6 reasons you should attend the Safaricom Jazz Festival



Yesterday I had a chance to watch Nicolas Kummert and the Nicolas Kummert voices at the Safaricom International Jazz Festival concert. It was an exciting performance and you are in for a treat on Sunday. The most interesting conversation happened afterwards with this lady who I had met 2 hours before as we stood outside waiting for the concert. She confessed that she had never liked Jazz but after listening to this performance she had been converted. She said she had always seen jazz as elitist type of music so she had never been bothered. But that is because nobody had every exposed her to this kind of music.

Why should you go for the Safaricom international jazz festival?

1. One because there are great artists who will blow your mind with their music. These are some of the best jazz musicians from around the world. If you had to go for one of their concerts you would have to pay thousands of shillings (one of my friends went for Jonathan Butler’s concerts the last time he came to Kenya and she was even shy to say how much they paid) but you are only paying 1000 bob to listen and dance to some fantastic music.

2. To get expose to more world music. I love jazz but I do not know so many musicians out there. The Safaricom Jazz festival last year and this year has exposed me to some Jazz musicians I never knew about. Everybody last year was raving about Richard Bona and he was the ish. But my little secret is that my favourite performance was by the Rhythm  junks. I had never heard them before and I was blown away. The main act brought the house down and made me dance but my heart was stolen by another performance.

3. The more we support the local festivals the more likely we are to get more talent out here. We always complain that Kenya is bypassed by international musicians who prefer to perform in SA, Uganda and Tanzania. Yet if we don’t attend the festivals like Safaricom Jazz Festival then the numbers are not high enough to convince promoters and artists that Kenya is a worthwhile place to come and perform. While artists would love to be paid highly to perform at a concert they don’t want to come to perform to empty stadiums or concert fields. So the more we attend Safaricom International Jazz festival and others the more we make our music profile go up. As Isaiah Kutumwa said at today’s press conference (paraphrase) “do you know how amazing it is to have this high profile lineup for a festival that’s in its 2nd year? Imagine how it will be in the 5th year.

4. The other important reason why you should come is because all proceeds go to the Ghetto classics program. This is a school of music in the Korogocho slums and it is teaching children to play instruments. Those are the future Jonathan Butler’s.

Jonathan Butler in his interview today morning said that he grew up in a really poor family and music is what got him out of poverty. Music enabled him to give his mother money so that she could take care of their family and can you believe it he was the last born of more than 10 children and his talent fed his family. He says that music is what he has used to raise his own family. So music can bring these children out of poverty and it will.

So support the Safaricom Jazz festival and you will be supporting a brighter future for this country because we will have internationally acclaimed musicians who can compete with the best of them. Jonathan Butler is self taught, he couldn’t afford to have lesions but we can give some children a chance, a window for them into a brighter future.

5. This is a chance for you to bring along your friends and family and introduce them to jazz. It is never too late or early to start listening to Jazz. Some of the kids learning to appreciate and love Jazz at the Ghetto Classics program are really young. The lady I was talking to is about 41 years old but she has seen what she has been missing. She was one of the first people to buy Nicolas Kummert’s album yesterday. So share the love of music with the ones you love.

6. The last reason is that of course there will be great food, dancing, and lots of activities going on. If you have kids you don’t have to worry there will be plenty of things to keep them busy. So let’s meet at the Safaricom Jazz Festival and have some fun.

Remember to carry a shuka or blanket to seat on and wear your dancing shoes. Remember gates open at 11 am and the program starts at 1230. Try to be early so that you can get a good spot to seat and please remember there might be abit of traffic so carry a sunny mood with you.

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Managing editor and blogger at Potentash. Passionate about telling African stories. Find me at [email protected]