African gospel favourite “Avulekile Amasango” and a Nigerian piece called “Ose Ayo”.

Besides the regular choir that features 19-25 year olds, there is now a Redfourth Divine for women singers that was launched at the beginning of the month.

Tuju has been a voice trainer for many top artistes, notably the group Sauti Sol, operates his own recording label and a music training school where he mentors the next generation of performers. The Redfourth Academy of Music was set up in April 2016 and has produced the popular Redfourth Chorus, a choir comprising more than 200 singers from different schools and colleges.

Tuju who is a judge on the reality show “I Can Sing” says the concert will also showcase the best talents that emerged from the show. “I have some of the very good singers who came on the show and may not have won the ultimate prize but have enormous potential to become the next generation of top performers in Kenya.”

The singers who all ended in the Top 4 of the show are Chris Barr, Vee the 1, Jose Jay and Ken Amani and will be backed up in performance by the Baino Band, a six-piece band that is quite popular on the Nairobi live music circuit. “This is an opportunity for them to launch their performing careers after the experience that they gained from the TV show,” says Filah.

Filah will also perform some of his solo work including his latest single “Wan E yo” (We are on the way) accompanied by a pianist.

“This is a song that I have just recently released for all those who need liberation of any form, and it will be very special to perform it during the Easter concert”

The concert takes place this Sunday at the Rosslyn Riviera Mall on Limuru Road in Nairobi from 3pm.

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