Since its inception in the year 2008, Blankets and Wine has created a platform for the promotion, celebration and exposure of the emerging live Kenyan music. This monthly event series has seen and brought to the stage various live performances from acts such as Oliver Mtukudzi (Zimbabwe), South African duo Mafikizolo, Mzungu Kichaa (Tanzania) Ugandan king of soul Maurice Kirya as well as celebrated Kenyan acts like Sauti Sol and Eric Wainaina. This April Aloe Blacc will be the headline act.
Now they have partnered with Good Times Africa to create a pan-African platform that is going to bring even more exciting live events across the region. The Good Times Africa has been on the fore-front of a series of events and concert through the brands: Africa Dance Party, Africa Nouveau, Live in Concert and Blankets & Wine.
This 10th of April, the Aloe Blacc Show marks the beginning of a high-quality quarterly showcase with American soul sensation Aloe Blacc headlining the much anticipated event. The soul artist whose real name is Egbert Nathaniel Dawkins III is set to thrill blankets & wine enthusiasts with mega-hits such as “I Need a Dollar”, “The Man” and “Wake Me Up” will perform live at the Ngong Racecourse. The musical lineup shall also include African Super-Nerdy Electronic Music/Art Collective, Just A Band, soulful newcomer Mayonde plus Blankets & Wine Founder and talented femcee, Muthoni the Drummer Queen.
“We have opened the space for live music from the region and in the process; we have been deeply rewarded with the joy that has come from simultaneously solving a problem for artists and effectively serving the music industry and its consumers. Our vision now is to go global, to be able to bring the most prolific international artists from around the world to Nairobi and put Nairobi on the global map as the IT place to be.” – Muthoni Ndonga, Blankets & Wine CEO + Founder
The California-based, Panamanian artist, E. Nathaniel Dawkins (aka Aloe Blacc) released his first album ‘Shine Through’ in 2006 which brought forth a one of a kind fusion of retro-soul and Latin music. He then partnered with the Truth & Soul Productions crew for 2010’s more organic effort Good Things. The album featured the single “I Need a Dollar,” which reached the Top Ten in several countries, including the U.K. and Germany. The song was licensed for use as the theme song to the HBO show How to Make It in America. In 2013, Aloe co-wrote and fronted Avicii’s “Wake Me Up,” an international smash hit that reached the Top Five of Billboard’s Hot 100. His third album, Lift Your Spirit, was released in some territories later that year. In the U.S., it was issued through Interscope in early 2014.
Just a Band, mostly known for their hits ‘Ha-He’ which saw Kenyans fall in love with the character Makmende from the video, is a Kenyan house/funk/disco band whose career was launched with their debut album, Scratch To Reveal, in 2008. The video has subsequently been described as Kenya’s first viral internet meme by the Wall Street Journal, CNN and Fast Company. Also their track Huff + Puff been heard over the 2012 movie House At The End Of The Street.
Their music has explored various musical directions such as, but not limited to jazz, hip-hop, disco and electronica. Aside from writing, recording and engineering their own music, they create their own music videos, packaging and promotional items and have also released an art book titled ‘Just A Book’ as part of part of Goethe-Institute’s Contact Zones series.
Muthoni the Drummer Queen (MDQ) aka Bausslady is no stranger to the Kenyan music industry. She is a singer, rapper and drummer from Nairobi; whose unique talent and sound that fuses Kenyan drum rhythms, pop, soul and hip hop. She has released projects like ‘Mambo Bado’, ‘The Human Condition’ and ‘Welcome To The Disco EP’.
She also dabbled in hiphop and released two singles “Vile Inafaa” featuring fellow Kenyan rapper Octopizzo , and “Feelin It” which were received with critical acclaim and opened the door for MDQ to explore and her deep love for hiphop. She has also done collaborations with Wyclef Jean (USA), Khuli Chana (SA), Navio (UG) Keko (UG) and Kagwe Mungai (Kenya) in her sophomore album ‘MDQUPGRADED’. When she is not making music, Muthoni heads and runs East Africa’s largest Music and lifestyle platform Blankets and Wine.
Mayonde is an eclectic singer songwriter born, bred and based in Nairobi Kenya who just oozes soul from her musical style that can be described as sweet and soothing. With hit songs like ‘Rise’ and ‘Isikuti Love’, she shares her sound that is mostly influenced by Jazz, Funk, Neo-soul, R&B and World music.
Her first solo EP project, Diana Nduba Live was released online in 2012 and received well. She is a moved on to tour Europe representing Kenya in a musical theater show dubbed Out of Africa, the Magic of Kenya. April 2013 Diana made her debut performance at Blankets and Wine and soon after became the brand ambassador and cover model for Black Silk of Haco Tiger Brands. In 2015, Mayonde released debut album, Magic in the Air.
The Aloe Blacc Show shall also feature top-end restaurants in a diverse and delectable food fair. The fashion pop-ups will provide a dynamic shopping experience. They are also committed to showcasing art in the most diverse ways possible, therefore come expecting interactive installations in their curated art space featuring exciting new voices in the visual arts.
The event kicks off at 11a.m. to 9 p.m. and tickets can be purchased here.