“My real name is Jumba Chagala, but my work name is ‘Master’. I’m 50 years old, from the Western part of Kenya.
My kind of music is… first of all, as a musician and a teacher, I like all music. Once, Bob Marley said, “music is music… and music is message.” Message, melody and the arrangement. Any kind of music… so long as the music is good, I don’t have any choice. I love music.
The Kenyan musicians I admire are… first of all, H_ART the BAND and Sauti Sol… I think those are the kind of inspirational bands I respect for now.
My challenge at the moment is… people accepting our music… because we use traditional instruments first. Modern instruments like guitars.. they’re back-ups. They used to call percussionists “backups” but we in Abakisimba musical troupe, that’s the kind of music we’re trying to collect – different instruments from different tribes, all 42 tribes. So we have to play together to make a Kenyan sound by drums. So the way we’re doing now is creating and fusing guitars, vocals both in our languages and other languages, Swahili and English and we do hip hop, reggae and all kinds of music. So our challenge is for Kenyans first to accept what we’re doing.
What brings me to the Alchemist is… I work in the Ada Studio… Backyard Bass (now Backyard Bar). We started it with producer Matthew. We came with an idea to bring ‘Percussion Discussion’ here every Sunday, so we kept on doing it until now we do Fridays and Saturdays. Now we’re inviting different bands. On Fridays we have DJs, and on Saturday’s we have different bands. So we’re inviting people to come and have a taste of those different artistes.
My first time at the Alchemist was… two years ago.”