Gabriel Karegwa, better known as Prince Otach, is a DJ who is credited with popularizing Kenyan music in the United States. He spoke with CAROLINE NYANGA.
What is the significance of the name Prince Otach?
It was given to me by a group of my fans back home because of my ability to bring a'midas' touch to the Kenyan disc jockeying scene both locally and internationally. Is that your area of expertise? I am a Kenyan deejay/emcee known for entertaining Kenyans abroad with the art I learned and perfected in Nairobi over the course of more than two decades. I am proud to have performed in every corner of our country as well as in Germany, the United Kingdom, Japan, Hungary, and Spain.
How did you get to where you are now?
My celebrity in the United Kingdom did not happen overnight. It all started when I hosted a local show at one of the most popular media outlets, which allowed me to tour the country and expand my fan base. JahKey Malle, a veteran Kenyan reggae singer, sponsored me after being impressed by my musical presentation. In 2004, I worked as a deejay at his club, Holly Wood, located on Moktah Dada Street in Nairobi. One thing led to another, and by God's grace, I was soon on my way to Germany to stage my first ever show, thanks to an invitation from a German university student who happened to be visiting the club.
How do you manage in another country?
It was difficult to settle in a foreign country at first. In order to make ends meet, I often took on menial jobs. They ranged from cleaning to packing food for hospital patients, working as a chef, delivering packages for Amazon, and working in a food factory. However, today I can proudly look back and say that I have made it, despite the numerous IT jobs I do in the UK and the US as needed.
Is it easy to advocate for the project...
Not really, given that the biggest challenge comes from a group of Kenyans living in the diaspora who have a habit of undermining one's efforts in order to sow discord amongst Kenyans.
But I've since figured it out. How do you manage in another country? It was difficult to settle in a foreign country at first. In order to make ends meet, I often took on menial jobs. They ranged from cleaning to packing food for hospital patients, working as a chef, delivering packages for Amazon, and working in a food factory. However, today I can proudly look back and say that I have made it, despite the numerous IT jobs I do in the UK and the US as needed.
I completed my secondary education at Eastleigh High School and graduated with honors, but music was an important part of my life.
I also studied information technology at Westminster University Harrow Campus.
Is there anyone special in your life?
Yes, but I'd rather keep my personal life private.
Prince Otach, a Kenyan promoter based in the United Kingdom, is planning to host the first-ever Kenyan comedy show in London on September 2, 2023, at the Royal Regency Hotel.
Top Kenyan rapper Khaligraph Jones is set to headline the comedy show's afterparty, which will also feature YY Comedian, Professor Hamo, Teacher Wanjiku, and Jemutai. Early bird tickets are £30 (Sh 5,600), with the price rising to £60 (Sh 11,000) as the event date approaches.
In an exclusive interview, Nairobi News spoke with Prince Otach, the head of the Kenyans in the United Kingdom association, about what inspired him to plan the comedy show in London and what he hopes to achieve by promoting Kenyan culture in the UK.
NN: What prompted you to organize a comedy show in the United Kingdom?
Prince Otach: I was inspired by a desire to create a platform for people of all backgrounds to share laughter. I'm attempting to foster a deeper understanding between the two cultures by providing a new perspective on humor and bridging the gap between Kenya and the United Kingdom through laughter and entertainment.
NN: How will you ensure that Kenya's cultural experiences are blended with humor that resonates in the United Kingdom?
Prince Otach: Finding common themes, values, or relatable situations that bridge the two cultures will be essential in blending Kenya's cultural experiences with UK humor.
Incorporating Kenyan anecdotes, traditions, or perspectives into humorous contexts that resonate with UK audiences will result in a unique and engaging fusion. However, I will also ensure cultural sensitivity and the avoidance of stereotypes to ensure a respectful and enjoyable blend of humor.
NN: How will you ensure that the invited artistes overcome language barriers if there are non-Kenyans in the audience?
Otach, Prince: I'm hoping that our comedians will provide some context or explanations before delivering jokes that heavily rely on cultural references. This could help the audience understand the context and humor.
NN: How will you, as the organizer, ensure that the comedy show is inclusive and appealing to both immigrants and locals?
Prince Otach: We have chosen comedians from diverse backgrounds, including both Kenyan immigrants and local UK comedians. This mix will provide a variety of perspectives and humor styles that will appeal to a wide range of audience members.
NN: Do you anticipate any difficulties in adapting Kenyan comedy for a British audience?
Kenyan comedians may use local dialects or slang that the British audience or even Kenyan residents in the UK do not understand. It is critical to strike a balance between authenticity and accessibility. Another difficulty is being sensitive to themes.
The 10-hour, 30-minute event will start at 6 p.m. and end at 3:30 a.m. The comedy show and afterparty will both take place at the same location.