Filah Redfourth; one of the best Kenyan arrangers and composers of vocal music

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Tell us a little bit about the background of Filah, what does Red Fourth mean, who are the members, how did it come about and how did each member get into the group?

Thank you, my name is Filah but my legal names are Philip Tuju Sijenyi, I fell in love with music at a very young age but took it seriously in high school at Upper Hill School, when I joined the choir.

I was introduced to harmony and It was heaven to me; how so many voices could come together to form something so beautiful. It was then that I vowed I would work towards being an arranger and composer of vocal music.

Later in my final years of high school I formed a vocal group called Pentamony, which also made me grow in the area of songwriting, arranging and stage performance. On clearing Upper Hill, I decided to stay on as a volunteer choir trainer as the official music teacher was retiring.

I have volunteered at Upper Hill since 2002 to date. It has been fulfilling and I have learnt a lot from teaching others. Some of my former students at Upper Hill include members of Sauti Sol (who are my students to date), Josh of Amos and Josh, Bryan of Elani.

It is on this back ground that I felt I should start a music school that would continue my work as a music mentor. I with the help of my friend founded the Redfourth Academy of Music, Dance and Drama. Through the music school, I started the Redfourth Chorus that brings together young aspiring singers from various backgrounds in what we call ‘the spirit of music’.

Hahaha! Redfourth doesn’t mean anything it just sounded cool. Don’t you think so?

Filah Red Fourth
Filah Red Fourth

What kind of music do you do, is it Afro-Jazz, Afro-Pop, Afro-Reggae or what is it? Do you have a specific sound associated with your band?

We do a variety of genres but the styles that stand out in our music is Afro Fusion, Classical, Gospel, Acapella barbershop

What are you musical influences; bands, musicians or just people who inspire your music?

Personally, I am inspired by RnB. There is a lot of that influence in the music I make. I believe that has influenced the choir’s music greatly

What challenges have you endured during your musical journey?

The most genuine and of course cliché answer would be finances. A dream without money is a bit hectic to make come true.

I for a long time in my volunteering days as choir trainer, I used to walk from Upper Hill School to Moi Girls Nairobi and later to Statehouse Girls High School and Ngara Girls, all on foot. I was very hungry and broke but I believed I was becoming a better musician by teaching others.

Do you think there is a future in the Kenyan music industry?

There is definitely a future for the Industry; in fact it is a bright future, the fact that we are still a young and non defined industry, means that things can only get better from where we are. We have a very passionate and driven younger generation who will make a mark on the world stage.

If you had to change one thing in the Kenyan music industry what would that be?

I would make it more receptive to all styles of music and not just a pop sound.

If you had a chance for an international collaboration, who would it be and why?

My all time favorite would be Rkelly. He is a composer, producer, performer, and one who believes in working with large vocal ensembles.

If you were not doing music what you would be doing?

My other passion is film making. I hope to still actualize that. So yes, I would be a film maker.

Where do you see Filah Red Fourth in the next 10 years?

I personally see myself as a dependable authority in music education. I envision Redfourth Academy and Chorus as a world wide musical franchise that is committed to service to everyone through music.

Word of advice to aspiring musicians? (Each member can answer individually)

Dream. And be there to see it come true.

Where can people buy your music/concert tickets/ or which clubs do you play in?

Our original music is not yet released and will be available on all music platforms including iTunes.

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