Recently I was able to have a chat with the remarkably talented Tetu Shani. His latest release “Jacaranda Tree” has a beautiful rhythm which just makes you nod your head as you listen to it. The experienced guitarist lends his mastery of the instrument to the song really making it his own. To say the least ,this song is quite relaxing and the expressiveness in his half-sung half-spoken lyrics definitely makes you wanna listen to it more than once!
How would you describe your music?
I tend to call my sound Mood Music because my primary objective with my music is to strike an emotional chord with the listener.My sound is a combination of folk storytelling with hip hop swag and the experimentation of alternative music.
Who are your influences?
I’m influenced heavily by Jack Johnson’s early albums, Coldplay and Jason Mraz’s acoustic approach to live performance. D’angelo, Rafael Saadiq and Lauryn Hill are influences as well as Just A Band, Asa and Bez on the African front.
What is your favorite song by yourself?
My favorite song by myself is“An Ode to Pa”. It came from such an emotional place since I wrote it for my dad.I have others that are favorites but haven’t recorded them yet.
What would you like to achieve in the future?
I would like to create a new and distinctly Kenyan sound to put an end to the “why don’t we have a uniquely Kenyan sound?” argument and I’ve made progress! I’m currently working on a new genre of folk music that I call “Chakuti.”It is a combination of chakacha and isikuti rhythms with Western style arrangement and harmony.
Where do you see yourself in the next 2-5 years?
A year ago I was just a professional percussionist in the live music circuit and I had not written a single song. Now I’ve written almost 30 songs. I haven’t the foggiest idea where I might be in 5 years.