Arts & Culture

Q&A with Patrick Mureithi

Patrick Mureithi plays a book-inspired lunch concert Friday at The Creamery Arts Center.

By Brett Johnston

Jul 10 2017 at 3:25 p.m.

Kenyan-born singer, songwriter, speaker and documentarian Patrick Mureithi is a stalwart of inspirational music in 417-land. Mureithi, a frequent participant in Wild Bob’s Musical Book Club, plays the first in a series of free Wild Bob’s lunch concerts at The Creamery Arts Center. The half-hour concert begins at 12:15 PM and a $10 artist donation is suggested.

417: Is there any book in particular throughout the Wild Bob’s series that has inspired you more than others?
Patrick Mureithi: The first Wild Bob’s I took part in, we focused on The Eyes are Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston. I found it to be very poetic—it read like a blues song. It encouraged me to read more and reminded me that I could sit down with the intention of writing a song and within a short period have something to work with. The other experiences have been equally inspiring—a chance to read these stories, but also reflect on how they can be applied to your life. A lot of the songs I play have been inspired by Wild Bob’s.

417: Your name seems to be popping up at more and more larger/national events (Kansas City’s Folk Alliance, the Wanderlust concert series, tours to Hawai’i). Is it a matter of seeking more opportunities, patience or both?
Mureithi: It’s been a combination. I wasn’t looking for the show in Hawai’i, I was invited to play a yoga studio in Fayetteville and one of the people participating in the session had the opportunity in Hawai’i. They also happened to be a Wanderlust ambassador, and put me in touch with somebody booking the musicians. I have found that trying to bend over backward to make something happen doesn’t lead to a satisfying experience. It’s a combination of being open to that experience, and inquiring, but also being easeful. Do what you need to do to be centered, and then a lot of unexpected blessings show up. 

417: What’s your favorite southwest Missouri spot to write and reflect?
Mureithi: That’s a difficult question to answer because I’ve got inspiration for songs while driving my car to the grocery store, or just walking around the neighborhood. Inspiration is in life. That being said, when I get the chance to go out in the woods, preferably by a body of water, a lot of ideas begin to flow from there. Being out in nature seems to inspire a lot.

417: Do you have a go-to dish in Springfield? What’s your favorite entreé? 
Mureithi: It really depends on what I feel like eating. I love Indian food, and I like Taj Mahal and Gem of India, but I also like Thai food, so I like Thai Peppers and Rama Thai. 

417: Do you write with intent to connect positivity with other people?
Mureithi: I don’t feel like I’m sharing songs of positivity. There’s songs about taking a walk, but also songs about loss and dealing with grief. I feel like I’m sharing folk music—songs that mean a lot to me—that I get to share with other people. As we continue to live life, we find that we are dealing with different circumstances, but fundamentally deal with the same issues. I realize that people relate on some level to what I’m sharing, so if I can go out and share something that is coming from my heart and someone else is touched by it, then I am grateful for it.