Profile: Tabu Osusa
Founder & Executive Director
William Osusa, who is better known in the music circles as Tabu Osusa, is a key part of the East African music industry. A Kenyan native, he is the founding Executive Director of Ketebul Music and for the last 30 years has been involved in the music industry as a promoter, producer, composer and band manager. He has been actively involved in shaping the careers and running some of the top recording and performing bands and artistes in the country, including the much acclaimed Orchestra Virunga and The Nairobi City Ensemble, and more recently Iddi Achieng,’ Makadem, Suzanna Owiyo, Olith Ratego, Ogoya Nengo, Gargar and Winyo to mention but a few.
Together with the director of Alliance Française in Nairobi, Tabu Osusa co-chairs the steering committee of the “Spotlight on Kenyan Music“project which seeks to discover and promote young talent, performing a blend of African music. The Kenyan government through its Ministry of National Heritage and Culture also supports this project. Mr Osusa is also the creative and production consultant for the (Spotlight on Kenyan Music) project.
Another significant project that Tabu Osusa is involved in as the Project Coordinator is the Retracing Series. Supported by the Ford Foundation Office of Eastern Africa, the Retracing Series is a research based documentary project whose main objective is to research, archive and document the musical culture of Kenya. Since 2010, Ketebul Music under Mr. Osusa has produced and released three documentaries titled;
1. Retracing The Benga Rhythm
2. Retracing Kikuyu Popular Music
3. Retracing Kenya’s Funky Hits
Currently, production is underway for the fourth installment in the Retracing Series titled: Songs of Protest, which aims at retracing and documenting music that addressed socio-political injustice in Kenya.
From 2011, Tabu Ousa has also been the Project Coordinator for the Singing Wells Project, a partnership project between Ketebul Music and Abubilla Music from London, UK. The Singing Wells Project is aimed at recording and archiving traditional music from Eastern Africa with the intention of preserving them for future generations.
In 2004, Tabu was the lead consultant on a radio music project which focused on tracing the history of East African music, from the 1960s to the present. The Nation Media Group’s convergence and Special Projects department sponsored this project. The series entitled “Movin n Groovin in East Africa” went on air in July 2004. Tabu Osusa also regularly collaborates with the Goethe Institute in Nairobi as a music consultant and is currently working on a concert series known as “Muziki wa Kenya” with a view to promoting emerging Kenyan artists.
Tabu Osusa is among a few Africans involved in Arts and Culture who have been recognized by Cultures France in the current edition of their their global cultural guide titled “Les Aventuriers de la culture.” He is also a member of Equation Musique, which is a programme that gives opportunity to 12 music industry professionals from Africa in the frame of Womex, to meet with their European counterparts.