Cuban Pianist Roberto Fonseca & Mali Guitarist Fatoumata Diawara To Thrill Music Fans At #SafaricomJazz In November.


When was the last time you listened to music that underrated every other problem that came in your life? When was the last time you listened to music so sublime, it took you on a journey?

When was the last time you heard music that moved you?


On the 5th of November 2016, Safaricom Limited brings you yet another edition of the Safaricom Jazz Lounge, an evening of soothing jazz music, an eccentric atmosphere and a crowd of like-minded music enthusiasts. Headlining the event will be celebrated Cuban pianist Roberto Fonseca and special guest Fatoumata Diawara from Mali, alongside our very own prolific Kenyan afro-jazz band Shamsi Music.

Fatoumata Diawara & Roberto Fonseca – Baloise Session 2014

Speaking on the announcement of this coming edition of Safaricom Jazz, CEO of Safaricom Bob Collymore said that the presentation of Roberto Fonseca and Fatoumata Diawara for this edition of Safaricom Jazz is in keeping with Safaricom’s tradition of taking music lovers through a journey of culture, styles and personalities through music. Safaricom Jazz has for a long time been an avenue through which they can transform lives through art and he expressed how much of an honor it is to once again be hosting such highly acclaimed artists, and to be able to use this opportunity to show that Safaricom Jazz is more than just a live music experience.

From an early age, Roberto fell in love with music. From his early onset years, he began experimenting with drums, which he later switched to drums as he fused American jazz and traditional Cuban rhythms; this paved way for his sound as he made his debut at the Havana International Jazz Festival at the tender age of 15 in 1990.

Recognized for his considerable talent and soul in the music he produces, Fonseca is an ingenious composer who draws on a wide range of musical traditions and genres. He has released projects such as “Zamazu”, and “Akokan” during his two decade-long career, and in 2015 collaborated with Diawara to release their album “At Home (Live in Marciac)” to rave reviews by music critics. He expresses himself through his art and has an invincible force that moves him to make great music such as Asi Es La Vida and Cuando Uno Crece

Soulful Fatoumata Diawara, a legend in the music industry who is of Malian descent, is known for not just her wizardry in playing the guitar but in how she moves the crowd with her sensuous voice. She has performed in multiple countries including South America, Asia and Australia and currently has two albums, ‘Fatou’ and ‘At Home – Live in Marciac’ with an EP which was launched in 2011 entitled ‘Kanou EP’. Some of her hits include ‘Bissa’, ‘Kanou’ and ‘Bakonoba’

Shamsi Music, who will open the show, promise to entertain fans with a lively performance drawn from a repertoire of classics, blues, afro-jazz and contemporary tunes. Their purpose is to create music that refreshes, inspires and gives hope & they have managed to do so through their songs like Kipepeo and Hold D.

Here are some facts about the maestro Roberto Fonseca:

  1. Born in 1975 in Havana, he first began playing piano at the tender age of eight and after graduating from University with a Master’s degree in composition, he set out with Javier Zalba under the guise of Temperamento record the debut ‘En el Comienzo’ which was awarded Cuba’s Best Jazz album in 1999.

  1. Roberto grew up in a musical family. He attributes his whole musical life to his mother who used to sing while cooking for her family, giving Roberto the opportunity to grow in a musical atmosphere. She also appeared in two of his records. His father, Roberto Fonseca, is a drummer of considerable reputation in Cuba. His album ‘Yo’ which was released in 2012, is regarded as one of his classiest pieces of work that deeply embellishes the themes of love, identity and spirituality. In the album, he has worked with the greats like Baba Sissoko, Fatoumata Diawara, Faudel, Seckou Kouyate and many others to bring out an element that is embedded into Fonseca; his diversity in the musical universe.
  1. At the start of the 21st century, he gained massive stage presence when he toured with the great Ruben Gonzalez in over 400 concerts as they promoted the late Ibrahim Ferrer’s records next to legends such as Cachiato Lopez. From South America to Asia, all music reviews done never failed to mention Fonseca’s immense talent

  1. His album ‘Yo’, which also explores the music of Cuba, Algeria and Morocco, was nominated for a Grammy Award for the 56th Annual Grammy Awards in the category of Best Latin Jazz Album.
  1. He so far has 8 albums with a handful of collaborations from some of the most eclectic and talented voices in the world.

The international stars and their band are expected in the country next week and will take some time to visit Korogocho, where the Ghetto Classics music programme is based. The programme has so far benefitted from over KES 19 million raised since the inaugural Safaricom International Jazz Festival was held in 2014, funds that have gone towards the purchase of music instruments and expansion of the programme beyond Korogocho.

Tickets are available at select Safaricom shops, the Michael Joseph Centre and via M-Ticketing by dialing 1511. Tickets go for Ksh. 2000. Get your tickets early as they get sold out quickly. See you there.


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  1. […] Safaricom Jazz Lounge November will be happening this weekend and it promises to be a great musical experience. Shamsi Music will be the curtain raisers for this event. We caught up with Shamsi Music for Mics And Beats to find out more about this all band. Shamsi Music is a recording and performing instrumental jazz fusion band formed in October 2014 and comprises of friends who come together to make music that refreshes, inspires and gives hope, for God’s glory. Shamsi is Arabic/Urdu for “Sun/Solar”. They desire to be a light to the world and music industry. […]

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