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Kirk Franklin ( Top US Gospel Singer) to Stage Shows in Kenya
Sunday, 30.09.2007, 11:51pm (GMT)

When Kenyan gospel musician Esther Wahome burst into the national limelight several years ago with the song, Kuna Dawa, some people were uncomfortable because, they claimed, it sounded like it was meant for the disco and not the Church. But it was, and still is, as popular in discos as in churches.

Although she has not come out to defend the song, a lot of her fans argue that people who need gospel ministering are more likely to be found at discos.

If the Kenyan singer earned criticism, then Kirk Franklin should have been crucified. The 37-year-old African American is a platinum-selling gospel artiste whose songs - a perfect blend of gospel, hip-hop and R&B - are big hits on secular circles, including discos, all over the world.

And his fans in Kenya and the rest of East Africa have the chance to see their star in action. He will be performing during Extreme Weekend, a youth event organised by the Nairobi Lighthouse Church.

According to Steve Osoro, one of the publicity team, Franklin will stage three shows in Kenya - the first at Bomas of Kenya, Nairobi, on October 11, and Moi International Sports Centre, also in Nairobi, on October 13 and 14. Entrance for Bomas is Sh6, 500, while for Kasarani, it will be Sh600 for the golden seating and Sh300 for the gallery.

Rufftone, a leading local gospel musician, says he is one of Kenyan artistes inspired Franklin. "Kirk Franklin is a great musician who has managed to do what we call a cross-over," he says. "He goes out there and reaches out to people in secular circles, and that is something that I have leant to do."

He adds Franklin has a huge fan-base, and that the forthcoming concerts will be one of the biggest occasions in the country, arguing that it will bring many music lovers.

As a platinum-selling artiste and winner of five Grammy awards, there few gospel musicians in recent times have been able to match him.

His run-away success has seen him collaborate with some of the biggest stars in the music world. Among them are Marry Mary, rocker Bono of U2, Mary J. Blige, R.Kelly, Cristal Lewis and Salt-N-Pepa.

He developed his music talent early in life, playing the piano at age 4 and becoming a music director of his Greater Strangers Rest Church at 11. After leading a mass choir at the 1990 Gospel Music Workshop of America convention, Franklin organised "The Family" - a 17-voice choir in 1992.

He signed with GospoCentric in 1993 to release Kirk Franklin & The Family, which took almost two years on the gospel and R&B charts, which is rare for a gospel artist singer.

The Nation (Nairobi)

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