The fifth annual Safaricom International Jazz festival was held at the Carnivore gardens on the 1st of May, the International Jazz day worldwide. In partnership with its partners, the festival saw about thirteen Kenyan Contingent bands perform and one International headliner, Manu Dibango.
The festival dubbed as “Music that moves you” is a project by safaricom meant to bring change in the society but is largely associated with the Ghetto Classics Link Up programme which nurtures young Jazz talent in the slums and predominantly the korogocho slums.
The festival was able to raise eighteen million, four hundred and seventy-four thousand nine hundred Kenyan shillings. The cheque was presented to the Ghetto Classics band by Mr. Tony Riley, the manager of the British Council branch in Kenya on behalf of the rest of the partners.
Tony Riley and Kavutha Mwanzia just before presenting the cheque to the Ghetto classics band.
The fifth annual International Jazz day was not any different. The event officially kicked off at noon and came to a close at around nine O’clock in the night. The Jazz fanatics of diverse cultures came out in their numbers to commemorate Jazz music in the country. Notably was the unmentioned Africa regalia theme that was seen to be predominant. Almost all bands had worn an attire with a touch of African Print. The event was moderated by Kavutha, who wore an orange African dress, while the resident DJ was Dj Delight who had multiple outfit changes in the event.
Conspicuously different was the festival set up that had a tiny fragmented left for the picnic set up while most of the arena had a stadium set-up with black chairs taking a bulk of the space. Nonetheless, the high-end modern décor was still maintained as well as the VIP section. A few vendors were also present at the festival mostly selling African merchandise. Food Courts and bars were also in a wide variety.
Msoko and Safaricom platinum, part of Safaricom initiatives, were widely endorsed throughout the festival. Members of the Safaricom platinum were treated to a massage and foot-rub ass part of their VIP treatment package. In between performances were bidding of singing instruments that seemed to shift to online bidding as the event progressed. A corset and a saxophone were both bided with the Saxophone going up to one hundred and thirty thousand Kenya shillings.
The security of the event was in check with about three checkup points before getting to the main arena.
The performances were spectacular to say the least. Eddie Grey ,a Kenyan Jazz guitarist , was joined on stage by the ghetto classics bad as well as Swahili from Tanzania. Mwai and the truth treated the audience to an interesting jazz renditions of African Songs. Up next was Juma Tutu band who were later on joined by the legendary Joseph Ngala on stage.
Juma Tutu band on stage that was later joined by Mzee Joseph Ngala
Mwai and the Truth stage performance
Eddie Grey on stage with a group of the ghetto classics band.
Jacob Asiyo did justice to the piano. He started off his performance with a jazz renditions of well-known RnB songs which instantly moved the crowd. He then moved on to perform his song titled” Splendor”. His performance even became better when he was joined on stage by his wife Kavutha. For a moment there, the audience was treated so a romantic session when they performed a track called “Songea “. As expected the crowd sung along to the song heartily.
Kavutha Mwanzia and Jacob Asiyo on stage together joined in by some members of the Nairobi Horns Project.
James Gogo the “crowd mover “and the Gogosimo band took the stage next. Doing his act in Swahili, he did a song “Tabasamu” that incorporated a lot of Swahili traditional instruments. As expected, the audience started chanting “We want more!” just before he exited the stage.
James Gogo and Gogosimo band on stage .
Edward Parseen, for the first time performed an all Kenya Jazz rendition of some classical songs that included: Siusare “by E-Sir featuring Talia, “Nakutakia la heri” by Sanaipei Tande as well as “Juju” by Nameless. Edward Parseen and his band notably accessorized their attire with “KIZA” scripted caps.
Edward Parseen on stage .
Shortly before the next act, was a screening of the Shamsi band, who shared their experience in Bamako, Mali that was facilitated by Safaricom. The group then came on stage where they started off by performing well known Western Classics like “Okaka” slowly progressing to East Africa and finally encroaching and traversing various Kenyan Cultures.
Shamsi music group enjoying their performance.
The Nairobi horns project were the last Kenyan band to perform and treated their fans to a variety of their well-known acts. To grace the stage last was the headliner of the event, Mr Manu Dibango all the way from Cameroon.He debuted in the event in style !
Just from the onset, there was a vibrant and an overly joyous feeling when he took the stage. Being the West African Jazz maestro that he is, he started off his set by an exemplary acoustic phenomenon accompanied by his well-executed saxophone sound. On stage with him was the Soul Makossa Gang .Moreover, he also gave a tribute to another of his Western Jazz Legendary.
Manu Dibango on stage with his Soul Makossa team .
Just like that, the Safaricom Jazz festival came to a close with fire wax culminating the event.
By Michelle WAHITO.