Renowned Afro-jazz artist Achieng Abura has died. The songstress was admitted to Kenyatta National Hospital on 13 October and died on the evening of Thursday 20 October.
Born Lydia Achieng Abura, the award-winning artist emerged on the Kenyan music scene in the 1990s as a gospel artist before trying out other genres.
She released her debut gospel album I Believe in the 1990s, followed by other albums including Way Over Yonder, Sulwe, Maisha (Life) and Dhahabu Yangu (My Gold). Abura was initially part of the Divas of the Nile supergroup that featured four Kenyan female musicians including Suzzana Owiyo, Mercy Myra and Princess Jully.
In July last year, she released the single ‘I Believe’ off an unreleased album titled Achieng Abura: Rebirth. In an interview with Kenya’s Business Daily Newspaper, Abura had indicated that she had finished work on the album and was preparing for its release.
Her music covered various social issues related to women, the girl child, the environment, and politics in Kenya. Abura was also vocal in defending fellow artists.
In 2004, she was one of the recipients for the Best East African Female Artist which she shared with Ethiopia’s Tsedenia Gebremarkos. Beyond her music, Abura was a UNDP goodwill ambassador and was part of the Music Artists for Peace Initiative that seeks to get artists to use their talents to enhance peace in the region. Abura is survived by her 23-year-old son.