I have known Anto for several years and although he has branched off to various fields (copy writing, acting, and brand ambassador) to me he is and will always be a singer. Therefore I was very happy when his manager Mike informed me that Anto would be performing every last Tuesday of the month backed by Paragasha band. To add more spice to the gig, there would also be other upcoming Kenyan singers performing.
I attended the inaugural Paragasha Night in August and yesterday after missing it for two months was in attendance for “Anto at 25 – Paragasha 4” to support my boy. The first thing I noticed upon entry is the crowd had grown bigger than on the inaugural night which goes to show that Kenyans are hungry for Kenyan artistic content.
Due to various reasons I was on a mission to be incognito so I sat at an inconspicuous spot and took in the atmosphere.
Half an hour after the stated start time (7.30pm) the band was still doing sound check. That put me off as I believe event organisers have to be professional. Basically if you don’t take yourself seriously, why should I take you seriously?
Finally the MC got on stage and he did not do it for me. Not sure of his name but he attempted some political and tribal humour which fell flat. Also when recognising the sponsors, One FM, he said “they play supporting local hits.” Huh?? An MC sets the tone of a gig so I hope that next time there shall be a change of MC.
First on stage was James Wainaina who was backed by a girl whose name I did not get. He started with a rendition, and then performed two original songs. Felt like his vocals were getting drowned by the instruments but that may have being due to where I was seated. He apparently has an album out and unlike most hyped Kenyan musicians can play a sax.
Next up was Afrology Band which consists of a lead male singer, a lady back up vocalist and off course the band. First song was ‘Nipe pendo’ and I have to say the vocals were awesome. Then they performed a softer reggae-ish song which mellowed up the mood. The tempo was again raised when they performed ‘Goodbye’ which did justice to the lead singer’s vocals. Last song they did was ‘Never give up’, a collabo with Jemedari which has a fabulous track.
A Rasta man who attempted to speak and sing in a Jamaican accent then graced the stage and I would be lying if I said I listened for more than a minute. After realizing that I could not understand anything, I started watching the news on mute.
Finally the man of the night, Anto got on stage and performed to cheers and adoration from his fans. By this time I had stopped making notes so I can not name the songs he performed but they were more or less the same songs from Paragasha 1.
My thoughts on the night are:
1. If a monthly gig is too big a stretch, let the gig be every two months or every three months so that Anto can perform fresh stuff and also have time to rehearse the songs.
2. Change the MC.
3. Keep time (do sound check much earlier not when the fans are there).
4. Work on the sound equalization. Instruments should not drown the vocals.
5. Get a designer to dress Anto and the other performing artistes.
6. Have CDs on sale for the artistes performing.
Having said, thumbs up to Anto for being brave enough to perform with a band every month. It is not easy. Also hats off Anto, for making time amidst of all your other hustles to follow your passion of singing. You really are a legend in the making!
Respect to Anto’s manager, Mike for organizing Paragasha Night and kudos to One FM for the sponsorship.
Paragasha Night happens every last Tuesday of the month at Club Soundd. Charges are 200bob.
BUY KENYA, BUILD KENYA.
GOD BLESS KENYA!