If there’s one person who could teach the whole world about spontaneity, authenticity and dynamism, it would be none other than 32 year old Tetu Shani. Before you can actually trace his trail, he’s brought with him another dimension, just like his music style, if you listen to it well enough. He calls himself the Troubadour of Africa, but well, he could still earn a title of the ‘Free Flowing River of Africa.’
I’m always changing. Am not so static, as my personality is very dynamic. When I mix with a different people, I start to sound like them, dress like them.
There’s something about music and image that brings out the true image of a person. A fluidity and identity that comes straight from the heart and is brought out through words and style. As for Tetu Shani, a percussionist and singer he’s managed this so well when it comes to performing on stage. “I’m always changing. Am not so static, as my personality is very dynamic. When I mix with a different people, I start to sound like them, dress like them. I reflect whatever my influences are at that moment and time. I am more into Afro pop majorly because that’s the kind of environment that I’m in right now. Kenya unfortunately, you want to make a living, you need to make music that is palatable, something people can dance to and that’s where I am.”
Born in Nairobi and having lived in several countries in Africa and beyond, we had some time to seat with the Troubadour to get exactly what makes his style tick. Having worn his signature hat, a denim flare and a pair of white converses, our curiosity to find out more about him struck even higher than the moon.
7. “My music generally has themes, be it African fusion or rock. A free flowing vibe that resonates with my dressing style. I love clothes that allow me to have a wide range of movement, bold and colourful like the Kimono Genteel made me for the last Koroga Festival.
6. “I am passionate about making a difference, which is my idea of leaving a legacy. The ‘Whys’ mean so much to me because they pave way to so much more.
5. “When it comes to reading, the NBA Playoffs would be my main focus because I love basketball to bits. Other than that, I always peruse through life articles on Medium. My career aspirations come from different things. I have some songs written that have been inspired by a quote. One book that has really struck me is the ‘Outliers‘ by Malcolm Gladwell. How to achieve Mastery.
4. “I don’t travel much like I used to but my most memorable travel story was the East Africa Soul Train from Nairobi to Mombasa. Here, we transformed compartments of the train to different creative spaces. The theme we had was moving through time and space but in one position. We therefore checked in at the Distant Relatives in Kilifi and I definitely had my free flow style. When shopping for clothes whether locally or abroad, I go for quality as opposed to a thrift shop. I am the type who would go for a pair of jeans that I can wear for 6 years. I hate Gikomba.
3. ” When I am not reading or playing music, ‘Netflix and Chill’ is definitely my thing. I look for really good movies. Currently, ‘Money Heist’ just struck me.
2. “My most thrilling moment at any performance was a show I did in J’s in Westlands on February 18th this year. Why? because the crowd was so engaging. I had worn a black Chinese collar, black jeans and my white pair of converses. I also had a brass cuff on my wrists. Man! it was energy!
1.” My favourite brand is H&M because they have a budget I can afford, they cater for my dimension as I am a 6’4 athletic built. Actually one of the reasons I would love to partner with Genteel is because of their fit to measure approach, which calls for a fluidity that I love. I would like to end by saying, find a style that’s authentically you. Something that will suit your body type, skin and tone.”
Want to get to one of his gigs soon?
Find him on Facebook as Tetu Shani