One of Nairobi’s premier live music circuits, Blankets and Wine, once again defied the odds and surpassed all expectations in delivering what is one of the best experiences in the music industry. The July edition, that featured performances of Blankets & Wine founder and fierce femcee Muthoni the Drummer Queen, the sultry Sage and soulful Jarel and Grammy British singer and headliner, Estelle.
Some of the highlights from yesterday’s show at the Ngong Racecourse include:
An East Africa shared experience
Imagine having to enjoy a show that is being streamed live from another country? It was the first time two shows happened at once: for the first time ever, Blankets and Wine occurred simultaneously in two different cities; Nairobi and Kampala. The Blankets and Wine Kampala edition featured Mo roots; a Ugandan artist who has been defined to be the embodiment of soul, Kirya Kuti, Davis Ntare, Jackie Akello and headliners Mi Casa who absolutely rocked their performance. Such an occurrence has been seen only in foreign countries, where events under the same entity have had live feed of different events and stages, so this is definitely a really big step for Blankets and Wine and the Kenyan event industry at large.
The launch of the B & W Wine
The Blankets and Wine entity also launched a surprised addition to the festival experience: their own wine. Coming in three different flavors: Red, White and Rose. All have a rich and unique taste and flavor and each bottle comes at a fair price of only Kshs 1000.
Food and drink
The festival also featured an explicit array of food and drink. With various food tents and trucks being set up like Mama Rocks, the Curragh, the Good Food Company among others.
There was also a very artsy appearance by the Wolfpack East Africa, which is the first mobile bar unit and luxury VIP lounge. Revelers would get to enjoy the festival experience as they had their drinks exclusively at their container bar.
Art and fashion diversity
With the event starting at 11 a.m., this gives attendees ample time to shop and indulge at the diversity that is Kenyan art fused with fashion. There were fashion pop stores by Embody Fashion, Bongosawa, Republic.ke, Adele Dejak and Sandstorm. There was also a collaborative fashion show with Nivea that included the showcase of three Kenyan fashion designers, Afrostreet Kollections, Vivo Active wear and Wambui Mukenyi who displayed their stunning black and white collections on the runway, in line with Nivea’s invisible deodorant.
Founder of Blankets and Wine Muthoni the Drummer Queen also had a fashion stand with a collection of her cds and t-shirts which can be purchased here.
Throughout the entire event, there was a constant replay of different genres of music that kept the attendees of the festival entertained as they enjoyed their food, drink and presence of good company. There was also the presence of the popular Silent Disco where for no extra charge, you could enjoy groovy mixes all afternoon.
Granted it was my first time seeing Jarel the Artist on stage, I was definitely blown away! His sultry voice and his rendition of “Mwewe” by Kenya pop group Sema had me fixated on the “Somewhere in America” singer. It’s also safe to say that the “Stand Up” artist is definitely one of my favorite this far!!
Sage also delivered an amazing soul performance and had people singing along to all of her songs with some of the tracks from her recently released album Expose Yourself, which is full of raw emotions that anyone and everyone can definitely relate to.
Muthoni the Drummer Queen gave an electrifying performance with a blend of edgy hip-hop to chilled out reggae creating an intoxicating fusion. She gave some performances of some of her popular old, new and still being produced tracks like “Vile Inafaa”, “Nai ni ya who” and “Baby don’t go”. The Bauss lady always knows how to shut the place down and last night’s performance was nothing less of perfection as she readied the crowd for Estelle’s show.
From the moment that Estelle walked on stage, you could feel that this was going to be an unforgettable experience. Wasting no time, she dived the crowd right into her jazzy soul and changed people’s lives forever with her energy, funk and undoubted talent that has commanded the attention of millions of fans worldwide. My best act yet was one of her most popular “American boy” and “Conqueror” which was widely recognized after her debut in the American series Empire. Even before her act was over, the crowd still yearned for more and it was evident that the British hip-hop/soul sensation loved every minute of her time on stage.