This coming Sunday, the 30th of April 2017, all roads lead to the Carnivore Grounds for the 5th edition of the Safaricom International jazz festival with a stellar Kenyan line-up that is set to blow your mind.
The concert, dubbed the Kenyan Jazz All Stars Edition, will open the 2017-2018 season of the Safaricom International Jazz Festival and will be headlined by an amazing line-up of Kenyan jazz musicians including: Nairobi Horns Project, Shamsi Music, Mwai & The Truth, AfroSync, Edward Parseen and The Different Faces, Jacob Asiyo & Kavutha Mwanzia-Asiyo, James Gogo, Juma Tutu, Eddie Grey and Chris Bittok.
Speaking on this, CEO of Safaricom Bob Collymore expressed his excitement on marking the 5th anniversary of the Safaricom International Jazz Festival and the fact that this milestone would be celebrated by having some of Kenya’s most well known and loved jazz artists performing that afternoon.
“Working with Ghetto Classics has really opened our eyes to the power of music, and the funds raised through the jazz festivals over the years are helping us transform over 900 young lives in Nairobi and Mombasa. This year we’re handing over a cheque of Kshs 17 million to the programme, up from Kshs 12 million raised during the 2015-2016 edition,” said Mr. Collymore.
Tickets to the event are available at The Michael Joseph Centre, Safaricom shops and via M-Ticketing by dialing 1511. The show will be at the Carnivore and the show starts at 2 on 30th April. You are allowed to carry food and drinks (must be sealed). It is a family event so you can bring your kids as there will be plenty of entertainment for them.
Some info about the bands
Shamsi Music is a recording and performing instrumental jazz fusion band 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. The band comprises of: Paul Mbithi – Band leader, Pianist, Samwel “Laka‟ Nyaga – Saxophonist, George Nyoro – Pianist, Kenn “Biggie‟ Njoroge – Drummer, Michael Munene – Bassist, and Immaunel Mohol – Guitars.
Jazz recording & performing artist, guitarist, composer and producer Eddie Grey’s musical journey centers on the fusion of all kinds of popular music in Nairobi. One of his most notable contributions to Jazz in Kenya is in the Pioneering of Jazz Guitar recordings that has brought this cherished genre of music to the limelight in the Kenyan music industry. He has collaborated with several musicians both local and international and is still on a mission to broaden the jazz genre in the country.
Chris Bittok is one of Kenya’s leading jazz saxophonists. The soft spoken artist who had his first encounter with a saxophone at the age of 14, has performed in various stages continuously making him one of Kenya’s finest Jazz artists.
Multi-faceted Jacob Asiyo is a captivating entertainer and this year he released his latest jazz masterpiece Apocryphal Tales album in February 2017. He is a seasoned performer and he continues to make a great name for himself in the jazz industry.
Kavutha Mwanzia-Asiyo popularly known as Coach Kavutha and synonymous with the Tusker Project Fame (TPF) musical competition will also entertain fans with her striking voice. As an avid jazz enthusiast, Kavutha has blown away the minds of many with her impeccable talent.
James Gogo of GogoSimo credits his musical beginnings to his father. Founder of the seven-piece groove machine Gogosimo, James has Congolese, French and Kenyan heritage. He has always been passionate about growing his love for music since he was a child. James grew up in Mombasa.
Nairobi Horns Project is made up of Mackinlay Mutsembi (trumpet), Mokua Rabai (Saxophones) and Victor Kinama (Trombone). They work as a horn section, but also as an independent act that composes original works. For their live gigs, they are backed by an additional 5 member rhythm section with Kasiva on percussions, Amani Baya on drums, George Nyoro on keys, Moise Basinza on bass and Newman Owor on guitars.
AfroSync is an outfit that consists of Zach Amunga, Tim Riungu, George Mutinda, Victor Muli, Mackinlay Mutsembi and Uledi Dzidze. AfroSync was formed in the year 2014 and they have scored gigs like US Independence day and German Reunification day 2015.
Mwai and The Truth specialises in live performances. At the core of The Truth is the passion and expertise of stage performance by Mwai Lawrence and Crew. The Truth has five band members: Mwai Lawrence – Band Leader (piano), Ephie Shitakwa – Lead Singer, Tugi Mulamba – Lead Guitarist, Caleb Kyalo – Bass Guitarist and David Mwando – Drummer.
Edward Parseen & the Different Faces Band was formed in 2008. Different Faces consists of Saxophonist Edward Parseen, Keyboardist Moses Njoroge, Shabaan Musyoka and Isaac Kimetto on the Bass. They play contemporary jazz with a tinge of AfroJazz, Trad Jazz and pop jazz.
Shamsi Music drummer Kenn Biggie said that it will be an honor to share a stage with Kenyan jazz artists and international greats & also to get the opportunity to play in front of such large crowds. He said that the Jazz Festival has been continually creating opportunities for Kenyan Jazz musicians to prove that there is great local jazz talent and contributing to the growth of jazz in the country. He also said that they were looking forward to performing and will be paying tribute to the likes of Billie Holiday, Nina Simone and John Coltrane who used Jazz as music for social change, in celebration of International Jazz Day.
Also performing at the Sunday afternoon show will be Ghetto Classics, who are quickly making a name for themselves as some of Kenya’s most musically gifted youngsters. The program, which equips young boys and girls from underprivileged backgrounds with music skills since 2014, has steadily increased its reach since its beginnings in a small church compound in Korogocho, benefitting from Kshs 37 million raised through the Jazz festival over the last four years.