Ulwenya was born into the Luya ethnic group in the Maragoli
area of Western Kenya, an area known for producing many
of Kenya's top musicians.
Frank started to play guitar at age 10 and at 18 began
to play in a group called the Sky Raiders, based in
Nairobi, Kenya. From 1979 to 1985 he worked as a disc
jockey and played in three different bands: Earthquake,
Madics, and Ise Ise.
1985, after moving to Seattle to work for the Boeing
Company, Frank started meeting with friends to play
music. At the suggestion of other Kenyans, this informal
group started to perform together as Ujamaa.
1987, Frank founded his current ensemble, L'Orchestra
Afrisound, with other African and American musicians.
Frank and Afrisound have become an important fixture
on the local Seattle scene, especially for the East
African community, for whom Frank is considered the
musical standard-bearer. A key member of the Pacific
Northwest Kenyan association and other African organizations,
Frank and Afrisound are a mainstay at regional African
community events and in Seattle clubs.
recently, Frank has been playing bass with Yoka Nenze,
also featured on Safarini. Frank Ulwenya is represented
on the CD by two songs - Chakacha, which invites
a woman named Kamitina to dance, and Safarini,
with Afrisound. "Safarini" means "in transit', but the
song is really about life, from when you are born until
when you are gone: "Take your time, stay cool… Only
the Almighty knows our fate." The song mentions the
city of Seattle, one of the destinations on his life