Dan 'chizi' Aceda
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Dan 'chizi' Aceda


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"Top Ten Most Iconic Kenyan Male Voices"

Ranked 4th on the Top 10 list - Vibe Weekly Kenya

"Chizi’s lyrical talent"


Dan ‘Chizi’ Aceda’s intelligent lyrics when fused with an intricate musical arrangement stand heads and shoulders with Africa’s greatest. This was evident at Chizi’s Benganology album launch.

On a chilly Friday night at the grounds of the National Museum of Kenya, guitar sounds and drums take over the otherwise usual silence in the night. A highly illuminated stage and relaxed, casually dressed patrons take their positions. They engage in chitchat, a drink in hand as they listen to Villagers Band lead singer Chris Adwar. Accompanied by his band, Chris’ strong baritone voice takes us through songs of their latest album The Norfolk Hotel. Most of the songs are Adwar’s true-life experience as he invites a friend named Kaka on stage to rap the section of Mr Walker. Kaka raps from his eyewitness account. This is but the curtain raiser for the man of the night Dan ‘Chizi’ Aceda.

After the virtuoso performance by Villagers Band, the crowd barely gets a chance to catch their breath as the melodious voice of Carol Atemi booms from the speakers.

After all these years of great performances, she still takes you on with caressing music like you are listening to her for the first time. The crowd chants her name encouraging her to continue singing, but the time has come for some Benganology action.

After a standing ovation and cheers, the slim dreadlocked musician takes the stage. Clad in plaid shirt and jeans, he composes himself, warming the crowd with the classic hit Wacha Waseme. Legendary artiste Eric Wainaina joins him on stage. Despite the very clear resemblance in their tune, they do not disappoint as it proves to be a great way to set the ball rolling seeing that the audience is already in line preparing to dance at the climax of the song Mimicking R&B artist Neyo, Chizi gives a local feel to Neyo’s song Mad, throwing in a Swahili version of the song and adding his own lines for a different touch of creativity.

Curvaceous Sanaipei Tande joins Chizi on stage for the Not the one single, a song that Sana helped write alongside Monica Obuga.

Benganology, his second 13-track album, has been his comeback showpiece into the music scene after a long break from the first album Suluwe.

Known for his love for practicality in song writing, Chizi has done his best to make the Benganology album relate to the average person. Taking turns to entertain the crowd during his performance was his well-rounded Wananchi Band.

Soufle and Blackberry were the hit songs of the night. Soufle takes us through life transformation of a once broke man who could not afford to take a girl for an expensive date therefore losing the chance of dating her. In Blackberry, a continuation of Soufle, the man has a wealthy new life, with Blackberry being his new form of communication and residential address Spring Valley. Now, he can fool the girl hook, line and sinker as she is at his beck and call.

Isaac Khahula’s tasty bass lines provide the perfect complimentary foundation to Chizi’s thoughtful material. In turn, Johnny Wainaina proves equally adept at handling the lead guitar on a number of songs, while Pascal Masika is a genius on the drum set. Kevin Njuguna has proved over and over again that his nifty fingers can work magic on the keyboard while Katunge Kisuke, Doris Onyango, Grace Muna and Dela Maranga provide an enchantment when it comes to the backing vocals.

Chizi’s second album, Benganology overflows with charisma and is incredibly versatile. From light-hearted dancehall scorcher Kumekucha giving thanks to God for bringing forth a new day, his sombre Narudi, on the other hand, is so moving it could coax a tear from a rock. Saida is a sassy number infused with a glorious dose of R&B. Chizi possesses all the pizzazz and sex appeal of a celebrity. His impassioned vocals and weighty lyrics are delivered over an amazing instrumentation leading to a rich harmony laden chorus.

The album was borne from strong belief that Benga is the archetype of all genres of music.
"Benga is the music of a people whose resilience and a sense of self belief are second to none. She is the result of the honest interaction with the phenomenon that is humanity by those who still believe in freethinking. And just like the human race, Benga has her roots in Kenya but belongs to the world. She is mother to kapuka, genge; sister to reggae, married to hip-hop and godmother to R nB and soul. All the people of the world have their very own Benganology," assert Chizi.

Chizi strives to be different.

"I want to do things differently from any other artiste. I focus on giving a very good energetic performance. Anybody who comes to my shows will get hooked as a fan." He says. Chizi’s live performances are exceedingly vibrant, as the band is capable of entertaining diverse audiences. Which makes perfect sense; after all, Chizi, could be the crown prince of Benga!

He believes Kenyan music is appreciated all over the world because it is great. "Good artistes like Ayub Ogada attract thousands of fans when they perform in Europe, but Kenyans are slowly turning to appreciate other genres of music," he says. Recently, Mr. Vegas curtain raised for Juacali. This proves that local music is better, he adds. "What’s more gratifying to an artiste than seeing Kenyans appreciate his music?" he asks.

Chizi objects to the common use of the term ‘world music’, declaring, "There is nothing that is really Western or Eastern music— we made that all up. What is so-called ‘world music’? That completely depends on your perspective, where you are located yourself. What is exotic in one place is commonplace or traditional in another. There is only the world, and there is only music."

Having only started studying music at 23, Chizi may as well be a late bloomer.

He joined Kenya music conservatory and studied for eight months. "I never studied music in primary or Secondary school, in fact at Strathmore School; we only studied, Math, Physics and Chemistry."

Currently Chizi is studying Architecture at the University of Nairobi. "My dad was a guitarist. I can say Africans are musical by nature. Africans are artistes at heart," he says.

While as he is not as comfortable as he would prefer, music pays his bills.

"I can’t say am as comfortable as I would love to. You see, few years back, my main problem was how to pay my band, right now, that isn’t a problem anymore. So I am now focusing on how to build a very good and well-equipped studio".

It’s taken him three years to release a second album.

Kijiji Records released his first album Suluwe. But this time around it has taken him more time to release the second album due to numerous setbacks. "The industry was down and I couldn’t get a studio well equipped to record a band." It took a co-ordinated effort of R-Kay, David Muthami, Aaron Rimbui and Chris Adwar to produce the Benganology.



SAFARI/One and ONLY (2012) - Single (High Roation in East Africa)
MADE in KENYA (Due out March 2013) - Album
BENGANOLOGY (2010) - Album
SHAMBA LA WANYAMA (2008) - Award Winning Single
SULUWE (2005) - Award Winning Album



Aceda’s musical journey took the usual route, church, where he sang in different choirs at St Lukes’s Church and Nairobi Chapel (both Churches in Nairobi). He soon became an in demand singer and performer leading to his first record deal with Kijiji Records an independent record company set up by renowned singer Kanjii Mbugua (Milele). Here, under the tutelage of Kanjii, he produced his debut album SULUWE in 2005.

This album featured works by award winning Kenyan musicians such as Wyre, Eric Wainaina, Neema Ntalel and Richard Kasika. This was the album that introduced Aceda to the Kenyan mainstream with the hit songs Sanasana, Waache waseme and Songa.

In 2006 Aceda featured in The Mavuno Worship Project as a singer and a songwriter. He was also casted in Eric Wainaina’s musical Lwanda-A ghetto Story where he worked for 2 years eventually rising to play the lead role in 2007.

Later, 2008, Dan won two Kisima Awards for Best male Urban fusion artiste as well as Songwriter of the year with his hit single Shamba la Wanyama. Buoyed by this success Aceda begun to play regularly in different venues across Nairobi eventually setting up is very own popular monthly event called Café Mia Moja.

A second foray into musical theatre came in 2009 when he was invited to audition for a part in Mo Faya, the first Kenyan musical to be staged in the off-Broadway New York Musical Theatre Festival. He played the part of Prof, the quirky narrator delivered brilliant performances in both the run in New York as well as the run in Nairobi’s Go Down.

His sophomore album Benganology was released on the 30th of July 2010 and is currently one of Kenya's top selling albums. This album features collaborations with Sanaipei Tande, Wyre, Eric Wainaina and Doris Onyango. It features work by the A-list of Kenyan producers including: multi award winner Robert "Rk" Kimanzi, emmy award winner Chris Adwar, Aaron Rimbui and David "blackman" Muthami. It also features the hit song Saida which has introduced Aceda to the East African market as well as the popular story songs Soufle and Blackberry.

In 2011 Aceda begun work in film providing the musical scores for films such as Clearing the Air produced by Maina Kiai and InformAction, Afrodite Produced/Directed by Charles Ouda, Simiyu Samurai produced by Robbie Bresson amongst others.

Later in 2011, Aceda was invited to play at the Lake of Stars Festival in Malawi becoming the first ever Kenyan Musician to receive that invite.
Currently he is working on his third studio album which is scheduled to be released later in 2012 as well as working as the co-host of the TV show Afrofuse showing all over Africa on ZukuAfrica.