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+++ Watch us perform live on Sunday afternoons from 1 pm to 4:30 pm at Dari Restaurant, Ngong Road 165, Karen, Nairobi (next to St. Christopher's School) +++
Genre of silent caressing music - (Society, Sunday Standard February 26, 2006)

THERE is something intimate about listening to the ethnic flavoured melodies that blend with a jazz feel as created and played by Juma Tutu. Heavily laced with rich Kiswahili and Giriama poetry, the music transports the mind into another land leaving one meditating on the diverse issues that the caressing melodies and lyrics capture.
Tutu, a self-taught singer who performed at the Alliance Francaise in Nairobi last Friday has melodies that are finely tuned instincts.

Backed up by the self named Tutu Band - four gorgeous lady singers, two flexible dancers and a team of instrumentalists - the singer personifies abstract concepts through his evocative music. At one time, he is a lover on bended knee, another time he is an exorcist before turning into a social and political commentator.

Through vivid imagery, the singer provokes the imagination through his train of thought.

'Sukari', a Swahili piece, offers a creative non-preachy song of caution. Just like the swivelling Salsa beat, the modified Mwanzele beat of the Giriama people from the Coast leaves the song tasty.
A figurative caution against time allure of casual sex, Sukari captures the drama of entrapment into wrong romantic relationships and the ugly aftermath of the same.

"I always manipulate instruments to express my deep feelings," says Tutu whose music is dominated by lyrical instrumentation as opposed to dancing and lyrics. "To convey the feelings, I tune the instruments to tell my story. When I want to grab the attention of the listener for instance, I choose very heavy notes. This tunes them in before putting on my next move."
In a slow paced romantic song, wedding bells ring through the calculated beats of the trumpets, the saxophones and even the guitars. The melodies are intensely visual: reminding one of the romantic weddings by the beach, the ingenious stuff that only Hollywood stuff is made of.

"Saxophone plays even that most romantic feeling that a man cannot ordinarily depict," says the imaginative Tutu who was also a winner in the last year's Spotlight On Kenyan Music, an exciting and competitive talent search that pushed his first song into a compilation album.

Despite most of the local singers turning to virtual music - a brand of music created using machines in the studios - Juma Tutu strongly believes in live music. He speaks passionately of the irreplaceable place of live concerts. He says it is in live performances that the artists meet the consumer, interacts with them and offers them his music, not as per earlier recorded but according to their moods and wants. "One is able to express themselves freely, giving the fans a chance to immerse themselves freely into the music by inviting there to perform along."

Unlike most of the singers who usually hire dancers for gigs, Juma has two regular dancers that he has trained from scratch.
"Their role is crucial as they are supposed to convey the deep meaning of the music through dance, movement, facial expressions and a bit of meaningful drama," says the dreadlocked Juma.

After a generous donation of Sh 800,000 from a fan, Juma rushed into a musical equipment store and bought musical instruments and amplifiers. Today, the brother of Nyota Ndogo, the Mombasa based diva, is on his musical career path big time. He has even moved to Nairobi from his base in Mombasa to realise his dream of recording memorable albums that will compete at the international arena.

According to Tabu Osusa, a music producer who produced Sukari, Juma is full of potential. The specialist in Afro-fusion says that music by Juma is very poetic and will go places.

However, the singer who says that he composes impulsively, must work thoroughly on some of the raw songs that, he performed. They include Maziwa, Alongozi that bemoans poor leadership and Maji that lacks the poetry that comes with exquisite music.

Though he stumbled into music in search of school fees, it is not the schooling that was to be Juma's future but music.

He has played with Them Mushrooms, Mzee Ngala's Bango Sounds and even the Santa Ngoma formerly known as Generation Band whose evergreen Giriama song Hinde still echoes in the minds of many lovers of Kenyan music of yesteryears.