Veteran musician Gabriel Omolo Aginga of the “Lunch Time” hit song has passed on.
Omolo was among the few surviving veteran musicians of the 1960s and 70s. He died after a short illness on Wednesday night at the Busia Referral Hospital.
His counterpart Charles Makawita said that the 79-year-old singer had died from breathing complications after being admitted to the hospital on Tuesday.
“His widow, Alice Adeya, called me last evening to the hospital when she realised his condition had deteriorated,” said Charles .
The two musicians were childhood friends who both hail from Nyabeda Village in Uholo, Ugunja, Siaya County.
Radio broadcaster James Onyango Joel, who also hails from Ugunja, he had also learnt of the musician’s death through the widow.
“Omolo was one of the best composers whose music will be remembered for its enticing social commentaries,” Onyango said.
Until the time of his demise Gabriel was among the few surviving greats of the Swahili music generation of the 1960s to the 90s.
Born in 1939, Omolo was raised at the Kenya Railways quarters of Muthurwa and later in Makongeni, Nairobi.
He learnt how to play the guitar while at St Peter Claver Primary School, where he also sang in the choir.
Gabriel hit fame in 1960s when he joined the iconic Equator Sound Band formed by producer Charles Warrod where he played alongside Daudi Kabaka, Fadhili William, Zambian legend Nashil Pichen Kazembe and Peter Tsoti .
Gabriel also played the bass guitar on the famous “Pole Musa” a composition by Tsotsi.
Veteran producer and band manager Tabu Osusa, who oversaw the release of “Lunch Time”, said: “We have lost of the Kenyas’ best singers.”
The veteran singer’s burial arrangements are yet to be released.
Many musicians across the country have sent in their condolences to the family of the late Gabriel Omolo.