Kenya – Musician Job Seda, popularly known as Ayub Ogada, died yesterday at the age of 63.
No official statement from the family has been released but singer Zembi Okeno who is close to Ogada’s agent, told a source close to Heart Entertainment Magazine that the singer had passed away.
Ogada reportedly died in his Nyahera village in Kisumu West and news about his death began surfacing on social media on Friday evening.
Facebook was soon awash with tributes from long-time colleagues and fans, with many honouring the inspirational musician, who had been a mentor to scores of Kenyan artists including Afro-fusion musician Winyo.
“Ayub Ogada inspired my generation to pick up the nyatiti [traditional Luo instrument] and continue creating #NyatitiStories telling our stories through the nyatiti,” musician Daniel Onyango wrote. “He is no more, what a sad day. His music and inspiration will forever be with us. RIP Ayub.”
Kenyan author and Ketebul Music boss Tabu Osusa told Heart Entertainment Magazine that Ogada’s death was a great loss to the music fraternity in Kenya.
“In this year of losses, this tops them all for me,” Osusa said. “No other artist’s music felt like Ayub’s, as he was utterly unique and impossible to imitate either vocally or lyrically. He was a poignant force of energy and without a doubt the master of his principled instrument, the nyatiti, which he popularised globally.”
Ogada came to the attention of Real World Records founder Peter Gabriel in 1988 after playing WOMAD Festival. Five years later, he recorded his debut album En Mana Kuoyo, which is known for such songs as ‘Koth Biro’, ‘Obiero’ and ‘10%’.
The album was Ogada’s most revered release as several of its songs were used in film soundtracks such as I Dreamed of Africa (2000), The Constant Gardener (2005), Samsara (2011) and The Good Lie (2014).
He began his career in the 1970s with Black Savage, whose original members included Gordon Ominde, Jack Otieno and Ali Nassir, among others. Ogada would later form the African Heritage Band in 1979 with the director of Pan-African Gallery, Alan Donovan. For the next six years, Ogada recorded two albums, Niko Saikini and Handas, with the African Heritage Band. He toured Europe and appeared in a series of films, notably Out of Africa and The Kitchen Toto.