Are Marioo, Harmonize new kings of Bongo Flava music?

Combined photos of Bongo Flava artists Marioo (left) and Harmonize.

What you need to know:

  • Streets show Harmonize and  Marioo are the Bongo Flava’s toast of the moment with back to back hit singles daily.

Growing up listening to Bongo Flava stars like Alikiba, Rich Mavoko, AY, MwanaFA, Dully Sykes and many others by then the music industry was seen as a one big happy family.
Not until Diamond Platnumz when drama started, him and Alikiba flexing their muscles sending fans in a total frenzy.
There is no doubt that Diamond Platnumz is a well-established artiste both domestic and beyond borders and Alikiba has always been everybody’s favorite.
But now we are getting a glimpse of new rivals from the streets. Harmonize and Marioo whose names are current trending, threatening to dethrone whoever sits on the BongoFlava King’s chair.
Their compositions such as ‘Nitaubeba, Waah, Deka, Dear Ex, Teacher, Bear Tamu and Bakhresa have become staple on many DJs playlists.
From Bodaboda, saloons, barbershops to night clubs and radio stations you can’t spend a day without hearing the sound of their songs.
Five out ten songs played would be Harmonize’s and three would be Marioo’s either featured or own song.
“Harmonize is actually the best song writer in the whole of East and Central Africa,” reads one tweet
“Now I’m no Bongo Flava expert (far from it) but this man Harmonize comes out with hit after hit!” tweets Salim Masoud Said
Adding that, “I’ve noticed a lot of battle diehards rate Harmonize more than Diamond. On the ground is this how things are?”
It’s not like other artistes aren’t there but the current attention and focus is one the two vibrant artistes.
“Ukweli ni kwamba tangu 2020 Harmonize na Mario ndo top artistes hapa Bongo wanatoa hit song daily,” Swahili for ‘the truth is, since 2020 Harmonize and Mario are the top artistes here in Bongo, they release hit songs daily’.
Speaking with The Beat, Music producer, Nasri Dafa better known as Dapro narrates that the street is a way of testing how popular a song and an artiste really is.
“If you want to know how much of a hit a song is, just listen to the streets. The streets are everything, they promote and elevate artistes make them well known beyond digital platforms,” he says.
The two even receive a nod from their fellow artistes such as Webiro Wasira aka Wakazi noted “Harmonize is on “demon time” musically right now… sheish!! Wimbo wake na Abby Chams is fire,”
The Beat got a glimpse of how things are in streets visiting a different bus stations
“That high school album was class. Dude made broken English sound cool, trendy and anyone can listen to. Pure genius,” says Ramson Hamis
And Juma Ally responded, “He’s better than Diamond? No?”
“Diamond recently has been singing very normal...for now harmonize yuko vizuri,”
Just like that, a debate evoked who is better than who and who holds all the cards when it comes to Bongo Flava music.
With 3.54M subscribers on YouTube and 798 total million views, Harmonize has shown consistency, dropping hits back to back.
His five years at the WCB record label taught Rajabu Abdul aka harmonize how to be consistent with his work.
Since 2015 when he first released the song ‘Aiyola’ has never stopped being among country’s top charts or trending on social media platforms.
Tembo has two album, ‘Afro East’ which was his first debut studio Album since leaving his former record label WCB. And ‘High School’ with major hits like ‘Teacher’, ‘Sandkarawe’ and ‘Sorry’.
‘Teacher Konde’ rocks 10m views on YouTube, He currently taking three top posts on trending for music chart with ‘Nitaubeba’, ‘Amelowa’ and ‘Leave Me Alone’ featuring Abigail Chams.
The Uno hitmaker was among MTV Base’s African artistes to watch for in 2017.
Falling not far behind is Omary Mwanga, goes by the stage name Marioo. The fast-rising Bongoflava artiste has created a signature for himself.
His compositions such as ‘Dear Ex’, ‘Marry you’, ‘Naogopa’ featuring Harmonize and ‘Me amor’ have become staple on many DJs’ playlists since their first release.
“Keep fighting Mario mitaa inakukubali nakukuami. Swahili for ‘keep fighting Mario, the streets accept and believe in you’” reads one of the tweets from fans
Marioo’s quick rise to stardom is a story that not only baffles but inspires many.
However, before releasing his debut singles ‘Chibonge’ and ‘Dar Kugumu’, he has written many songs for established artistes and most of them have gone on to become success hits both on radio and on TV. Songs like, ‘Nabembea’ by Ditto, Nandy’s ‘Wasikudang’anye’, ‘Pambe’ by Christian Bella, ‘Nampa Papa’ by Gigy Money and ‘Homa’ by Lulu Diva.
When he released ‘Mama Amina’ late last year, it was among street anthem, received airtime from across the country.
The song has been on the ‘Amapiano Groove’ playlist from Spotify for months, received over 10 million views on YouTube, 2.3 million streams on BoomPlay.
Almost four years since he first released ‘Dar Kugumu’ and Marioo already bagged a total of 82.7 million streams on Boom Play, over 916K subscribers on YouTube and 21.8 million plays on Audiomack.