This past Saturday I got back to Nairobi all set and eager to see live on stage Ayub Ogada.
This, I understand, was his second performance in Kenya since he got back to country, a little over 2 years ago. It was going to be my first to see him perform live.
Ayub Ogada stands out as arguably the best known Kenyan musician internationally, though still very much unknown or celebrated in his very own backyard- Kenya.
On arrival at the venue, at the Goethe-Institut in downtown Nairobi, I was pleasantly surprised to be greeted by an overflowing hall. It was literally bursting at its seams, figuratively speaking, I could not get a sitting space let alone a place to stand I was by the side door poking my head to see and hear this world music legend.
And he certainly didn’t disappoint and more importantly the audience struck a chord with his unique sound and his mastery of the Nyatiti (a lyre-like stringed instrument). There was group of young men (most likely college kids from the near-by University of Nairobi) singing along with him providing him with much needed back-up support considering he was doing a solo act.
He played, to the audience appreciation, tracks from his debut album, "En Mana Kuoyo". And the evening couldn't be complete without him playing the world-favorite "Kothbiro" track which was the highlight of the evening.
Ayub Ogada combination of sound (both of lyrical content and raw sounds) and of the Nyatiti produces a potent musical quality (much of it in his local language- Luo) that wow-ed the crowd in attendance and he is undoubtedly Kenya’s musical jewel.
I’m looking forward to seeing more of him in the coming days and months in various local stages.
Welcome home Ayub and we love you and your music!