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Popular Mugithi singer Salim Junior passes on

Popular one-man-guitar musician Paul Mwangi Salim, better known as Salim Junior, died Saturday morning at the War Memorial Hospital in Nakuru.

Armed with a guitar, a melodious voice and a knack for covering popular Kikuyu songs from the seventies and the eighties, Salim Junior made a name for himself among fans of mugithi, a popular Kikuyu rendition of songs made into lengthy medleys.

His brother Njuguna Salim, also known as Mighty Salim, said the popular musician had a chest infection for the past month and had gone to their rural home in Subukia about three weeks ago.

“Salim Junior’s condition worsened yesterday morning and the family rushed him to hospital in Nakuru, where he died. I can’t say much because God’s will cannot be changed by man. I have lost a mentor,” said Mr Njuguna, adding that his brother used to live at Kahawa West in Nairobi with his wife and daughter and had gone to Subukia to rest.


Mr Njuguna said the body of the musician is at the War Memorial Hospital mortuary as the family embarks on burial arrangements at his rural home in Arash village in Subukia, Nakuru county.

He recalled that his brother’s last show was about a month ago during the festive season in the company of Mike Rua, who also sings mugithi covers of popular Kikuyu songs.


One-man-guitarist Paul Mwangi, also known as Salim Junior. PHOTO | FILE
Mwangi, also known as Salim Junior. PHOTO | FILE

Salim Junior, 43, was the first-born in a family of musicians. Apart from Mighty Salim, two sisters and another brother are in the music industry.

The brothers are inclined to mugithi, which are basically covers of the music of Joseph Kamaru, Rugwiti wa Njeri, Daniel Kamau (D.K), and others.

Salim Junior’s brand of music increased in popularity in the early 2000s as the concept of “one-man guitarist” grew. The concept entails a solo performer with a guitar, accompanied by a drummer, in front of a live audience that is encouraged to participate.


Soon after news of the death spread, fans and colleagues trooped to social media platforms, with many describing Salim Junior as a music legend who transformed the mugithi genre.

Nominated Senator Martha Wangari shared a picture of Salim Junior on her Facebook page, saying: “You left too soon brother, but your contribution in #OneManGuitar and mugithi songs will never fade from our hearts. Gone in peace, rest with the angels.”

Many others termed the singer a music legend whose songs were very educative.

Inooro FM presenter Jeff Kuria said the death had robbed Kenya a super star. “I’m like a three-legged stool whose one leg has been broken. Kenya has lost a promising man whose void will take long to fill. I was one of his greatest fans,” he said.

He described Salim Junior as a mugithi king.

The death comes just two days after the burial of popular Kalenjin singer Diana Chelele Mutai. Diana was found murdered at her house in Bomet county.