Gospel songs are all about supporting people to lead righteous lives, reminding followers of Christ the love their saviour shares, motivating people to pray and motivating them to do kind deeds. Like every other ethnic community in Kenya, Luhya gospel songs have an original sound, distinct beat and a tune that sounds distinct from many other mainstream songs. The songs have dynamic beats and special effects. They similarly adopt a quick tempo which may be the reason why one can dance to a good number of them. The message in the music is usually the same from one track to the other. The good thing is that even with the repeated messages, each track sounds different and exceptional. Luhya gospel artistes love shooting their videos in rural settings.
The instruments they use, and the subjects they talk about in their music blend well with that environment. Some of the famous gospel musicians from the Western region include Pastor Sammy Opingo who is famously known for his hit ‘Mulembe Libukana’, Sally Siboyi and Pastor Timothy Kitui. Gloria Muliro and Rufftone are amongst other national gospel stars from the Luhya community, though both of them rarely sing in the dialect. Luhya gospel music sounds excellent even for those who do not speak the language. This article records 20 best Luhya gospel songs.
1. Nditsulile – Pastor Sammy Opingo
This is a thanksgiving song where Sammy Opingo recalls how far God has taken him. His vocals are calming making the message easy to understand. ‘Nditsulile’ is a happy song especially for people who got saved by Jesus when things went rough at some point in life. It is good to count your blessings and spread the good deed the Lord has done for you, as pastor Opingo sings.
2. Omwoyo – Geoffrey Kwatemba
The message in the song is that the Lord looks at our hearts because it is through our hearts that we can tell what type of people we are. Geoffrey Kwatemba emphasises on the need for Christians to have pure hearts for the kingdom of God is only for the pure. This is an excellent Christian song that can make you think about your life as a believer and how you prepare for your journey to heaven. The lyrics of ‘Omwoyo’ are divine and impactful.
3. Ndikhuluchendo – Penina Musula
‘Ndikhuluchendo’ can be loosely translated to ‘I’m on the way’. Like every Christian, Penina Musula sings that she is on the way to a better place. The song also reminds Christians to pray and have faith. The journey might be long, but the destination is worth the wait. The artiste also asks people to help each other as we journey together. The keyboard and guitar were excellently integrated to make this heavenly song.
4. Mwikulu Vembanga Hallelujah – Pastor Timothy Kitui
The song is a celebration of life and praising the Almighty. The message is that everything good is in heaven and Christians should adore God. The drums and other instruments instantly get you into a praise and worship mood as the beats are robust and full of energy. Singing this song makes you believe that heaven is real, and even a better place than the earth.
5. Endiriranga – Ben Bahati
‘Endiriranga’ translates to ‘I am crying’. The late Ben Bahati is pleading with God’s people to listen to him as he says the earth is not our home. He warns Christians against living in a world of falsehood, lies, witchcraft and every other evil thing that makes believers stray away from God. He had a gentle way of passing the message in his songs. This is one of those records that can make you sit down and reflect on your life as a follower of Christ.
6. Omundu Omulosi – Joseph Shisia Wasira
The intro to this song is unique and legendary. This song is not only a favourite among the Luhyas but also a hit across the mainstream gospel industry. The beats of ‘Omundu Omulosi’ make it a great tune even before one listens to the lyrics. ‘Omundu’ means ‘person’ and ‘Omulosi’ means ‘witch’. The lead singer says that a witch has destroyed his kids, animals, and property leaving him with nothing. The general message of the song is that people should quit practising witchcraft and follow the ways of Jesus.
7. Mwikulu – Rufftone
Rufftone released this song during his early days in the gospel industry. Mwikulu is a classic that will forever remain a gem. Heaven is painted as this place that has everything beautiful and amazing. Rufftone sings in the chorus that everyone including, fathers, mothers and children want to go to heaven because of how graceful the place is. He also raps in English in some verses, blending the lines well like the gifted artist he is.
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8. Khubira Byosi – Timothy Kitui and Ole Willy
The backup vocalists did a lot of justice to this song as they coordinated with the lead singers. Their voices sound angelic and the message they are sending touches you on a spiritual level. Timothy Kitui and Ole Willy’s message here is that Jesus is the greatest above all. The traditional Luhya sound can be felt in this song as the singers infuse traditional instruments and native dancing styles.
9. Mulembe Libukana – Pastor Sammy Opingo
Listening to Mulembe Libukana will make you realise how much suffering people go through. Pastor Sammy Opingo talks about diseases and other temptations people go through in their living. He also sings that Jesus will save us from all the ills and the evils in the world if we believe in him. He confesses that Jesus healed him with his hand and carried him through the rough times. This is a good song for when you need assurance.
10. Masai Ka Yesu – Robert E. Wafula
The singer is acknowledging the grace of God and the love he has for his children as it is that love that enables us to wake up and walk every day. This song is what you want to play when you are glorifying the Almighty. Robert Wafula sings about how good God is that he sacrificed his son for us. The blood of Jesus is powerful because through his death, believers have a new life. Christians saw the light and were freed from the devil.
11. Papa Wange – Naomi Nyongesa
Naomi Nyongesa made this song to thank God for saving her. Her sweet voice together with praise words makes ‘Papa Wanhge’ a beautiful gospel jam. The artist is appreciating the Lord for seeing her through the temptations and helping her see the way. This is one of those worship songs you can play over and over because of the simple lines the singer used. This song will bring you joy.
12. Ndali Ndabohwa – Pastor Sammy Opingo
The good pastor celebrates his new status as he had been chained before Jesus freed him. This song is dedicated to Christians across the world who are blinded or tied by earthly things because God can free you. Pastor Opingo has a gentle voice that makes the message he sings about captivating. This song will have you quit your old life and the un-Christian things you indulge in because everything is vanity.
13. Itaa Yanje – The Wanderas
The Wanderas are asking people to come to Christ because He takes care of all. ‘Itaa’ means ‘lamp’ or ‘light’ depending on the context. ‘Yanje’ directly translates to ‘mine’. The English title of the song is ‘My Light’. The singers here are equating Jesus to the light of the world. They are asking those who are in the dark to move to the side of Christ as he is the saviour. The song has a sweet rhythm and is danceable. The artists sing and dance angelically as they appreciate the good Jesus has done for them.
14. Ingo Yanje – Sally Siboyi
Sally Siboyi sings about her home, which is in heaven. This is a melodic track that makes everyone realise that earth is not the permanent residence for believers. The drums and other instruments are well played and make the song such a great tune. God being the father, the song reminds everyone that the only place Christians should strive to go to is where God is.
15. Salanga – Pastor Timothy Kitui
This song is about prayer. Pastor Timothy talks about prayers and how they work. ‘Salanga’ is an inspiring song for the Christians who do not know how to pray, and those who have little faith. ‘Salanga’ takes you to a spiritual place and makes you connect with God on a different level. The journey on earth is long, and we need to pray to conquer all, the pastor sings. The song is also a prayer in its own right.
16. Yohana – Geoffery Kwatemba
Geoffrey Kwatemba sings about the message in Revelation 21:3 ‘ And I heard a great voice from heaven saying, behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God’ – KJV. He also sings about living in his father’s house, where there is peace and praise. This song is motivating, as those who lived righteously will have a home at the end of it all.
17. Unzitsulilanga – Sally Siboyi
‘You remember me’, Sally Siboyi sings. This song is a reminder to Christians that God looks over them and remembers them in all situations. It is comforting knowing that someone above watches you all the time and has your best interest at heart. Sally Siboyi sings smoothly, repeating the title of the song over and over again, perhaps for how much weight it carries in the song. ‘Unzitsulilanga’ is a soothing record.
18. Luwere – Kenya Prison Training Choir
This song, Luwere is a good track as it reminds everyone that we will all leave the earthly things we possess when we die for there are better things in heaven. Luwere means ‘It is finished’. The song is mostly played in funerals and ceremonies which have a sombre theme. Money, cars, property, family and everything else will be left behind when you breathe your last.
19. Ingabo – Gloria Muliro
The talented gospel star sampled an old ethnic song in ‘Ingabo’. Gloria Muliro’s vocals are out of this world and her delivery perfect. Gloria Muliro starts the song by sharing the message in John 3:16 that says God loved the world so much that he sent his only son for the deliverance of his people. ‘Ingabo’ means ‘shield’. Gloria sings that Jesus is the shield Christians were given and that whoever does not believe in him will not enter heaven. Life cannot be bought by money or wealth, but through Christ, she sings.
20. Zilwatse – Pastor Bithuel
This song is about spreading the gospel and doing what God wants. The good pastor sings that he will preach the word of God even if people laugh at him or gossip him, for it is only God who is in control. ‘Zilwatse’ is a great song when you feel defeated or want a little pushing to tell the world about the teachings of Christ. The song sounds melodic and has pleasant-sounding beats.
Music is an international language. People enjoy songs sang in different languages even without understanding the words in the music. You do not have to understand any word to enjoy Luhya gospel songs. The ethnic sound, local instruments used, and general composition of the songs will have you love every single track. Gospel songs also call for love and unity, which are some of the things that everyone should practice. Luhya tracks also sound good for the no religious folk. It is all in the heart.