Almost two decades ago, the regular airplay of Charles Odero Ademson aka Makadem debut raggamuffin single Mr. Lololova - had unwittingly launched then budding musician into the local showbiz scene limelight. Consequently, his emergent status as an upcoming 'rapper' - earned him the rare chance to prance on stage minutes before UK-based reggae star Maxi Priest's performance as the headliner act during Beats of the Season concert in 1999.

And barely a year later, when popular Congolese musician Awilo Longomba graced the same event's 2000 edition as main act - Makadem was yet again on the list of curtain-raisers. In 2001, 2002 and 2004 - the artiste was riding on a popularity crest. He earned curtain-raiser slots for several Reggae Summerfest concert performances headlined by leading Jamaican reggae artistes Gregory Isaacs, Culture band fronted by the late Joseph Hill and crooner Glen Washington.

But come 2005, as one of Spotlight on Kenyan Music series finalists, Makadem gradually embarked on the quest to transform his musical career. Having started out as a ragamuffin rapper, it dawned on him along the way that he needed to switch tracks. And years later on, Makadem's gamble to adopt a musical style that blends both traditional and modern influences paid off - becoming one of Kenya's visible contemporary Afro-fusion artistes.

He is no longer just a curtain raiser act - but often gets on stage among other headline acts at various festivals across the globe. Makadem has performed alongside late Afro-beat king Fela Kuti's son Seun Kuti besides being the opening act at the Cannes Film Festival and the Ollin Kan Festival in Mexico among other events in Europe, the UK and USA.

Prominent on Makadem's songs is an array of the lakeside Luo community instruments such as the orutu, ohangala drums and kalimba, which are performed alongside modern electric guitars, keyboard and drums. He has been described as an artiste whose deep understanding of his cultural roots is reflected in his compositions.

The fact that he hails from Nyanza region, which is home to Lake Victoria from whose shores Kenya's distinctive benga style took root, no doubt inspires Makadem to tap into the music of the genre's pioneers - most of whom trace their heritage to the region.

His debut 12-track CD titled Ohanglaman for instance, marked a distinct departure from his raggamuffin launching pad, as he embraced the composer of afro-fusion music identity. On this album, Makadem christened his songs as Anglo-Ohangla, which he once explained as being "a mixture of traditional Luo Ohangla, nyatiti beats and rhythms sprinkled with African and contemporary influences".

That over the years, Makadem has grown artistically is indisputable, extensively borrowing instrumental beats from traditional Luo ohangla and dodo rhythms. These are infused with percussions and contemporary, urban-driven Afro-beats complemented by heavily accented Luo-English vocals, perhaps an attempt to inject an indigenous flavour to his brand of music.

Makadem in concert