Two-time Kenyan Olympic swimmer Jason Dunford has released his first full-length album with musical partner Romantico.
Dunford’s journey from swimmer and BBC broadcaster to musician moved into the public eye about a year ago with the release of his first single, Mbaya, meaning Bad in Swahili – the language of East Africa. Dunford has described the style as “Gengeton,” which is a mix of Genge, a hip-hop derivative that emerged from Nairobi and Reggaeton, a genre rooted in Latin America and the Caribbean. Dunford and Romantico, who came to Kenya as a Mexican missionary, merged the styles of their native countries to form the new sound.
The album includes collaborations with Jabali Afrika, the most toured Kenyan band ever; Snaipei Tande, Africa’s ‘queen of R&B,’ legendary Spanish flamenco musician Antonio Carmona; and top African Afro-pop artists Ketama and Roberto.
Dunford has a busy year ahead – with plans to release 4 new music videos,
The pair, along with Juacali, then featured on a 2nd music video for the song Baila Baila in April of 2019.
The music features Dunford, under his nom de plume Samaki Mkuu, singing and rapping in both English and Swahili.
The 32-year old Dunford’s day job is currently as a broadcast journalist on the Africa business team out of the BBC’s new bureau in Nairobi. He reports and produces 4 shows (a daily in English and Swahili; and a weekly in English and Swahili). See a recent piece by Dunford about gym entrepreneurs here.
Dunford won a Commonwealth Games gold medal in the 50 fly in Delhi in 2010 and also holds 17 All-Africa Games medals and 3 World University Games medals. His best Olympic finish was 5th-place in Beijing in 2008 in the 100 fly. He was 12th in that same event in 2012, on both occasions racing with his brother, David, as the country’s only Olympic swimming representatives.