Kenyan music icon and Afro-jazz queen Achieng Abura dies

Revered Kenyan Afro Jazz musician Lydia Achieng Abura is dead.

The former Tusker Project Fame principal died while undergoing treatment at Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi. 

Kenya’s The Standard newspaper, reports that the legendary songstress was admitted to hospital on October 13 and was undergoing treatment for an undisclosed illness. The Star on the other hand reports that the singer was supposedly being treated for depression and gastritis.

The singer had indicated on her social media accounts that she was unwell. Last week, October 10, she posted: I have lost over 50 kgs in the last three Years. Everything is hanging and weak. Walking is a problem with pains all over. Doctor says I must add 30 kgs then lose it as I exercise and firm up. The irony of life.”

News of her passing has sent shock waves in the Kenyan music circles and beyond. Fellow artists paid tribute to the singer who has mentored many musicians and put out a massive catalogue of incredible music from the East African Nation.

“It is unfortunate that we have lost one of the local greatest talent. May God rest her soul in peace,” The Standard quotes singer Suzzana Owiyo, who was part of the Divas of The Nile group  together with Abura.

The musician’s fans and Kenyans at large continue to pay tribute to the fallen singer on social media.

Achieng Abura began her music career in the early 90s with a gospel album dubbed “I Believe” and later on transformed into an Afro-jazz singer. The singer was essentially among the artists that popularized the afro-jazz genre in Kenya. 

Her albums include: “Way Over Yonder”, “Sulwe” “Maisha” and “Dhahabu Yangu” 

Abbi one of Kenya’s respected Afro-fusion artists was formerly Abura’s vocalist.

Abura has been described as a passionate singer, social justice activist and a patriot, through her efforts to promote the Kenyan identity.

The singer had a Master’s degree in Philosophy and Environmental studies, and won the Kora Award in 2004 for Best East African Female, an award she shared with Tsedenia Gebremarkos of Ethiopia. 

Abura is survived by her 23-year-old son.

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