Christopher Monyoncho nicknamed Riyo Riebasweti to mean a python skin was a talented musician, composer, singer, and guitarist. Born an artist, he became a career entertainer at the age of 28 years. Christopher Monyoncho biography records a daring music journey of struggles and successes.
- READ ALSO: Dismas Nyangau Songs & Videos.
The melodious songs that Monyoncho left behind are to this day enjoying good airplay on radio and YouTube. Slow dance moves and rhythmic narration of real-life stories are particularly appealing. But then, who was he?
10 profile facts in Christopher Monyoncho biography
A long list of Monyoncho songs centres on socio-cultural issues and political dilemmas in Gusii land.
- READ ALSO: Mr Ongengo Biography Facts.
These 10 untold profile facts summarize the life story of a python skin Monyoncho.
1. He is from Kegogi Ward in Kisii County
The ancestral home of Monyoncho is in Kegogi within Kitutu Chache, Kisii County.
He would rise in his day to become the father of modern Gusii music.
2. Monyoncho had two wives and 14 children
Renowned Benga artist Monyoncho was a polygamous man with a couple of wives and 14 children.
His two widows are Zipporah and Jane but little info is available about their children.
3. He was nicknamed Riyo Riebasweti
Locals nicknamed Monyoncho Riyo Riebasweti which translated to python skin.
- READ ALSO: Riakimai 91 Jazz Band Members [List]
He was named python skin because the Kisii Community maintains a strong belief in its medicinal value and ability to protect against evil spirits.
Even so, Monyoncho songs provided a magical gem to his followers.
4. He dropped out of high school for lacking Ksh. 45
Monyoncho joined Nyansakia Primary School at the age of 14 years. A lack of school fees saw him unable to proceed with secondary school studies.
- READ ALSO: 20 Best Traditional Kisii Musicians & Bands.
As a result, Monyoncho moved to Arusha, Tanzania as a casual labourer in a timber yard. Upon returning to Kenya, he enrolled at Matongo Government School.
The sharp and hardworking Monyoncho went on to serve as a school captain before a lack of school fees worth Ksh. 45 kicked him out of class for the second time.
5. Biography of Monyoncho on moving to Kericho tea farms in 1970
The frustrated Monyoncho joined Kericho tea workers in the hope of making a living for his poverty-stricken family.
He worked for a couple of years amid challenges of low pay and escalating differences with his boss.
Monyoncho eventually resigned in 1973 without enough savings. The rough experience saw him releasing debut song Emeremo Yamasamba.
“I was forced to resign from a tea estate by an arrogant supervisor in 1973. That prompted me to compose this song in collaboration with John Sitora and the Nyamwari Band.”Christopher Monyoncho.
He briefly became a timber worker before trying his luck in music.
6. Monyoncho was almost jailed for the song Emeremo Yamasamba
In his song “Emeremo Ya Mashamba,” Monyoncho narrates a near experience in Kericho Tea Estates.
- READ ALSO: Jared Mombinya Biography Facts.
The composition which capitalizes on the October 24th, 1973 ordeal was highly enlightening on the hazardous working conditions in Kericho Tea Estates.
Unpleased listeners sued Monyoncho for incitement. These judges were later withdrawn for a lack of solid evidence from his figurative lyrics.
7. Christopher Monyoncho founded Kegogi Jazz in 1975
Monyoncho who became an active singer in 1973 teamed up with Charles Omweri, Andrew Gitenyi, and Moses Oyaro Memba to start Kegogi Jazz in 1975.
The band grew even bigger in collaboration with John Sitora and Nyamwari Band.
8. He was a councillor of Kegogi ward between 1992 and 1997
Monyoncho campaigned into office as a chancellor of Kegogi Ward. The post did not silence his quest for music.
It is after serving for one term as a councillor that Monyoncho released his 19th album-hit song “Kumbe Siasa Nemechando” which means politics is troublesome.
“People come to you with all manner of problems and expect you to solve them. When you don’t, they hate you.”Christopher Monyoncho.
It is clear from the song that Monyoncho regretted joining politics in 1992.
9. Christopher Monyoncho biography on music lawsuits
Initially playing at weddings and funerals, Monyoncho went on embracing the full art of music.
His music enemies fought back with yet another lawsuit; accusing Monyoncho of corrupting young minds with romance and indecency.
- READ ALSO: Christopher Monyoncho Songs & Videos.
The local administration moved in with a monthly tax levy of Ksh. 86, to deter further production.
He would overcome the restrictions with a similar message but more creative lyrics.
10. Monyoncho died in 2013 at the age of 68 years
The singer fell ill-health after a trip to Nairobi. He was rushed to Christa Marianne Hospital in Kisii Town where he died while receiving treatment.
Born in 1945, Christopher Monyoncho age was 68 years at his death on October 3rd, 2013.He was buried within the same month on 18th, Friday.
To this day, Riyo Riebasweti remains the most passionate Benga singer of all time.
At the centre of it all is Christopher Monyoncho biography with a life story worth emulating.