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BY KORIR JUMA,/CORESPONDENT,BUSIA,4TH JAN,2017-Entertainment and music artists fraternity is mourning the death of Veteran musician Gabriel Omolo who is behind hit song “Lunchtime” who passed away on Thursday morning.Omolo died while recieving treatment at the Busia District Hospital after he was admitted on 31st December last year.He died at age 80
Until his death, Gabriel was among the few surviving greats of the Swahili music generation of the 1960s until the 90s.
Though he is originally from Ugunja, Siaya County, where he spent most of his early years ,he was born in 1939, at the time his parents were working for Kenya railways corporation and stayed at Kenya Railways quarters with his parents around Muthurwa Nairobi.
Gabriel, who was among the few surviving veteran musicians of the 1960s and 70s.
He learnt how to play the guitar while at St Peter Claver Primary School, where he also sang in the choir.
He begun his singing career in 1960s when he joined the iconic Equator Sound Band where he played alongside Daudi Kabaka, Fadhili William, Zambian legend Nashil Pichen Kazembe and Peter Tsoti .
The band was formed in 1960 by veteran producer Charles Worrod who also managed the Equator Sounds Studio.
He has also co-produced other notable hits among them polle Musa” the song was an original composer of Tsotsi.
Besides performing with the Equator sound Band, Gabriel also performed with the Eagles band Blue Shades and later Apollo Komesha band.
A remix version of his “Lunchtime” (originally released in 1970) was done 35 years later in 2005 by the late Poxi Presha and Kenyan-based Congolese singer Paddy Makani.
Gabriel was the first Kenyan musician to be awarded an International Golden Disc for the sales of his single, “Lunchtime” in September 1974.his hit song sold over 150,000 copies in East and West Africa by that time.
The company’s vice-president, Joop Buinink, flew to Nairobi to be present when the permanent secretary for Information and Broadcasting, John Ithau, officially handed over the plaque to Omolo at the Panafric Hotel in Nairobi.
As a result of this achievement, he was selected as the first musician in the country to be awarded the Guinness Stout Effort Award in September 1974.
Omolo and his band, Apollo Komesha, had recorded 20 singles for Phonogram with total sales of 300,000 copies, more than the 80 bands contracted to the company together.
He has had his song feature on entertainment items during several public holidays mostly for Mashujaa Day celebrations in 2010 and a Head of State Commendation (HSC) a year later.