Artist Profiles: Ayub Ogada

Ayub Ogada

Job Seda, better known as Ayub Ogada was born in 1956 in Mombasa on the coast of Kenya. At the age of six he accompanied his father, who was studying medicine in the United States, and his mother when they took their musical act on tour. When he returned to Kenya, he attended a Catholic school, and then an English boarding school. This education and his outstanding ability with percussion led him to a position with the French Cultural Centre in Nairobi, composing modern and traditional music for productions.

A member of the Lou people of western Kenya, Ayub Ogada played the traditional lyre of his tribe, the nyatiti. Alongside this instrument, Ayub used his warm and sensual voice to create a close bond between himself and the audience to expose social issues.

In 1979, Ayub co-founded the African Heritage Band; after six years, two albums and several lucrative movie roles, he decided to move on. Ayub found himself in the UK in 1986, where he was quickly snapped up by London’s African music set.

For a time, Ayub played with Taxi Pata Pata, along with guitarist Zak Sikobe, who is also from Kenya. A multi-talented artist, Ogada also acted in the film Out of Africa opposite Robert Redford, and also in the films The Kitchen Toto and The Color Purple.

He was part of Peter Gabriel’s Secret World Tour in 1993. Ayub toured as support artist with The Drummers of Burundi throughout Australia, Spain and the UK in 1999.

In July 2005, Ayub Ogada played at the Live 8 concert Eden Project as the opening act with his band, Union Nowhere. They released the album Tanguru in 2007. That year, Ayub moved back to Kenya.

In 2012, Ayub Ogada recorded an album with English musician Trevor Warren titled Kodhi: Trevor Warren’s Adventures with Ayub Ogada, released in 2015.

Ayub Ogada died on Friday, February 1st, 2019.


En Mana Kuoyo (Real World Records, 1993)
Tanguru (1998)
Kodhi: Trevor Warren’s Adventures with Ayub Ogada (Long Tale Recordings, 2015)

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites and Angel produced several TV specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World.

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