Name: ODONGO KENNEDY LEAKEY a.k.a KENNET B
Occupation: Performing Spoken Word Poet
Social Media/Website Links:
Facebook: Kennet B Soundland
Kennedy Leakey known in the spoken word poetry edutainment industry as Kennet B, started writing and poetic story telling 20 years ago but came to the platform of active performance early 2009 after winning Slam Africa Poetry Championships in Nairobi-Kenya. He had earlier recorded his first spoken word poetry single “Reality Absurdity” which also has a video yet 2 be released. Driven by the global concern about our depleting atmosphere which has adverse effects on our green environment and the spread of HIV among the now and old generation, his lyrics are majorly pegged around our social involvement and the daily activities we get involved in, in conserving our environment and living a morally upright life. “Word” being the basis of his sound artistic expression, Kennet has been able to put together 4 Spoken Word Poetry albums: 1) Coming of Age 2) Success 3) Twak Galamaoro(A Dholuo spoken word album) 4) New Earth. Performing at the UN habitat Messenger of Truth Concert mid 2009, proved to Kennet that his environmental concern has some serious global interests and acknowledged this by developing a 1 hectare mixed – tree forest named “NEW EARTH”, where young poets regularly gather at his countryside home in Nyanza to develop their writing and storytelling skills. This foundation has grown into a writers’ and performers’ spotting and mentoring foundation which connects poets to self expression platforms. In this vein, he has been honored to co-host a live spoken word poetry album on Citizen Radio under Royal Media Services in his home country Kenya, a show whose fan base has immensely grown due to authenticity of food for thought. With Radio Citizen, Kennet has already done 12 visits to Universities to take his spoken word art for popularizing his life skill concepts among the students to help them live wisely in the HIV and AIDS infested world. As an environmentalist he doesn’t throw away any seed, he says. His humorous social narratives that are tactfully woven to enable his Educative-Entertainment approach bring taboo topics like HIV&AIDS into public discourse, leaves his audience with the desire to change any overt behavior. Kennet B has his first book, “The Sheng Anthology” , a collection of 12 thought provoking stories ready for publishing and it is from this that he is set to connect the old art of storytelling with the new language of the now’s generation. It is a set of conflict-laden social narratives aimed at impacting the repeated empathic distress felt when a favorite character is seen in imminent danger. This often enhances the enjoyment of the stories and one sees the resolution of the threat (HIV&AIDS) as the narratives unfold. The book is scheduled to hit bookstores as soon as its mass production is supported.
The latest advance with his word skills, is his latest contract with Kenya Broadcasting Cooperation, to do a daily 2 minute Luo poetry show which has become a must listen to programme for the listeners.
Kennet is current working on the establishment of his poetry podcast which he hopes will revolutionize the poetry industry.
The metamorphosis of Kennet B has been a marvel to himself and to many of his fans who grew close to him because of his unwavering persistence in addressing delicate social issues which are hardly considered as money making endevours at the mainstream of the entertainment industry. Nevertheless, Kennet B started by addressing the issue of HIV & AIDS among the youth using accapella song s, in a group he formed to move around primary and high schools to help take his inspiration home.
Kennet, the adventured into studio recording where he cut his first two singles, “Public Discussion” and “Ginomako Kamarach” with a renown producer Chris Adwar, the singles that drew public attention to recognize his lyrical presence, even though they were not major hits. He used the two songs to move around in schools both in Nairobi and in Nyanza his birth place and after a period of 7 years, his efforts started building greater networks.
The lyrically laden Kennet B, coulnd’t take any more of mind limiting studio sessions so he opted to write longer lyrics which many producers told him did’nt make musical sense, so he took a break from studio work to start his poetry journey after his studi manager told him to try his skills at Kwani Poetry Night, in Nairobi.
This made sense because after the ululations from the fans, Kennet went straight and won Slam Africa Poetry competition and took advantage of this title to father and further a new kind of spoken word poetry in Nairobi. This came with performances in many poetry gigs and a catapult shot by Buddah Blaze, another renown and respectable artist promoter, who introduced him to the money making world of art.
Kennet B then was introduced to Citizen Radio by Fundi Frank who heard him perform at a gig and he was instantly considered to co-host spoken word poetry segment.
His passion in taking poetry from the hard-stage straight to the soft stage, I mean from Stage performances to Radio shows, met greater success when recently he metamorphosis was met by a chance of doing Lou Spoken Word poetry at the National Radio, an opportunity that he considers a defining factor for his passion.
The rest is for time to tell. Growth…….
Mission / Vision
As a word head, Kennet B has a mission within the vision of publishing his poetry books, in English, Dholuo and Sheng to help popularize the authenticity of spoken word in humorously educating people on the taboo related topics in our society and as an environmentalist, he is persistent in increasing the vibrancy of his upcountry project, “NEW EARTH”. (See bio)
18 Months Plan
Eighteen Months is one and a half years so within that time I plan to:
1: Take my spoken word to tv so that I increase its value.
2: Do my next spoken word poetry album.
3: Record some of my student poets from the country side so that they are energizrg to work hard on their art.
4: Stop working for people in their studios and open my own music and video production studio for my social and environmental works.