When you meet him for first time, his down-to-earth, humble demeanour is somewhat deceptive - as it belies an uncanny creative prowess he exudes whenever his nimble fingers strum guitar strings.

And although he may not be as popular as his peers, George Mutinda is no ordinary artiste - but rather he stands out as a seasoned, consummate composer and performer. The guitarist curved his niche in Nairobi's entertainment circles as an accomplished curtain raiser and opening act for numerous musicians.

But it did not take long for him to claim his rightful place on concert podiums as the main artiste. Mutinda was thrust into the national music limelight when he emerged tops among several finalists of the Spotlight on Kenya Music project in 2005.

By virtue of being among the artistes who were shortlisted, he earned an opportunity to record his formative single titled Vala Vandu - which loosely translated in his Kamba dialect, imply means that place.

And exactly a decade later, skillful guitarist has gradually come of age, and with show of confidence, he has been able to step out into from the shadows into his own mould.
His experimentation with numerous musical influences - ranging from Afro-fusion rooted in typical Afro-folk tradition to elements of jazz, paid off a few ago with the release of his debut 10-track CD simply titled Matopeni (mud).

This album features a unique serving of uniquely rendered soul-searching melodies and contagious rhythms such as Kusambaratika, Simama, Lala (mtoto lala), Osa Vinya, Ahsante, Umaala, Vala Vandu, Moyo, Swala Langu and title track Matopeni.

Singing mostly in Swahili, English or Kikamba dialect (his mother tongue), Mutinda's lyrics tell ordinary stories about myriad issues, which average individuals experience or relate with.

Through these songs he encourages people to delve into unraveling life's mysteries. Notably also, the artiste's somewhat uncanny ability to blend fluid harmonies with a progressive yet cosmopolitan touch - ensures that his songs stand out.

Although Mutinda's music sounds uniquely original, one can still pick out traces of his inspiration drawn from renowned international artistes like Tracy Chapman, Seal, Oliver Mtukudzi, Wasis Diop, Kaïsa, Diogal and Lokua Kanza.

Most of the tracks he has composed so far conjure up an impression of being defiant of any clear-cut categorization.

And for an artiste who made a low-keyed plunge into Nairobi's music scene on the back of occasional curtain raiser gigs - the guitarist has gradually transformed his career into a blossoming affair hence a force to reckon with.

George Mutinda in performance