He speaks with a funny accent that is definitely not Kenyan. But what is he doing in Machakos? Marclello is a global citizen, born and bred in Congo but traversing the world in pursuit of bigger ideals in art and volunteerism. At 24, he found his way to Machakos (the place to be…) through Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO) International Citizenship Service (ICS). Knowing his way around creative communities, he found his way to Ubunifu Machakos. It didn’t take long before Muindi Kisio aka Balozi, our nosy communications guru sat him down to understand what propels this unstoppable passion for music, film and photography.
Tell us about yourself…
My name is Bentana Marcello. Born in Congo, Bukavu, South Kivu. I grew up in Congo up to when I was 17 years then moved to Rwanda for some time. Then I moved to Kenya in 2011 where I am currently based.
What is your background?
I started playing drums when I was 7 years old. Like many other creatives, I started my musical journey in church. The passion was ignited by my dads friend who used to play drums in our church. Then, I joined the church music school.
Is your family musical?
Actually, all my siblings are in music. My dad who happens to be a Bishop also sings and my brothers and sisters are equally involved in music in one way or the other. In fact, music in Congo is more of a traditional value.
Which instrument do you play?
I play drums. I play in our church and I was also part of Vipo Band
What inspires you in your music career?
Basically, I get my inspiration from the feeling I get when I play music. There is usually a sense of peacefulness in me when playing. Moreover, the play contributes to my creativity aspect of my life.
Do you have an upcoming concert of event?
*** The group, made up of Emmanuel Tabena and Chiza Musenge, was formed in 2006 in Kampala, Uganda and moved to Nairobi, Kenya in 2008 to follow the voice of God. They are originally from Democratic Republic of Congo and met up in Kampala while leading the praise and worship team at their local church.
Any artist you admire?
I admire Papy Kakol. He is a great drummer in the Wenge Musica group in Congo. I believe he is one of the best drummers in the world.
What landmark performances have you been part of?
I was called to be a drummer at Uhuru Park during a performance that was being done by Christine Shusho featuring Gloria Muliro. Afterwards proceeded to Mombasa for more performances.
Have you made mistakes when on stage and how did you correct them?
There was I a time when on stage while playing and one of the drum sticks fell off stage and I dint have spare sticks next to me. However, our saxophonist was quick to notice and he managed to use his skills to help the beats remain constant. However, intelligent fans could notice the change in sound of the music. It is very important to have spare sticks when going on stage to avoid such mistakes.
What do you like about the art world?
I like people who are creative and not copy cats. In equal measure I detest playing to play-backs at any concert.
How would you compare Kenyan music and the Congolese Music?
I appreciate the Kenyan music. However, I still feel there is a big difference between the two. In Congo, we take music as a profession. We always believe in producing quality, while in Kenya I feel most of the musicians are in for just performing and making money only. Congolese also work towards creating a legacy that would be left behind. But leaving such a legacy calls for hard work, teamwork, determination and willingness to learn each day.
What is your message to upcoming artists?
First, be passionate about what you want to do. Be focused. Don’t take music just like an option. Be ready to be adaptable in life. For example, now I am learning how to play Jazz because times are changing and you have to keep up with the new trends.
Does Marcello have a fiancée?
Yes. I am currently in a beautiful relationship with someone special to me.
What are your future plans?
Apart from music, I plan to join a university either in Kenya or abroad. I will be studying Immigration law as well as take a course in film and photography.
Are you on social media?
Yes. My face book account is Sacre Marcello and also on instagram as Marcellosii. Not active on twitter.
While on his placement at Machakos ICS Program, Ubunifu plans to work with Marcello on film, photography and music projects. We cant wait to see him perform perfomance at the Machakos Jazz Sessions on 11 June 2017, save the date!
_Interview Edited by Mwl. Gregg Tendwa, one good story follows the next.