Tag Archives: Kenyan music

Gigging at the GoDown

I certainly picked a great time to attend my first GoDown gig because the GoDown gig for November was all kinds of awesome.
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Hosted by the delightful Cindy Ogana and held at the GoDown Arts Centre it featured three artistes: Chiluba, Maia and the Big Sky band and Dan Aceda.
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First act was Chiluba who is a dancer turned singer. He had energy for days and definitely he can dance. Obviously :-). Plus his story is intriguing.
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Next up was Maia and the Big Sky band. Maia’s vocals are amazing, she has grown in confidence on stage plus her band is the business. Her No Woman No Cry & Mambo Bado renditions rocked. Her band’s guitar, bass and drums face-off, wow!
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Arguably one of Kenya’s best musicians and live-performers Dan Aceda then brought the house down. Folk danced all through his performance which was a lovely musical safari about Kenyan music. Aside from playing his own songs Aceda also did covers of popular Kenyan music from the 60s to-date.  When he played music from the different regions in Kenya his versatility was so evident as was the joy of folk being ‘taken home.’
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The GoDown gig is a monthly gig held at the GoDown. It is a celebration of live music performance by Kenyan artistes. Quite a ‘down-to-earth’ artsy gig worth checking out.
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GOD BLESS KENYA!
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Films from the heart

I am more of a books than film, movies or series kinda person. However, every year for well over a decade now I attend the European Film Festival (EFF) at the Alliance Française every May.

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This year was the 26th edition of the EFF and for that I say Merci beaucoup to the French Cultural Centre in Kenya.

My plan was to watch seven films and to attend a musical performance on the week between 16th May and 20th May.

Juggling work and life managed to watch 5 films and half-attend the musical gig which I reckon is a pretty good return.

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The first movie I watched was the Tiger Theory by Czech film-maker Radek Bajgar. It was a totally awesome watch that hilariously dealt with serious life issues. Premise is a man who gets himself admitted into a mental hospital to achieve freedom.

The musical performance was spoken word artist Checkmate Mido who’s gig I have never attended. It was set up at the cafe at Alliance and 10 minutes in, I had to leave as the acoustics did not quite sound right. Hope I get to watch a Mido performance soon.

The second film I watched was Notes on Blindness a British documentary based on the life of John Hull. It was an intimate and touching insight into blindness. I wear spectacles and so the documenatry touched quite close home. What if? Then what? There is a lot we take for granted as sighted folk. Quite thought provoking.

As a prelude to the screening the country director for the British Council in Kenya did the introduction with lovely British wit and humour. Joked about UK being United Kisumu while noting that perhaps that was not the best idea with Kenyan elections upcoming. Then talked of Brexit and stated that Britain has left EU but it has not left Europe.

The country director while showing off his Kiswahili fluency also hyped up the East Africa Arts program.

Under this program and in partnership with Judy Kibinge’s Docubox two Kenyan films have been made and whose trailers were shown:

The Letter – by Chris and Maia von Lekow which is about killing of ‘witches’ at the coast which is essentially about disposing old folk of their land.

Thank you for the rain – which tackles climate change from farmer’s eyes.

Looking forward to seeing their premiers.

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On Saturday I indulged in an afternoon of film watching three films at a go.

Labyrinthus – when gaming and real life overlap, Diamantes Negros – football & human trafficking and These Daughters of Mine – family ties, how they are fragile and how easily they are stretched due to ill-health or death.

What strikes me every year is how European film makers have mastered the art of telling stories that are raw and real.

Methinks Kenyan film makers and content creators can learn a lot from EFF.

When you watch a Nigerian film or listen to Tanzanian music there is no doubt as to where the content is from, but when you watch Kenyan film or listen to  there is nothing that stands out as Kenyan.

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Kenyan film makers and content creators need to figure out what is Kenyan content. Do you know what that is? Me neither.

So maybe that is why we start…

GOD BLESS KENYA!


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