Music and Matatu;Is there a positive side or just noice?

02 Nov

Music is known to do much more than just entertain; it is a means of conveying messages and also a tool for instilling knowledge. I know this as a fact after twelve years sitting behind the wheels of a matatu. My job description involves entertaining my passengers with lots of music.

I have used the word–  lot–  because what I have in my office is not just music; A Sony car stereo –A JEC equalizer- 2 KENWOOD sound boosters- 6 KENWOOD  mid range speakers: 2 sub-woofers and not forgetting about six Sony  twitters.  This is the kind of music system that is fit for a disco hall, but all the same a matatu is not really a matatu if it does not have something close to this.

My job as the driver cum DJ, puts me in control of the sound booster. I choose the tracks but not neccesally the volume { passengers demand always goes over what i call loud music. They are paying extra cash to be entertained. and wants nothing but heavy metal} all the same, My favorite is Reggae and not just any Reggae music; Bob Marley’s kind of Reggae- although I also play other kinds of music like, soul, hip-hop and so on. Over the years I have listened to thousands of Reggea tracks and it is for this reason I want to explore this one popular reggae artist BOB MARLEY.

He was a legend in the music industry and still remains one of the most celebrated entertainers in the world. I own this one combination of the greatest hits Bob ever released. The CD,- [which I converted to other modes to make sure I preserve it for as long as I can;] was put tongether by DJ Lastborn; a very popular DJ with the  Black Supremacy sounds. Utapata kuisikiza hata kama wewe ni nani;[ You will have to listen to this no matter who you are.} is the message the DJ have for the listeners.

I normally play the album in the evening traffic when the speed limit is 20 KMs/h  or less. My mostly very tired customers after a day’s work wants nothing but rejuvenation.

It starts off with BOB MARLEY sharing his frustrations with the system- the first line is easy to sing along– You have got tired to see my face; but you can’t get me out of the race. then he goes on to say that– he want to disturb his neighbors, coz he is feeling so right,   Majority of people aged Twenty-five and over, knows the musician too well to not appreciate his musical voice.

From my driving mirror I start noticing a few shaking of heads as the second track Jamming takes over the airwaves. Bob Marley is asking the my passengers if they want to jam with him in the name of lord- He tells them that Jah is seated in mount Zion and rules all creation. I start to hear a few humming and sing-along’s here and there.

Then follows the -; Is this love; is this love that I’m feeling?- Bob now comes in like a hustler; who is not yet sure if he is in love or not; but,  he is willing and able;  ready to settle with his lover in his single room and pray to Jah to provide the bread. As passengers contemplate on the fate of this great musician in the early days of his career and know how it ended. It gives them that You can change your fate attitude– imagining that Bob Marley once lived in a single room and was not even sure where bread would come from.

The next track is the most popular among Citizen of the world who happen to be black; Bob draws a picture of a warrior, a soldier who is taken from Africa and is fighting in a foreign land.  Buffalo solder’s impact is big and has been the pillar of many Rastafarian’s, They see this as proof that Black-man plays a crucial role even in White-man conflicts.  Bob tells a story of how he was taken from Africa and brought to American- where he is fighting on a riffle fighting for survival. The words of the song are simple and easy to grasp.

After fighting the American fight and probably putting the gun down, he comes with a call for unity In the next song, Bob starts with a very powerful message.- Everyman got the right to decide his own destiny and in this judgment there is no partiality. So, Arms in arms we raise and fight this little struggle, because that’s the only way we can overcome our little trouble.  Bob warns that; divide and rule can tear us apart and since he does not want his people to tricked by missionaries, he asks them to look for real revolutionaries

By now my passengers are even wishing that the traffic jam would tighten a bit and buy them more time; but we are already in the outskirts of Rongai. I have promised myself that I will not be driving on the pedestrians side of the road; If I can’t face an oncoming track, then I should not take advantage of the non motorized transport. That is to say It will probably take me 30 or so minute to do the final 1km, which otherwise would have taken less than ten minutes.. By the time I make my final turn and face the direction I came in; almost everyone is singing the chorus;Africa unite, cos we are moving right out of Babylon- and we are grooving to our fathers land. How good and a present it would be; before God and man; to see the unification of all Africans .We are the children of the kaya man.

I think It would be impressive to see that unification. An African dream, a United States Of Africa. I wonder if that is what King of Reggae- Bob Marley was talking about but he surely left us a lot of poetry and words of wisdom hidden in songs – knowledge that you can only hear when you listen to his songs.


Posted by on November 2, 2012 in Matatu matters



3 responses to “Music and Matatu;Is there a positive side or just noice?

  1. Maureen

    November 2, 2012 at 5:31 pm

    Bob Marley is a good choice for a traffic jam, also Peter Tosh….

  2. Brenda Buko

    October 30, 2013 at 10:04 am

    how much does it cost to install a nice sound system for a 29 seater npr. It doesn’t have to be all boom!! but just nice .

    • wambururu

      November 9, 2013 at 7:23 am

      GIVE US YOUR QUOTATIONS MUSIC MEN! lets hope somebody gets in-touch with you Brenda and be ware of con men/women.


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