You can learn to love sweet, intoxicating mugithi music

By Njoki Kaigai | Sunday, Jul 29th 2018 at 00:00
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One of my girlfriends recently called me feeling rather exasperated about her boyfriend. The bone of contention is that he likes to religiously attend mugithi nights and insists that she comes along. Her preferred choice of entertainment is some hip joint where she can dance to the latest tunes from Harmonise and Davido and so she basically finds this whole mugithi thing of Man Njoro, Man Symo performances annoying.

Her boyfriend has let her know that boycotting mugithi is akin to ending the relationship so was asking me if I canprovide a way out for her. Mugithi music is an acquired taste - but once the taste is acquired it can be quite sweet, intoxicatingand addictive. So here are a few tips for those who find themselves learning to lovemugithi.

For starters, attending mugithi nights does not demand that one dresses up. One canshow up in virtually anything – from T-shirts from the last election campaign to even the woolly shapeless sweaters that many like to wear.

For mugithi nights one does not have to invest in corsets, form-fitting bandage dresses, killer heels and tonnes of makeup. Mugithi nights are all about come as you are - which in these harsh economic times counts for a lot.

Of course, the downside is that one cannot use the need to spruce up for mugithi nights to request for funding for new hair and new nails. Let us just say - mugithi nights are hassle-free and pocket friendly at least in terms of beauty.

Another positive thing about mugithi musicis that it is not injurious to the body and does not cause massive damage to delicate joints and tender body parts.

It starts with the mugithi artistes who usually stand like ramrod poles for hours on end with the only sign of intense activity being their fingers strumming on the guitar and their vocal chords giving the crowd what they need.

This calm demeanour is transferred to the mugithi lovers who comfortably go home with their bodies intact - free from any damage of broken limbs or torn ligaments. This is because Mugithi dancing is not about twerking like Beyonce, kwangaruing like Diamond or rotating the groin like Ferra Gola.

All that mugithi requires from mere mortals is easy non-vigorous side to side movements, with the occasional hand movements to accompany the serious lyrics that are usually a staple of mugithi music.

Unless in very rare moments that might be brought about by drink or some semi-romantic lyrics, mugithi music does not call for too much proximity between dancers and therefore we can safely say that it is generally good for the soul.

One of the hidden often downplayed benefits of mugithi is the lyrics of most songs are cathartic for the soul and cater for a broad spectrum of tastes. On one hand, you have songs that are full of proverbs and sayings, others which tell loves stories and some which really make no sense (karanga chapo is one such song).

Yet the most important ones are those that are played after 1am, when alcohol has loosened all possible inhibitions.

At this hour, the one-man guitar will make one of two choices in his performance - choice one could be to play those X-rated songs which would turn Ezekiel Mutua’s super-black hair grey in anger. Most mugithilovers will tell you that most male mugithilovers consider these songs to be sufficient foreplay and at this interlude, they decide to reap the fruits of their investment.

Choice two is usually some form of gospel (aka kigoco); where for some reason I am yet to understand, revellers choose to praise and bless the Almighty most earnestly and soulfully. It really depends on how one opts to look at things but mugithi night cantherefore serve as pleasure and church - all wrapped in one - because that 1am hour really takes people very close to God, and in more ways than one.

Just like many other Kenyans, I had hoped that mugithi would die a natural death for after all, what is so big about music that has four musical beats at most and that has only two movements and usually has lots of recycled/remixed songs.

Yet is has displayed an interesting resilience and now we even have young folks recording good songs and videos and many young folks going for mugithi nights. So, I guess we must accept that mugithi is here to stay though I wish someone would put an end to those videos which inexplicably feature gyrating ladies. There is no better way to say it - but mugithi and gyrating are a visual eyesore.


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