Profile: Kenyan piano maestro falls in love with Rwanda

SINCE an early age, Kim Thuita experimented with all kinds of music. Music was already deeply etched in his family line, and it seemed only natural that he would ultimately excel.From Gospel to Jazz, popular music to classical, music runs through the family. His elder brother, who is based in the United States, is a classical pianist and arranger, while his younger sister and niece who are both based in Madrid, Spainm, are Jazz and R&B singers respectively.
Thuita performs at the Crystal Bar in Top Tower Hotel. (Courtesy photo).
Thuita performs at the Crystal Bar in Top Tower Hotel. (Courtesy photo).

SINCE an early age, Kim Thuita experimented with all kinds of music. Music was already deeply etched in his family line, and it seemed only natural that he would ultimately excel.

From Gospel to Jazz, popular music to classical, music runs through the family. His elder brother, who is based in the United States, is a classical pianist and arranger, while his younger sister and niece who are both based in Madrid, Spainm, are Jazz and R&B singers respectively.

“My first music lesson came from my father who was a choir conductor, and an organ player and I owe his music vision to him,” Thuita said.
If Thuita’s musical talent were a tree, it would have been the kind with roots deeply entrenched inside the rich soils of Africa, but stretching its branches to the rest of the world.

Born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya, Thuita is a pianist, singer and composer. And, since he set his feet in the land of ‘Thousand Hills’ in 2010, he has been heavily appreciated as the new kid on the block.

Thuita’s professional music career began over 20 years ago and he has performed in different parts of the world.
“I got my first job as a pianist in 1987 at Serena Hotel’s exclusive Mandhari restaurant, in Nairobi, where I was moonlighting, while during my office hours were spent at Kenya Commercial Bank, before I moved to Hotel Intercontinental, as a resident pianist and later on also as the entertainment manager,” Thuita recalls.

Here, Thuita’s musical dimensions grew as he teamed up with two Kenyan Jazz veterans and started an exclusive Jazz night which was a hit. He did not stop there. He started the Karaoke, Salsa and Oldies night themes, which he did for about 11 years, as he committed himself to excellence.

In 2001, Thuita moved to Tehran, Iran, where, according to him, Western music was prohibited. He however managed to perform from restricted diplomatic areas.
After two years, Thuita moved to Mozambique, where the music culture was soaring high and it is here that he picked up more Afro-jazz influences and sounds from the southern Africa. This was a great addition to his, already outsized, musical background.

Then in 2006, Thuita moved from Maputo to Managua, Nicaragua, where he got the chance to play at all popular music circles. It is in the Ltin Amreican country that he sang alongside the best musicians, sang in big parties and most of all did a lot of charity work for children.

In Rwanda, Thuita performs every Wednesday from 6 pm - 9 pm at Hotel Des Mille Collines, and every Friday at Chez Robert restaurant, where he teams up with the Jazz maestro, Mutsari, to perform Blues, Jazz, Funk fusion and Dancehall.

The 48-year-old father of two is married to a Dutch diplomat, and this makes him and his family move from country to coutnry. But Thuita says that wherever he goes, music connects him to the people and the music scene.

“I am thrilled to be in Kigali, and even meet some of my old buddies, who have been following my music from the past,” Thuita said.

“I hope to share my love and experience with the local musicians, and to uplift the professionalism in music. I also hope to carry out charity work when I can. They say giving is receiving, and I have learnt that you get blessed when you give.”

Thuita has an amazing richness which makes for an arresting listening experience. His contribution to the local music scene cannot be ignored.

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