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Maroon Commandos: Habel Kifoto Memorial

Meet Habel Kifoto, a remarkable figure who left an indelible mark on Kenya's music scene. Beginning his journey in the military, he ultimately rose to become one of the country's legendary artists. His music was a harmonious blend of well-arranged melodies, earning it frequent airtime on the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation, particularly during the 1980s.

During his military service in the 1970s, Habel founded the Maroon Commandos band, which consisted of fellow military personnel. Among their notable creations were the mega hits "Charonyi ni Wasi," composed by Kifoto himself which means "life is hard" in his native Taita language, and "Uvivu Mbaya," delivered in Swahili.

Initially known for performing at government events, the band's popularity grew with the smashing success of "Charonyi ni Wasi" and "Uvivu Mbaya." These songs struck a chord with the public, standing the test of time and retaining their relevance even to this day. Their impact was undeniable.

The Maroon Commandos went on to release more albums, such as "Jangwa Kubwa," "Paulina," "Mwakaribishwa Na Maroon," "Pokea Salamu," and many others. Each album showcased their musical prowess and further solidified their place in the hearts of their fans.

Sadly, in 2009, Habel Kifoto retired from the Kenyan army, and two years later, on 31st July 2011, he passed away in Nairobi due to a heart attack. However, his legacy lives on through his timeless music, which continues to captivate listeners on the airwaves.

Today, fifty years after its formation, the Maroon Commandos Band remains active and vibrant. It continues to evolve, embracing new members as older ones retire. The influence of Habel Kifoto on the band serves as a constant reminder of its roots and purpose, guiding the future of music by blending the old with the new and passing down the musical torch to the next generation. Happy Listening!


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