I am going to be honest, I’m a huge fan of Lingala/Rhumba music. There is just something royal, something pristine and priceless about Lingala and rhumba that every normal functioning human being has the right to experience and enjoy before they exit God’s good green Earth. There’s something about the music genre that has a unique ability of making life worth living and much, much more interesting. I could go on and on and even attach a video demo of how to dance a lingala tune, but that’s not the object of the day. The epicenter of our piece today is one Peterson Githinji, better known by his stage name of Pitson.
His major shot to fame was instigated by his ‘Lingala ya Yesu’ hit song, which instinctively renewed my love for Lingala…this time not Koffi Olomide’s, Fally Ipupa’s or Papa Wemba’s but Lingala ya Yesu, by our very own Pitson. Ladies and gentlemen, our alumnus of the week, Peterson Githinji. Perhaps by now you’re wondering whether I will be objective in this piece, especially now that I have declared my undying love for Lingala and the fact that Pitson is a favorite. Worry not, you can put your concerns to rest. This story will not be informed by personal opinions but simple statements of facts.
In the current gospel music industry in Kenya and across East Africa, Pitson is no stranger to anyone. He has steadily and consistently built his unique afro-fusion sound brand which has injected a fresh and a productive perspective to the gospel industry. Among the major hits he has signed off include Lingala ya Yesu, Uvumilivu, Niache Niimbe among others. Major hits in which he has collaborated with other artists include Neema, and Happy Day among others. There’s not a linger of doubt that his music bar will only continue to rise, but few people perhaps know the process Pitson has undergone to get to where he is today, the major factors that have contributed towards his musical success, and especially the role JKUAT played in his noble make up.
Pitson’s passion in music did not start overnight. He proudly narrates the tender age at which his passion in music was nurtured. “My dad taught me how to play guitar when I was very young. The guitar was just about the biggest possession we had in the family coz we were very poor, and my dad actually made it compulsory for us to learn how to play it.” So determined was his father in tutoring them in playing guitar that he could threaten to take them to Kamiti Maximum Prison!, which obviously could not happen but the young frightened Pitson took it as a very real and dangerous possibility.
“My dad had told all these stories of how horrific Kamiti was, so for the fear being taken there, we had to learn.” Pitson therefore grew up with an inborn passion for music, and when he joined Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology to study a Bachelors Degree in Commerce, his music career got a further propulsion in the right direction. Although after completing his studies he became a professional banker, it’s his music career that has been the pivot of his existence. At the University, Pitson was a staunch Christian Union member and often led praise and worship sessions at the various meeting the members had. He recounts how he used to practice with his colleagues.
“At the JKUAT Studeez (Student Centre) there was a room where CU equipment were kept. I could go there with some friends and practice with the guitars, the drums and other equipment,” Peterson recounts. The band Pitson plays with is actually entirely composed of JKUAT alumni, with exception of one Congolese. His band members who include Joy and Bire who are vocalists, Mike Munene who is a bass guitarist and Manu who plays drums were all students at JKUAT whom he met in the Christian Union. It is with this group that Pitson began his music career under the name ‘Brothers Under God’s Grace’
Pitson’s unique brand of music, coupled with his humility and approachable nature has seen him cruise several hurdles in the music industry, and presenting a definitely brighter potential. He is currently among the nominees for Groove’s ‘Male Artist of the Year’ award, which is open for voting through texting ‘groove 1F’ to 811. In 2014 he won the ‘Song of the Year’ award for his hit ‘Lingala ya Yesu’ sensation. As I pen off this piece, perhaps you’re wondering what exactly drives Pitson and his life philosophy?
“The young people still building their careers should know one thing; success is not an event. It is daily and intentional. You have to identify what you want in life and constantly and daily work towards achieving it. And of course you have to put God first if you have any hopes of accomplishing your goals.”
The Bsc. Commerce course which Pitson pursued is offered in the University’s College of Human Resource and Development, School of Business at the Department of Business Administration. The School of Business offers several other programmes which include Bsc. Economics, Bsc. Economics and Statistics, Bsc. Accounting, Bsc. Commerce & Business Administration, Bsc. Business Information Technology among several others.