SAUTI: gifted different unsilenced

SAUTI: gifted different unsilenced

‘SAUTI – Gifted  Different  Unsilenced’ is  a  multimedia  project  by  Ketebul  Music,  comprising  a  short  film  in  a  feature  documentary  format,  and  a  5-song  music  compilation. 

The  documentary  film  highlights  the  stories  of  four  musicians  who  due to  certain  peculiar circumstances in  their lives are prone  to facing discrimination,  stigmatization and marginalization.  These circumstances include various types of physical disabilities  (including  visual  impairment),  religious  beliefs,  sexual  orientation, sexual  identity,  gender, ethnicity, and geopolitical reasons. 

The  documentary  is  accompanied  by  5  original  songs  by  the  featured  artistes  recorded and produced by Ketebul Music as soundtracks for the film .

As the title suggests, these gifted musicians are perceived as being “different” owing to  the traits outlined above. However, they choose not to be relegated to silence, but rather  use their voices and music as tools to transcend prejudice and stereotypical norms.


Featured Artistes 

Awilo Mike

Awilo Mike

Awilo Mike performing at the SAUTI documentary screening


Born Mike Otieno Ooko and hailing  from Busia, Awilo was infected by polio at a young  age leading to crippling of his right leg. He was nicknamed “Awilo”, after the Congolese  music star Awilo Longomba, due to his way of dressing and ability to sing in Lingala. 

Awilo is  a  founding  member of  the  renowned  Ja’mnazi  Africa band  formed  in  2002.  Credited  as  one  of  the  groups that  have  changed  the  face  of  the  local  music  industry,  Ja’mnazi  are  based  in  Eldoret  and  comprises  of  25  musicians.  Their  most  memorable  classics  include  ‘Am  Not  Sober’,  ‘Kendu  Bay’  and  ‘Riziki’,  sang  in  their  characteristic  benga-rumba fusion. They are winners of several regional awards and remain darlings  of local audiences, especially those fond of live music performances.



Gargar performing on stage at the SAUTI screening at Alliance Française de Nairobi

Gargar  comprises  of  Kenyan  women  of  Somali  origin  based  in  Garissa,  North-Eastern  Kenya. Although the group currently has 3 members, they are part of a larger women’s  self empowerment group formed in 2003, with the purpose of reminding people of their  traditional  culture,  and  empowering  women  in  the  Somali  community  through  music,  crafts and other economic activities. 

Gargar  came  to  the  limelight  in  2008,  as  one  of  the  11  finalists  in  the  Spotlight  on  Kenyan Music programme. Their AIDS awareness  song  titled ‘Aids Wadila’  (Aids Kills)  was released in the same year. Since then, the ladies have traveled and toured the world enthralling audiences from all walks of life. 

Being  women  of  Somali  ethnicity  who  practice  Islam  and  live  in  Garissa,  Gargar  are  prone  to  facing  discrimination  and marginalization  by  reason  of  their  gender,  culture,  religious beliefs and geopolitical location.

Kamanu M’tuamwari 

Kamanu M'Tuamwari

Kamanu M’Tuamwari on stage during SAUTI documentary screening

Born Imwari James and brought up in Meru County, Kamanu M’tuamwari is a household  name  in  his  community  and  beyond.  He  started  singing  and  experimenting  with  homemade  instruments  as  a  young  boy,  but  got  his  first  chance  to  perform  to  a  live  audience and with a band as a student at Kenyatta University in 2002. When his career  took off, he got his stage name  from  the  traditional Ameru dance – Kamanu, a  fact  that  reflects his fine and unique blend of traditional Meru and pop sounds. 

Kamanu  is  a  multi-instrumentalist  with  an eclectic sound,  drawn  from  his  love  for  country music, folk, benga and rumba. To date, he has released 3 albums with the latest  being Romba Mwathani (2018), a compilation album of 8 Ameru cultural songs. 

Being the last born in a  family of  ten, six of whom are persons with albinism, Kamanu  says he had no problem learning to live with albinism since the “coping mechanism” as  he puts it, was laid out by his siblings before him.

Michel Ongaro 

Michel Ongaro

Michel Ongaro at the SAUTI documentary screening

Michel Ongaro discovered his talent for music at a tender age with makeshift percussion  instruments that he’d make for himself from basins and buckets accompanied with  improvised sounds produced from his own mouth. He has been active in the music professionally since 2002. Today he is a singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and  music coach based in Nairobi. 

Although especially famous for his superb guitar skills, Michel also plays the flute,  various percussion and drums. His music borrows largely from African cultural sounds  blended with jazz and latin sounds to create a charming and unique blend. 

Michel has released two albums: Sentalain (2007) and Mazoea (2012). He is a co founder of the Mambo Tribe band/project and he also plays with several established  bands in Nairobi.  

Michel lost both his eyes at a very young age due to retinobastoma.


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