By Frank Oyosa
“Nashangaa na dunia, watu wengi wako mbio kutafuta vya dunia…” True to these words, the human race has been awfully blinded by the pleasures of the world so much so that respect and regard for human dignity have been thrown to the dogs. Our utterances, actions and lifestyle are fueled by personal desires, we no longer live to the glory of God but ourselves. We have entirely lost the values and ethics that differentiate us from animals and not even the loud undertones of the Golden Rule mean anything to us. Nonetheless, the lyrics that follow that powerful opening line bring out a perfect recipe for our own introspection.
Yet even before we are done with the self-examination, in his own words prof reminds us that “Liko wazi lango la mwokozi…lango la wokovu.” And just how lucky can we be that God’s unending love has His door always open for us whenever we turn back to Him! Professor John Mugubi, the Dean School of Creative arts, Film and Media Studies, Kenyatta University, has embarked on a journey to remind us this. He seems to have seized the perfect time to pass through the door and discover the other side to profess the gospel lyrically. In his young age, having achieved all that accords him the status of a professor, he outrightly made a decision to defy the odds, go beyond the confines of his title and start another journey. A journey in to the world of prophetic music.
Yet it is not just the words from his songs that are compelling. The ease and simplicity with which he plays around with his wide vocal range and synchronizes the lyrics into the beats is just, for lack of a better word, amazing. And that’s not just it! As a creative, prof has mastered the art of poetic exploration, and skillfully infuses poetic language and literary elements in to his music like a pinch of salt. Not too much, yet just the right portion to make the music lyrically delicious. Following the opening line of his latest single release Neno Litasimama, prof goes on “…mungu hawampi sikio, mambo yanapo badilika, ndipo wanapo kumbuka kwamba yeye bwana mungu, yake tu ndo yadumu”
If the truth conveyed in these words does not tick your soul, then wait till you interact with the emotions. The attachment he devotes to the lyrics does nothing else but to help add more eloquence to the already strong messages without much effort. Whether watching the videos or just listening to the audio, you will see, hear and feel him communicate to the deepest part of your soul. Interestingly though, with his social and friendly character, unless you find him in his musical spaces, you would never imagine him on the microphone.
Coming from a strong religious background, Prof’s spiritual engagements landed him to the back bench of the church’s choir as a deep-toned bass vocalist. For years on end, he has not only been a devoted Christian but an ardent choir member. However, his quest for academic excellence could not permit him to explore his musical side, and it is until he felt he has got to the peak of his scholarly journey, that he decided it was time to spread wings further in a different direction.
Luckily for him, at the moment he has nothing much to lose by serving his heavenly master in the best way he can. In any case, he is one of the few professors who have attained the peak of Maslow’s Hierarch of human needs, the Self Actualization. And from the look of things, he is definitely enjoying the ride. “It feels nice and satisfying to know that I am fulfilling God’s expectations of me despite the professional life, and it becomes even more interesting to know that many people did not see this coming.” His music is available on YouTube.
It is close to impossible to ignore prof’s music and if by any chance you are bold enough to, then you are definitely not going to ignore the reality of the words in the music. Each one of us has a responsibility to God, and that responsibility is fulfilled by our service to humanity. And just like prof, we ought to recognize our talents and make use of them to fulfil this responsibility our social, political or academic status notwithstanding.