Jah’Key Malle – Biography

Jack Obwonde now popularly known as ‘Jah’Key Malle’ was born in Kenya in 1968 barely five years after independence, time at which music was not taken as a career but just a mere pass time.

He started off at the age of 12 years, sneaking now and then from school to rap in various Night Clubs in Nairobi city.  At this time, music was just a form of entertainment, but it was not until the death of the legendary king of Reggae, Bob Marley in 1981 that Reggae music made a deep and profound impact on him. Bob’s music is filled with uplifting messages of love, culture, self-determination and life in general.

Born in a country where everyone was trying hard to run faster and win an Olympic gold medal or break a world record, Jah’Key was trying very hard to  record an album. Being a youth serious with issues affecting the society, he was captivated into the reggae circles, beginning as a part time Dee Jay in various Night Clubs.  Inspired by a local musician, the late Fadhili Williams who had made it internationally with a hit song “Malaika”, he developed a burning ambition to record his own music with varied subjects. With neither a major record company, nor a serious distribution company, nor a marketing company in Kenya, Jah’Key was forced to do all the above by himself. 

Despite all the obstacles, Jah’Key was able to self-sponsor the recording of his first album titled “Total Madness” in 1997.  This album consists of six songs talking about day-to-day experiences: from a love story “Siwezi Tena” about a double dealing girl, to a sensitive title track “Total Madness” deploring the use of drugs. The album also consists of the hit single “Dhulma” warning the privileged  not to undermine the underprivileged.

In 1999, he released a more serious album titled “Hasira” which talks about the political, social and economic situation in most African countries today.  In this album, there is also an Aids Awareness song “Ukimwi”, sang in Swahili, Kenya’s National language. The hit song “Njoo” is a love song where a man is pleading for his loved one living abroad to come back home.

Among the major concerts he has performed in are the 1994 URTNA Awards Festival in Nairobi honoring showbiz personalities from around Africa, and the biggest reggae concert ever in East Africa, The Guinness Reggae Sunbeat in 1998. Also performing on the same show was Africa’s Reggae Maestro, Lucky Dube, International Reggae icon, Maxi Priest, Jah Shaka and other renowned artists.

Apart from these concerts he has had numerous shows in stadiums throughout Kenya. This has propelled him into becoming a household name in the local music scene. When performing live shows Jah’Key is normally backed up by a band which consists of five players of instrument and three back-up vocalists. He can perform from between 1 hour to 2 hours depending on the contract agreement.

Jah’Key is currently working on a live performance CD that will be accompanied by a  music video.

For more information about performances and bookings contact his authorized agent:

Kawere Productions
P.O. Box 28468
Tel: +254 (0)733 743430, +254-02-343899
Nairobi, KENYA.
Email: Kawere Productions



© Jahmbo Sounds Records, 1999, 2000-1

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