Known for his traditional cadences, Ayub Ogada could not disappoint alongside Tetu Shani and Ciano Maimba, the guys he praised for delivering great sounds and wondered why they were not at the pinnacle of music stardom.
Ayub Ogada is one of Africa’s epic musicians, his music is widely appreciated mainly because of its deep cultural nuances and experience, he is well known for traditional music treated with the sound of the Nyatiti. The legendary musician, born Job Seda, is one unique artist, he has performed in various stages and his name called out at numerous festivals all over the world and made a name as one of the great composers from Africa. Despite having a huge reputation worldwide, Ogada rarely performs in his home country Kenya, but December 2016 would change much of that as the legend, who was born in the country’s coastal town of Mombasa brought his legacy to Nairobi.
Ogada dusted off his beloved Nyatiti and boarded a flight from his current place of residence in Kisumu to Nairobi for what would be a thrilling performance dubbed Prescription Live held at the Alchemist Bar. The event organized by DJ Eugenio Battoli, showcased some of the distinctively imperceptible musicians that would include; Tetu Shani, Ciano Maimba, Lucky Birdi, Kechi and the EA Wave collective among other musicians leading a musical major renaissance in Kenya.
Ogada-also an actor-would as expected impress the crowd some of whom had come to witness the man who rarely plays at Kenya’s major performances but whose music and legendary status has remained intact for over two decades. Ogada’s prescription came in the form of his mastery of the traditional 8-stringed instrument Nyatiti.
The 60-year-old’s performance lifted the spirit of the crowd, his warm voice draining the noise from the bar with authentic African cultural music, Ogada sat on a chair ordained with his signature hat, army-green shirt, a leather poach hanging on his neck as jangling anklets rhythmically complimented the Nyatiti with an easy tap of his feet. His intimate and laid back approach resonated aptly with the atmosphere that spoke of music; an exchange of vibes and echoes of the string.
Ogada, whose compositions are mostly in his Luo tongue, rode a different horse at Prescription Live, mingling freely with the much younger generation, characterized by restless eyes, inquisitiveness and short attention span, he would crack jokes and throw in a smile as he taught the audience a bit of his lyrics and in unison response they sang along to some of his compositions in utter beauty. As his performance died down, the well -travelled performer stirred it all up with the classic ‘Kothbiro’; used as a soundtrack for the move ‘The Constant Gardener’, much to the delight of the crowds lost in the majestic music.
The showcase at the exhilarating night event was a revelation of the mature and rich talent from the Kenyan music scene; the wide-ranging electronic music, to witty-lyricism and great songwriting, as Ciano Maimba took his spot on stage, the guitar laid easy on his hands as he went on to put up a spirited performance a display of his skills; an enviable one man guitarist. His vocals and mastery in music, the melodic package bore a rare experience of poetry, the boundless energy displayed by his young bones won over the crowd a fitting elegy to some level of honesty in his music. Ciano is upcoming guitarist and vocalist who has performed at various key spots around East Africa.
The strings seem not to let go of the night as Tetu Shani the able songwriter stood tall before his band, a strum of his hypnotic guitar lines would rhythmically pull crowds to different directions but crown them a fitting rhythm with his mood music, the Nairobi based musician is on his own path crafting a unique kind of music that he calls Mood Music.
The perfect performance and interlude by various DJs made the night a worthwhile liberating experience. Prescription Live was an example of a show that proved organizers knew what the audience loved and at the same time appreciated the legends in music.
Prescription Live event begun in December 19th 2015 at Juniper’s Kitchen in Nairobi, the first show was a DJ performance of seven hand-picked DJ’S who provided musical prescription to listeners enjoying barbecue.
The Prescription Live show was a levitating new experience with the prospects of becoming one of the most important shows in Kenya, as Ayub Ogada who was clearly moved by performances from the young gifted artist quipped “the value of music is in its appreciation”.