Music has the potential to change our society.
Moseh the drummist
In this day and age, the saying: your background doesn’t determine your future keeps being thrown left, right and centre till it has become cliché. However, very few people manage to actually walk the talk. In today’s feature we get one such person. From his humble background in Mathare to touring the world, his story is nothing short of inspiring. So today on the journey, we present to you, Moseh the Drummist :
Most people know you as Moseh the drummist but for those not in the know would you mind telling us your official names and share a bit of your background?
My names are Moses Ochieng’. I was born in Mathare in 1993. I was raised by a single parent after losing my mother at the young age of 11 that was in class 6 and being left with two younger sisters in kindergarten. I was a member of MYSA (Mathare Youth Sports Association) and I grew up with members of Sarabi, Siri and Lulu bands. I also played with a lot of bands such as H_art the band, Fardhilee, Stan, Abbi, Afro-simba and many more. I am an alumni of St. James Primary School and Eastleigh High.
How was life growing up in Mathare?
Life was quite simple but challenging. Due to some family issues after losing my mum, the relationship with my dad was a bit strained. Therefore, music was my escape. MYSA really helped me stay off trouble. Everyday after school we’d go there with Mandela and Co. from Sarabi and together with some other children we’d have some dance and music lessons.
Considering your strained relationship how did your dad handle your pursuit for music?
He was quite neutral in a way but a bit apprehensive at first. However, after hearing me mention MYSA quite a number of times, he came to see for himself what we were doing and considering the alternative paths, he was quite impressed. After that, didn’t try to stop me you can say he was a bit more supportive.
Please tell us about your musical journey from MYSA all the way to becoming Moseh the drummist?
I started by being a dancer and an acrobatic performer in MYSA. However, I also managed to pick up my first two instruments: The Ohangla and the Isikuti. These are Luo and Luhya traditional instruments respectively. I also dabbled with the Djembe drum from West Africa.
In high school I used to perform at the drama and music festivals.I even worked doubled as a choreographer for the traditional dances. I got to work with Qtasi too. After high-school is when I took up the name Moseh the drummist officially.
We understand you’ve had several opportunities to represent the country abroad could you list some of these moments for us?
- In 2010 I got a chance to represent Kenya in Europe for the 100 days festival in Spain.
- In 2011 I went to France.
- In 2012 I got to tour Italy and Dubai.
- In 2013 I went to Italy.
- In 2014 I went to Sweden under PAYO based in Juja.
- In 2015 I did France again.
- In 2016 I went to China to the Chimelong circus.
How do you handle mistakes on stage?
For me I look at my performances like driving. I can’t afford to lose my cool so I just smile and carry on.
How is your practice schedule set up?
I go to practice at the Nairobi Ensemble. My practice time is 8am-3pm from Tuesday to Thursday.
Apart from music are you involved in any other activities you’d like to share?
Yes, I work with children in Mathare. This is my way of giving back and presenting an opportunity as was presented to me. I am also involved with the Pan Africanism Movement which allows you to go to any country and showcase your authenticity.
Considering all these things you have going, how do you balance your work and home life?
Honestly, it’s quite hard but I had to learn how to schedule myself.
In your musical journey what are some of the most iconic moments you treasure?
Back when I was learning the drums I used to walk all the way from Eastleigh (MYSA) all the way to the Godown arts centre. Money for lunch was really hard to come by so it was a real struggle but I never quit I kept going.
Playing in front of His Exellency former president Mwai Kibaki at Fahari Africa.
Lastly, I play the drums to spread out energy from the heart, therefore any time people appreciate my work and art that is a memorable moment.
Who/ what are a must have in your playlist?
I love reggae, some Burning Spear is a must. I also listen to Richard Bona and Suzanna Owiyo.
Aside from my playlist, I prefer live music any time.
Could you give us 5 random facts about yourself?
- I am a loving, positive and humble vessel of God.
- I believe in the principle of Learn, Share and Explore.
- I am free to work with any band ans I can teach anyone what I do.
- I look forward to rise but not as a celebrity but as a positive impact to other peoples lives.
- I love travelling and I can share time with those who are innovative.
- I also believe music has the potential to change our society.
To close us off, what do you make of the Kenyan Music industry?
We need to play more Kenyan music in all our media platforms around 60-70%.
Artistes should also ditch their egos and collaborate more so as to progress and reach a wider audience.
We also need mentorship programmes for the young ones for the future generations.
We should also stop focusing more on festivals and start coming up with small gigs to allow growth of upcoming artistes and the industry at large.
Musicians also need to interact with the communities more so as to spread their influence and connect more with the people.
To connect with Moseh just click on the links below: