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2016 in Retrospect: Bidding Final Goodbye by some Legendary Musicians who left undying Music behind

The festive mood got switched off when the news of the legendary singer-songwriter George Michael's death broke on

Tributes are seen outside the house of singer George Michael, in Goring, southern England, Britain December 26, 2016. VOA

Dec 31, 2016: “Britney Spears is dead by accident!” Fortunately, it was just a hoax and the “Toxic” star is still alive. But not all musicians were as “Lucky” as the star. If it was “Last Christmas” for George Michael, Prince made the rain gods pour “Purple rain” when they breathed their last this year.

It was time for merry making, believing in Santa Claus and hanging lights and gifts on Christmas trees. But the festive mood got switched off when the news of the legendary singer-songwriter George Michael’s death broke on Christmas Day. The Grammy winner was 53.

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The British pop icon, who sold tens of millions of albums as a member of the Wham! duo and on his own, was found dead at his home in Oxfordshire, England, by his boyfriend Fadi Fawaz. Police described the death as “unexplained but not suspicious”.

While the tributes are still pouring in for the “Father figure” hitmaker, the year gone by has been widely tagged as “a curse” as many musicians bid their final adieu.

2016 began with rock legend David Bowie’s death on January 10. Aged 69, Bowie, who enjoyed a string of worldwide hits from the late 1960s onwards, died peacefully surrounded by his family after an 18-month battle with cancer.

Bowie’s last released album “Blackstar” became his first record to top the charts in the US. The record was released two days before Bowie died.

A week after his death, Mott The Hoople drummer Dale Griffin died at the age of 67. He was a founding member of the group, best known for songs including “All the young dudes”, which was penned by Bowie. Griffin died peacefully in his sleep.

January 18 was another day to mourn as Glenn Frey, a founding member of the rock band the Eagles, died at 67. He succumbed to complications from rheumatoid arthritis, acute ulcerative colitis and pneumonia, read a post on the official website of the band, which had churned out hits like “Hotel California” and “Take it easy”.

The time of grief continued in February too. Maurice White, the Earth, Wind and Fire vocalist and co-founder, died in his sleep in Los Angeles on February 4. He was 74. The singer had reportedly been battling Parkinson’s disease since 1992.

Singer Gogi Grant, whose hit track “The wayward wind” pushed music icon Elvis Presley’s “Heartbreak hotel” off from the top spot on the Billboard charts, died on March 10. She was 91.

The same day, legendary keyboardist Keith Emerson of English progressive rock supergroup Emerson, Lake & Palmer, and The Nice band died at age 71. Emerson’s death was ruled a suicide.

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On March 16, Frank Sinatra Jr, the son of the legendary singer Frank Sinatra, passed away aged 72. He died of cardiac arrest while on tour in Daytona, Florida.

Flamboyant pop musician Prince, who became a global superstar in the 1980s, with albums like “1999” and “Purple Rain”, died at his home in Minnesota on April 21. He was 57. Based on toxicology reports, he died of an accidental overdose of Fentanyl – the same painkiller found at the Los Angeles house where King of Pop Michael Jackson died in 2009.

Congo music star Papa Wemba, 66, died on April 24 after the stage collapsed during a concert in Ivory Coast.

“Me and Mrs. Jones” hitmaker Billy Paul also breathed his last on April 24 “after a serious medical condition”. The soul singer was 81.

Nick Menza, drummer of the former heavy metal band Megadeth, passed away after he collapsed on stage during a show in California on May 21. He was 51.

Renowned Pakistani qawwali singer Amjad Sabri was shot dead in Karachi on June 22, after unknown gunmen fired at his car.

Scotty Moore, “The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll” Elvis Presley’s guitarist, died at 84 on June 28.

Legendary singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen, whose “Hallelujah” was one of the most covered songs, passed away at 82. He died during his sleep following a fall in the middle of the night on November 7.

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Rock icon Leon Russell also died in his sleep on November 13. He was 74.

Noted Carnatic musician M. Balamuralikrishna, 86, passed away in Chennai on November 22. He had been ailing for some time.

Renowned Pakistani singer and preacher Junaid Jamshed died in a plane crash in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on December 7. (IANS)

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Uhuru Unveils Measures to Protect Musicians from Exploitation

When it comes to regulating the identification of users, even the Supreme Court confuses it as a privacy issue

Uhuru, Protect, Musicians
The Government will move the Kenya Copyright Board from the Office of the Attorney General to the Ministry of ICT as part of measures to protect musicians from exploitation. Pixabay


The Government will move the Kenya Copyright Board from the Office of the Attorney General to the Ministry of ICT as part of measures to protect musicians from exploitation. Uhuru

The announcement was made by President Uhuru Kenyatta when he led thousands of mourners in sending off Benga music icon, John Mwangi Ng’ang’a well known as John De’Mathew in Gatanga, Murang’a County on Saturday.

The announcement on copyright board is part of several measures the President revealed that are aimed at protecting the rights of artistes.

The President said the right home ministry for the copyright board is ICT because that is where it can have the ability to monitor broadcasters, telecoms and other entities that use productions by artistes.

Uhuru, Protect, Musicians
President Uhuru Kenyatta at the burial of Benga music icon, John Mwangi Ng’ang’a well known as John De’Mathew in Gatanga, Murang’a County on August 24, 2019. PHOTO| PSCU.

He said the Ministry of ICT is under firm instructions to ensure that artistes get their dues such as royalties.

“I have instructed the ICT Ministry to ensure that before renewal of licenses for broadcasters and telecoms they must pay what they owe artistes,” said the President when he spoke at the funeral service of the late musician held at Githambia Primary School grounds in Muranga County.

He said broadcasters and telecoms should pay for music they play because they are using it to make money.

The President who was accompanied by Deputy President Dr William Ruto said he has also instructed the Directorate of Criminal Investigations to probe organisations that collect money on behalf of musicians to see if they are embezzling what they collect.

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“The music industry has a problem that needs to be fixed. Recently we were told that an organisation collected around Ksh.200 million on behalf of musicians and then claimed that they spent 60 percent of that money as expenses for the collection,” said the President.

He also encouraged Members of Parliament to push through an amendment to the copyright laws that is pending in parliament and which is aimed at protecting the interests of artistes.

President Kenyatta said De’Mathew was his personal friend who loved peace and who liked to unite people and not to divide them.

In the late musician’s honour and to support upcoming talented artistes, the President announced that the government will set up a Ksh.10 million studio at Kirwarwa within Gatanga Constituency.

Uhuru, Protect, Musicians
The late popular Kikuyu Musician John Demathew.

DP Ruto said De’Mathew has been a prominent champion of the interests of musicians especially through Tamko Sacco where he was chairman. The Sacco was established so as to support local musicians to save and access loans for their collective and individual prosperity.

Dr Ruto assured Tamko Sacco members of government’s support in completing a commercial building the group plans to construct at their parcel of land in Kenol town off Thika-Nyeri highway.

The funeral was attended by several Cabinet Secretaries including James Macharia (Transport), Amina Mohamed (Sports), Mwangi Kiunjuri (Agriculture) and Joe Mucheru (ICT).

Local leaders led by Governor Mwangi wa Iria, Senator Irungu Kangata and County Woman MP Sabina Chege said De’Mathew was more than just a prominent musician to the people of Muranga.

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Governor wa Iria said De’Mathew was considered to be a seer or prophet by locals and many things he predicted came to pass.

Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru and her Nakuru counterpart Lee Kinyanjui were among those who attended the funeral service.