DEAR SON: My favourite ‘parenting songs’

Friday February 9 2018

The song reminds me of the many “kuchi kuchis” you have been telling me with lots of gestures. ILLUSTRATION| IGAH

The song reminds me of the many “kuchi kuchis” you have been telling me with lots of gestures. ILLUSTRATION| IGAH 

By PETER MOGAMBI

Dear Jijee,

The song “Kuchi Kuchi” by J’odie is on my mind today.

The song reminds me of the many “kuchi kuchis” you have been telling me with lots of gestures. Whenever we are on the road and you see something interesting, your drill is to raise your hand towards it and utter some repetitive “chuckkh chuckkh” that makes me sometimes wonder if you are a reincarnation of someone from the Far East or Pingu cartoons.

Unlike J’odie, I don’t understand what your “kuchi kuchi” means but it is all fine. Some things are better left unsaid. Some words are better addressed to aliens and I hope the otherworldly beings find your messages interesting. And funny perhaps. And deep.

“Kuchi Kuchi” aside, there is “Sweet Love” by Wahu, a song she did to celebrate motherhood.

And it’s a feeling in my heart, a feeling in my soul/ Filling me up from my head to my toe/ Sio kama mapenzi ya kawaida; ni penzi siwezi kuelewa kabisa,” she sings.

She sings that it is a type of love so much unlike the usual one; a type one cannot understand. Well, I don’t think any parent can understand the type of bond that develops between them and their child. It is the bond that makes people quit jobs to look after their children. It makes parents take enormous risks to provide for their children.

Then there is that “Mockingbird” song by American rapper Eminem where he addresses his daughter Hailie about relationship problems he has with the child's mother and his then wife Kim Bassinger.

The song is about his on-and-off relationship with Kim, the girl’s mother, before they finally separated.  Hip-hop artistes are known to brag about being the most original gangsters (OGs), being the most macho and the most invincible, but this one was a remarkable softening.

Dear son, for Eminem to have themed his song around an address to his daughter, where he explains the reasons for disagreements, shows that the power of a child in softening the toughest of men and in holding together a tattered relationship is universal — only that in Eminem’s case the rift was so wide they could not stay together.

Talking of men and daughters, Diamond’s “Utanipenda” also brings about that element of a hardened man being soft on matters affecting their child.

Kama namwona mwanangu, roho yangu, Tiffa Dangote/ Anakwenda na mamangu, kwa Jakaya Kikwete wanafukuzwa watoke,” the Tanzanian artiste sings as he imagines life after his star dims.

Given that Diamond released the song shortly after Tiffa was born, one can understand his attachment. I also shudder to think of what will happen when your dad and mum’s means of making money are cut off and life becomes a strictly hand-to-mouth affair.

And oh, there is that Kisii song where a man sings about his mother, reminiscing about his young days and how a ride on the mother’s back was ever smooth regardless of the roughness of the world’s paths.

“Anyone who wants to beat my mother should come beat me instead,” sings the late Nyag’au Bw’Onsoti. And it is easy to relate. Many are the times when all other soothing mechanisms fail and all that is needed to calm you down is being carried piggyback on mum’s back. What such a ride holds, no one knows. But it is the time-tested limousine.

Okay, let me now go back to listening to what other parents are singing about their kids.

Yours in earphones,

Dad

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This series brings you writings by Peter Mogambi, a Nairobi residentwho became a father in January 2017. By the time his son is old enough to read and comprehend, which is at least 11 years from today, a lot of water will have passed under the bridge. So, he has decided to preserve happenings in black and white so that when the boy can finally comprehend, he will get to follow his father’s feelings.