Kenya’s Luo Singer Winyo Set to Grace the 2024 Paris Olympics with Musical Performance

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As the world gears up for the 2024 Paris Olympics, anticipation is mounting not only for the thrilling athletic competitions but also for the mesmerising cultural performances.

Among the artists set to grace the global stage is Kenya’s very own Shiphton Onyango, famously known as Winyo, a maestro whose music carries the soulful essence of the Luo tribe from the Lake Victoria region of Western Kenya.

Derived from the Luo word for “a bird,” Winyo’s moniker aptly captures the ethereal quality of his voice, often likened to the melodious chirping of birds. In an Instagram post confirming his participation in the Olympics, Winyo expressed profound gratitude, stating, “Greatly honoured to represent my country Kenya at the Olympics stage… there is so much to share with you this year.”

Winyo’s musical journey is deeply rooted in the traditional benga style, a genre he has revitalized with a contemporary twist while preserving the distinctive guitar techniques of legends such as Ochieng’ Nelly and George Ramogi.

Luo musician Shiphton Onyango during a past media engagement.

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Winyo

Singing primarily in Dholuo, Swahili, and English, Winyo’s repertoire delves into a spectrum of societal issues, from the struggles of homeless children to the intricacies of courtship and marriage.

The esteemed musician initially rose to prominence as part of the acclaimed trio ‘Rateng’, where he honed his skills as a composer, vocalist, and guitarist. His contributions to the group’s album “Thumology” in 2009 showcased his prowess as a multifaceted artist.

Winyo’s talent has not gone unnoticed on the international stage. His exceptional artistry earned him recognition in prestigious competitions such as the Radio France International (RFI) Discoveries, where he emerged as a finalist in 2010 and 2011. Moreover, his nomination for the Rolex Arts Initiative Mentor and Protégé programme in 2012 further points to his global appeal.

Beyond music, Winyo’s versatility shines through in his roles as a composer, songwriter, photographer, actor, and TV producer. Notably, his contributions to the development of African music were highlighted during his participation in the Global Music Academy’s curriculum development workshop in South Africa.

Winyo’s solo career has been marked by notable achievements, including the release of his debut CD “Benga Blues” and collaborations with renowned artists such as Joss Stone and Vieux Farka Touré.

His performances at esteemed venues like the Library of Congress in the USA and the Musique Metisses festival in France have further solidified his reputation as a global music icon. He has also performed at the Africa Festival: Wurzburg, Germany – 2011, and the Festival for African Fashion and Arts FAFA – 2010.

Alongside athletes like Eliud Kipchoge and Faith Kipyegon, Winyo stands poised to captivate audiences with his soul-stirring melodies, embodying the rich musical heritage of Kenya on the world stage.

World Olympics logo outside a stadium in Japan.

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