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The Moipei Quartet - Kenya's musical angels


April, 2010

by A. NJAGI  


The Moipei Quartet - Kenya's musical angels

Raising a gifted child is hard. The task becomes even harder when one has to raise four musically gifted children - children who have toured the world and sung for heads of states and other dignitaries long before their teenage.

Nicholas ole Moipei and his wife Christine are such parents. They have triplets, Marta Siteiya, Magdaline Nemanyara, Mary Nenkai, and their kid sister Seraphine Setoon, who have become celebrities the world over due to their presentation of classical music.

Due to these girls, Mr Moipei has been to places around the world that he never dreamt of visiting.

At a glance, Mr Moipei cuts the image of a man at ease with what life has offered him and his easy laugh points to a gaiety that can only be achieved through patience and time.

Nothing, save maybe his slight Maasai accent, gives away the fact that he spent his entire childhood marvelling at the sight of thousands of buffalo grazing the plains of the Masai Mara.

Mr Moipei, a career teacher, is at home with his old piano.

Back then there were no wildebeest. The Mara was buffalo kingdom and on several occasion, I had the misfortune of getting too close to their grazing fields, he recalls. And from the memories of his past, a tale has made its way into the Moipei household. Whether it is fact or fiction, only the head of the house can tell.

He says that once when he was looking after goats in the grazing fields, he was so amazed by the sheer numbers of a herd of buffalo close to him that he momentarily abandoned his father's goats to get a closer look at the beasts, narrates Mrs Moipei.

Suddenly, one spotted him and without warning dashed towards young Nicholas."

He takes up the narrative.

If I had any racing records back then, I shattered them all on that day, he says. I found myself on top of a tree and held my peace until the herd went its way."

Legend within the Moipei household has it that the famous tree still stands, and on a recent visit to the Masai Mara, he pointed it out to his daughters.

On any day, this is what normal conversation is like whenever the Moipeis are together. Some bit of humour here, an interjection by one of the girls, a laugh, and something else comes up and everybody makes the switch. Time, for them, is planned to the minute.

Is it hard raising gifted children?

There's nothing different about it. It is just normal,Mr Moipei says.

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