Jaymo's music trek to Rwanda

AS a young boy, James Mutindi, aka Jaymo Drups, wanted to be a musician. But this dream was cut short by his parents who wanted the young man to pursue a career in medicine and become a doctor. Indeed they prevailed as the young Mutindi ended up as a doctor.
Kenyan doctor-turned-artist shares his drumming skills with youngsters. (Stephen Kalimba)
Kenyan doctor-turned-artist shares his drumming skills with youngsters. (Stephen Kalimba)

AS a young boy, James Mutindi, aka Jaymo Drups, wanted to be a musician. But this dream was cut short by his parents who wanted the young man to pursue a career in medicine and become a doctor. Indeed they prevailed as the young Mutindi ended up as a doctor. 

However, despite being a qualified doctor, Jaymo has continued to pursue his childhood dream of music. He is now a percussionist and music instructor in Kigali. He plays with various bands and solo artistes.

Who’s Jaymo Drups

Jaymo was born in 1988 in Machakos, a small town in Kenya. At the age of five, his family moved to Nairobi and he was introduced to drums at a church called Deliverence Church Umoja.

He studied clinical medicine and pediatric surgery at Kenya Medical Training College, (KMTC). During his second year at university, Jaymo started taking music lessons at Wynton House of music where he specialised in music dynamics, drums and percussions. But he continued to study medicine because his father wanted him to become a doctor. “My son has to be a doctor…!” dad would say.

After graduating from medical school, Jaymo started working at Emmaus Hospital in Nairobi, and it was during that time that his passion for music took over.

Coming to Rwanda

On February 2012, Jaymo got a vision to ‘come to Kigali,’ though he thought Kigali was a city in Burundi. He boarded the bus to Kigali and he was amazed at the beautiful city he found.
Unfortunately, Jaymo was stranded with no money and friends for a couple of days. After a few days of sleeping at the bus offices in Nyabugogo, he was loaned a bus ticket back to Nairobi. But instead, he sold it to get food and accommodation because he was beginning to fall in love with the country.

New beginning

The next day, a Saturday, while taking a stroll in Nyamirambo, he was drawn into a rehearsal session at Shiloh Church and he somehow managed to get permission from the music leader to play a drum.

“I always moved with my drum-sticks in my socks because that was the only valuable item I had at that time, as I had left my small drums back at the motel,” he narrates.

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Jaymo Drups doing what he loves most.(Stephen Kalimba)

Jaymo impressed the choir and he was invited to play the following day—that‘s when he met Paul Ngabo, a local musician, who later introduced him to other artistes such as Didier Ntwari and Crispin Ngabirama.

Jaymo secured a job as a teacher at Kigali Music School.

“Most of my students were orphans who couldn’t afford to pay for the lessons, so I decided to teach them for free. It wasn’t easy for me in the beginning because I didn’t have enough resources, but I felt the need to use my hands collectively to help make these children’s dream come true,” says Jaymo.

Rukengeza Espoir a colleague from Kigali Music School says, “He had a good teaching methodology and the students loved him. They liked working with him and many are now in the field playing drums for churches and bands.”

Work and projects

From the school he was inspired to start an NGO that nurtures talent, especially in different fields, called Talent Culture Foundation.

Jaymo also started a music group called Muziqi Riziqi Africa, which has a plan to perform in a first world school in exchange for books to donate to poor schools in order to encourage education in the country.

Jaymo is currently working with Kesho band. He has performed with several local artistes and others from the region.

Mani Martin, a renowned local artiste, expressed his appreciation for the drummer’s creativity and skills.

“Jaymo has been a blessing to my music.  He is a drummer even without a drum. He isn’t into music for the money but he has the passion to grow music in Rwanda,” he says.

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