Thumb Piano


Severin M’Poutou has been playing the thumb piano since he was fourteen. He tells us where he learnt to play it:

“Back home in Congo, Brazzaville. Precisely, in economic capital, called Pointe Noire. So, yeah, normally I used to go with my father. My father want to learn, to the, his teacher, but, by just observing, observing them, I tried to forget myself, and, one day, my father’s teacher could notice that I was even more advanced than my father. He say, “from now on, you need to come, every time, with your father, and I will teach you.” But, unfortunately, my father did not, how I can say? carry on, but me, like.”

Photo of thumb piano.

He tells us about his music and performing in Cardiff:

“I need to say that, apart from thumb piano, I play some other instument, like Djembe, which is a kind of drum from West Africa, and a traditional xylophone, which is called my country Mara, Matimba or Balafon, somewhere else, and shakers. I am a songwriter, and a singer as well, so music is my life, and my life is music! I know lots of musicians, like Djembe, with Djembe, lots of musician very, very talented, and thumbers like Mamady Keita, you know, did a lot, a lot, a lot, a lot, to make Djembe, like, popular, you know, all over the world. And I’m in touch, even here, with different musician from different background, trying to, to orgnaise things, playing together, sharing our music, because we have from different backgrounds, so it’s like, you know, a sort of enfeaturement to, yeah, to us, a lot of us.

[I perform] with Oasis group, because when I freshly arrived in this country, I was re, what can I say? I went to Oasis, and then I found very, very fantastic people. I came without any music instrument, but, because of Oasis, I have been given a guitar, a drum, and just at the moment, I could play my music here in this country. Otherwise, should be, should take longer, you know, because I came as an asylum seeker, so I didn’t know how to, to do, or to get some instrument. So in Cardiff, most of the time, when events, music events are organised, yeah, I come, and I support them, the Cardiff group; so we perform from time to time, and I enjoy it.”

Severin M’Poutou playing a thumb piano.

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