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T GUIDE

EN INFO-TAINM N/JUL 2012

ISSUE 2 - JU

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Solutions Graphic Design, Web Design, Digital Printing, Large Format Printing, Interior Design, Indoor and Out door Branding, Audio Visual Productions

Editor Charles N. Rwabagina Associate Editor Kristen Shane Design & Layout Leon Keya Sales & Marketing Esther Nyanjugu Brenda Riitho Contributors Timothy Njoroge Claudine U. Brian Naggi John Kimenyi Andre Rukwirwa Frank Banza Distribution/ Circulation Joel Kyalo

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Word from the Editor

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EDITOR’S WORD

MACLEONS E N T E R P R I S E S FR O M P O S S I B I LT Y T O REA LI TY

MACLEONS ENTERPRISES Rehema House, Standard Street, 5th Floor Tel: 0202082378, 0728680971, 0734603194 P. O. Box 1516-00200, Nairobi, Kenya E: info@blinkxtra.com W: www.blinkxtra.com

www.macleons.com

It is with the greatest pleasure that I welcome you – our dear readers, to yet another epic issue of Blink Xtra. One of the main visions of this publication is to be East Africa’s one-stop infotainment source. One issue at a time. And that of course calls for a lot of hard work, dedication, creativity, consistency you name it. Lucky for you and me, at Blink Xtra the task of infotaining is more of a passion rather than a call of duty. Gracing this issue’s cover is the talented Christine “The Jazzist” Kamau, one of the rising Kenyan Jazz artistes. She has just released a new amazing album. Read more about her on page “8” Live music is slowly but surely taking its rightful place in the local music scene. Let me take this opportunity to send a honourable shout-out to all those involved in promoting live music. We had a chat about live music among other interesting things with the quirky and soulful band – Ma3 on our column Band Check. (Pg.12) Nairobi is without doubt East Africa’s leading capital. Leaving out all the other great features about the city, its night life is one of a kind. If party was a person he would definitely have some if not all of his roots traced here. New entertainment spots are opening every other day. Speaking of new, we visited The Clarion hotel, a new 3 star hotel located in the central business district (Pg. 6) It’s a nice place to be. And the next time you happen to be in Westlands, be sure to check out Mystique Gardens, a fine restaurant located in the heart of Westlands. (Pg. 10) Well, that is just but a pinch of what is in store inside. Another line here will simply spoil the fun, go ahead, read on and be infotained. Cheers!

Charles N. Rwabagina Editor-In-Chief

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OUT & ABOUT

OUT & ABOUT: WHO, WHAT, WHERE?!

Fridays

CLUB LEGEND, BARICHO RD/ONGATA RONGAI Disco night with Live DJ MIX

Sundays

The Junction, Ngong Road When: Every Sunday Time: 12:30pm – N/A Tel: 020 3872881, 020 3864299

Easy Reggae Mondays When: Every Monday Where: Tamasha – Hurlingham Time: 7:00pm till late.

Saturdays

Tuesdays

Wednesdays

The Blix Lounge, Karen The Calabash Band Every Wednesday from 8pm.

Thursdays

CHOICES (Baricho Road, Industrial Area) When: Every Thursday Time: 08.00pm – 11.00pm

RESTAURANTS

ACAPULCO RESTAURANT Acapulco Restaurant is opulent and intimate in both decor and service. Area: Muthithi Road, Westlands. Tel: +254 0734 14531

ADDICTION Addiction offers a wide variety of authentic delicious addictions from around the world. Area: Mwanzi Road Westlands, Nairobi. Tel: +254 0714 129997 / 0728 472488 Email: fernandez_wayne@yahoo. com

AERO CLUB OF EAST AFRICA Area: Langata Rd, Nairobi Wilson Airport Langata. Tel: +254 0733 832488, 0722 205936

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ALAN BOBBES BISTRO Alan Bobbe’s Bistro Area: Rhapta Rd Andrews Apartments Andrews Apartments, Westlands. Tel: +254 020 42520000

ALFAJIRI BAR AND GRILL With numerous rooms inside and a great patio area outside, Alfajiri is a great place to enjoy a hearty meal surrounded by local ambience. Area: Maalim Juma Road, Nairobi Kilimani Kilimani, Tel: +254 0722 514054, 0720 2734783

ALL IN CONO Area: Mwanzi Road Westgate Shopping Mall, Westlands. Tel: +254 20 243388

ARIRANG CAFE The Arirang Cafe is the latest Safari Park Hotel’s coffee shop.


Area: Parliament Road, Kenya International Conference Centre. Tel: +254 (0)20 3633000, 8562222

ARTCAFFE COFFEE AND BAKERY The Art Café is a bright, lightfilled café famous for its roasted coffees, hearty dishes and mouth watering deserts. Area: Mwanzi Road, Westgate Shopping Mall, Westlands. Tel: +254 20 3741197

ATTITUDE SPORTS BAR For the best food in Town at very reasonable prices. Area: Moi Avenue CBD, Nairobi. Tel: +254 20222903

BACCHU’S LOUNGE Bacchu’s Bar is found in Woodvale Road, right in the heart of Westlands. Area: Woodvale Grove, Westlands. Tel: +254 0724 984568, 0720 445406

China Jiangsu Restaurant Area: Crossway, Nairobi City Tel: +254 020 4446748 ‎ China Plate

ITALIAN CUISNE

Zafferano Restaurant Area: 2nd Floor, Victoria Plaza, Parklands Rd, Nairobi. Tel: +254 0705 237203 Website: http://www.zafferano. co.ke

Divino Restaurant Area: Kileleshwa Estate, Nairobi, Kenya Tel: +254 0724 970297

Osteria Del Chianti Area: Lenana Rd, Nairobi City, Kenya Tel: +254 (0)20 2723173 Area: Village Market Complex, Limuru Rd, Gigiri. Tel: +254 (0)20 7122661

CHINESE CUISINE

ETHIOPIAN CUISINE

We specialize in Chinese food. Area: Mwanzi Road, Westgate Shopping Mall,Westlands. Tel: +254 020-2307683

Area: Muguga green Road Tel: +254 0733 615 442, 0710341 362

AUGUST MOON

Abyssinia – Exotic Ethiopian Restaurant

Hong Kong Restaurant Ltd

MESOB RESTAURANT and CAFE

Area: Kenya House Ground Floor, Koinange St, Nairobi Region. Tel: +254 020 2228612 ‎

Area: Ngong Road (China centre 3rd floor) Tel: +254 0724 396 828

Taste of China

Habesha Ethiopian Restaurant

Area: Rhapta Rd, Nairobi Tel: +254 020 2117172 ‎ · China Anhui Restaurant Area: Loita Street, Nairobi City Tel: +254 020 2244286 ‎

Mister WoRk Chinese Restaurant Area: Keiyo Rd, Nairobi Tel: +254 0724 100100 ‎ · Website: misterwok.net

Area: Mbagathi Rd, Hurlingham. Tel: +254 203869990

Daas Restaurant Area: Pride Towers, Woodvale Groove, Westlands. Tel: +254 204453263

Motherland Inn Restaurant Area: Ngong Lane, Ngong Road Tel: +254 203877435

Rehoboth Area: United Complex, Ondiek Highway, Mombasa Road. Tel: +254 0721 684008

FRENCH CUISNE Cafe des Arts

Area: United Nations Avenue, Gigiri, Mobile: +254 0727 959895, Tel: +254 207123000

Sierra Brasserie Area: Yaya Centre, Argwings Rd, Hurlingham, Mobile: +254 0733 505152 Tel: +254 208068594 Fax: +254 20650608

INDIAN CUISINE Chowpaty

Area: Shimmers Plaza, Crossway, Westlands. Mobile: +254 0722 732611 Tel: +254 203748150 Fax: +254 203748150

Aangan Restaurant Area: Nkrumah Rd, Industrial Area, Tel: +254 20652185

Haandi Restaurant Ltd Area: The Mall, Ring Rd, Westlands. Tel: +254 204445805

Haveli Restaurant Ltd Area: Capital Centre, Nkrumah Rd, Tel: +254 20651933

Mystique Gardens Area: Mystique Gardens, Ring Rd / Elda-maravine Rd, Westlands. Tel: +254 0732 786499

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HOTEL REVIEW

The Clarion Hotel

An Oasis of Serenity & Tranquility paradise We got a little piece of Just for you

A

re you a frequent visitor or user of Nairobi’s Moi Avenue? Well, if you are one then you have probably noticed a new sight of change in the area and an interesting one for that matter. Located in Nairobi’s Central Business District on Moi Avenue and a few steps from the famous Jevanjee Gardens, the magnificent six storey building and 3 star hotel consists of a modern coffee shop, a restaurant and a bar, all built and designed to the maximum customer’s satisfaction. True to the hotel’s slogan, a sense of serenity and tranquility is felt immediately you step inside The Clarion. The interior colours and general outlook are appealing. The hotel boasts of 62 fine rooms which are sub-divided in three categories: Executive, Superior and Standard. The rooms are spacious with nice carpeted floors, wide curtains, draped windows and state-of- the art hot showers. The interior design is alluring, with a touch of African heritage. From the rooms one

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can either have a clear view of Jevanjee Gardens or the new Thika Super Highway. The cheapest room at The Clarion will cost you Kshs 8,000 while the most exquisite and expensive room at the hotel goes for Kshs14,000. The enticing menu boasts of sumptuous meals, served in lavish buffets and A La Carte dishes with emphasis on the oceanic theme. A wide range of drinks is served at the Rainforest Bar and I have to say the prices, especially for beers are very friendly. Theme nights, i.e karaoke, jazz, salsa nights etc are set to be introduced at the hotel which will definitely make it one of the most sought after entertainment venues. The bar and restaurant is open to the public under the refreshing ambience. To crown it all, the hotel has two conference rooms, each with a capacity of 100 people, several board rooms and a business center, all connected to the internet.

When I recently visited the hotel, the staff made me feel at home so much that I was totally convinced to have discovered my top entertainment venue, and trust me, if I notice anything that compromises my newly found nest, I will be quick to share it here. Mind you, this impeccable hospitality was in addition to very delicious meals at an affordable price. Seeing is believing! Facts about The Clarion:

• • • •

They have chauffeur driven service for foreign clients but on request and at an extra cost. They have a well facilitated health club/gym. The Clarion hotel building is the former Teachers Service Commission building. The hotel is well located, with an ample view of the city, including the newly constructed Thika Super Highway.

www.theclarionhotel.co.ke


Tweeps of the Month

Top Tweeps

of the Month according

to @BlinkXtra Ramah Nyang (@Ramah_Nyang)

If you like @Alykhansatchu’s tweets then you will definitely love @Ramah_Nyang’s tweets even more. Anything to do with both the local and global economy @Ramah_Nyang’s tweets will surely keep you up to date. ‫‏‬Here is such a tweet “@Ramah_Nyang At 3.5%, this is the slowest quarter of GDP growth Kenya has had since 2008.”

Joe Muchiri(@JoeWMuchiri)

The Jam 98.4(@thejam984)

Boniface Mwangi(@bonifacemwangi)

Ghafla.co.ke(Ghafla.co.ke)

For those who don’t know Boniface Mwangi, he is the man behind the now famous graffiti paintings along some streets in Nairobi. @ bonifacemwangi tweets are mostly to do with activism while urging Kenyans to unite and fight unfair political vices in the country.

This is probably one of the fastest news releasing website in the country. Their stories are short and some not well detailed but they seem one of the first few people to know what’s happening in the entertainment scene. As soon as a story is published it is tweeted as well via their twitter handle @ghaflakenya. I have learnt a couple of first hand showbiz news from their tweets.

Stella Mwangi (@StellaMwangi)

Tusker Project Fame 5(@TPF5show)

Capital Fm’s afternoon show The Jam Now @Joewmuchiri is not is one of my favourite radio shows and everyone’s favourite guy on twitter their twitter handle is also as good. They but I find his tweets interesting. constantly engage their listeners to What we can all agree is that he is not only entertainment but with issues a twitter addict. As of press time he affecting the lives of day to day Kenyans. had amazingly tweeted 131,007 @thejam98.4 will keep you informed on times. Here is a fair warning though, some of his tweets are gross, crazy, sarcastic but also the best live shows happening in the country as well as give out a few free tickets to their listeners/followers. funny.

If I’m not wrong @stellamwangi is officially the first Kenyan artiste to have a verified account. As of press time the Norwegian resident had some cool 23,858 followers.

@TPF5show is the official twitter handle for one of East Africa’s biggest music show. All updates regarding the contestants and the academy are usually posted on twitter and you can easily follow the TPF 5 updates simply by following @TPF5show.

We will continue highlighting the most interesting characters on Twitter in the next issue. You can send your comments, opinions as well as who you think people need to follow and we just might feature him/her on this page.

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COVER STORY

Jazz is not a common genre in Kenya and is definitely not your ordinary type of music. We don’t have as many jazz artistes as those of other genres. So when we heard that Kenya’s very own Christine Kamau, aka The Jazzist, has released her debut album - and, of course, after listening to some of the amazing tunes featured on it - we were keen to talk to her.

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Tell us a bit about yourself. I am a vibrant Kenyan musician living and loving my life! Besides blowing the trumpet,

Which other instruments do you play? I play the alto saxophone in church as well as the piano

Where did you learn to play all those instruments? I’m self-taught on the saxophone. I studied piano and trumpet at the Kenya Conservatoire of Music and at school in Nakuru where I grew up.

As an instrumentalist, do the lyrics play any role in your selection or in the way that you treat a song? Yes! Lyrics do help one interpret and bring out a melody with feeling, and play it out in a way that helps the listener ‘feel’ you.

thejazzist thejazzist

There are beliefs that jazz is a dying genre... Really? On the contrary, I find that jazz is actually blossoming. Locally there are a number of jazz concerts/events that have been happening. And there are still quite a number of established jazz festivals around the world.

Do you consider yourself strictly a jazz artist? I consider myself a musician… who loves jazz.

“This Is For You” is an outstanding album, I believe. How did the ideas come together for it? What was the inspiration? The inspiration was divine. I had been working on some [of ] the compositions for a couple of months and was finally able to put them together. I guess it was more like a journey that materialized bit by bit.

Who are some of the other composers and lyricists represented on the album? I wrote and arranged the music. I had the privilege of working with amazingly talented instrumentalists as well as the super producer Romeo Kouemeni.

Tell us about your band, African People. African People is a band I had the privilege of putting together. It is made up of young and extremely talented instrumentalists: Isaac Khakula on bass, Ken Simiyu on keyboards, Daniel Macharia on drums, Matthew Makumi on guitars, Emmanuel Kute on alto sax and Tim Riungu on tenor saxophone.

How is the jazz music reception in Kenya? Fantastic! Many people are quite supportive of local jazz talent and are curious about jazz music made by fellow Kenyans.

What next for The Jazzist? Looking forward to performing more regularly, composing more music, spreading the faith in localising what [I] love most… playing my horns!

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RESTAURANT REVIEW

Mystique Gardens

W

estlands is a haven for fine restaurants. The mixture of a city and suburban feel makes its environment a perfect one in that case. Among those fine restaurants is Mystique Gardens,a multi-cuisine restaurant located just a few metres from Nakumatt Ukay. The restaurant consists of a beautiful old colonial house, a fine dining restaurant, a barbecue garden, an open bar and some nice gardens for those who prefer an outdoor experience. The restaurant offers a number of different cuisines mainly Indian, Chinese and African classics like nyama choma. When it comes to food I found their koroga service (self cooking) to be a very interesting experience. The green, flowered gardens are open for hire and are a great ideal for private parties, corporate events, wedding ceremonies etc. The outdoor set up has been nicely crafted especially for sheesha fans which is also offered at the restaurant.

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For the beer lovers, there is a daily happy hour service from 11am to 7pm and beers are sold at kshs.150. Mystique Gardens has also become the ultimate stepping stone for Nairobians who dodge the boring evening traffic jam. There is a family fun-day every Sunday with face painting and bouncing castles for children. Those who frequent the restaurant are mostly international visitors, Asians and Africans. Visit Mystique restaurant for a taste of their continental cuisine, amidst the serene environment provided by the beautiful gardens and it will definitely be a worthwhile experience. Ringroad/Elda-Maravine Rd. Westlands P. O. Box 164-00600 Nairobi, Kenya +254 788 343 999, +254 707 156 145 Email: sanjanbo@hotmail.com mystiquegardens@yahoo.com


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Ekori

TURKANA’S FINEST!

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012 is proving to be one significant year for Turkana especially after the recent oil discovery. While many Kenyans are super excited over the matter I am particularly aroused by a different discovery I made myself. Ever heard of a hip hop/folk artiste from Turkana? I guess not. This one is one of a kind. His name is Jackson Ero Nasil aka Ekori, a 24 year old talented Turkana native. He hails from a pastoralist family but chose a different path. Music is where his new hope lies. Instead of the usual grazing/herdsmen stick common

with his tribesmen he prefers a microphone. And his musical efforts are quite impressive. “Kira Turkana” which is translated to “listen Turkana” is the title of his 12 track debut album. His music is inspired by his tribe’s rich culture of soulful traditional music and the African rhythm and melodies in his music immediately captivates any listener who does or doesn’t understand his local language. His songs are message oriented and mostly speak about peace and reconciliation among his fellow Nomadic tribesmen.

For a copy of “Kira Turkana” album please write to blinkxtra@gmail.com or call 0728 680 971.

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BAND CHECK

I

f you like uplifting, funky, toetapping music, you should hop on the Ma3. The six-piece Nairobi-based band named after the public transport minivan is promoting its recentlyreleased début album, Beba Beba. The 11-song mix features tracks in English and Swahili. Although the band has only just dropped its first record, you might have heard Ma3’s Afro-pop styling on stage at one of the many festivals it’s played, or as the inhouse band for The Patricia Show Season II talk show. We chatted with the band about everything from how to better support local live acts to the bigname help the band received on this record. All aboard!

Describe Ma3 in three words. Quirky. Soulful. Fresh.

Why Afro-pop? Why not any other genre?

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A music ride Afro-pop is the new sound of Africa, as it combines distinct African rhythms and melodies while exploring new sounds that were considered foreign. It’s a perfect musical curry of all the things we love about African and Western influences, while still remaining relevant.

Tell us about “Beba Beba.” Beba Beba is our 11-track début album, a labour of love that is two years in the making. We released it In November of 2011 to great reviews. We are now in the midst of getting it to as many people and into as many ears as possible.

I understand “Beba Beba” had the support of one of Kenya’s most respected Afro-fusion artistes, Eric Wainaina. How did that help?

Tim Rimbui, one of our band members and also the producer of the album, is a long-time friend and collaborator with Eric Wainaina, having written and produced several tracks on his last two albums. It was with this background that Eric agreed to return the favour and lend a hand in co-writing one of the songs [Nyumbani] as well as vocal arrangements on another song [Usiless]. Tim and Eric also own Enkare Studios, where Beba Beba was recorded and mixed.

Are you planning to release another album in the near future? [Laughs] We just released our first album less than six months ago, so we are nowhere near thinking about a second album. Having said that, we are constantly working on new material that we are incorporating in[to] our live shows. It is too early to know what will make the cut on the second record.


BAND CHECK

e in the Ma3 I love the way you guys conceptualize your stuff - from your name “Ma3,” to the album title “Beba Beba,” up to your events “Ndani Ya Ma3.” Who comes up with this creativity? The creativity in our brands comes from three people: Nanjira, Wandiri and Tim. for us, it is in line with creating and identity that many can relate to. [Ma3] public transport minivans are [an] unavoidable part of life in urban Africa, so we decided to build our entire brand around that.

Where do you draw your inspiration? Our influences and inspiration are drawn from different sources that affect life growing up as young, urban Africans. Our songs are inspired by love or lack thereof, politics, social issues and fun. You get the idea.

What is the current state of live music in Kenya?

The appreciation of live music is steadily increasing and definitely it is [in] a better place than it was 10 years ago. However when we compare our live music scene with established culture capitals like Johannesburg, Kampala and Dakar, we still have a long way to go. But it is always important to remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day.

What can be done to improve the state of live music in Kenya? One, consistency by the musicians in putting out great music and creating awesome shows that want to make guys want to leave their homes to come out and spend their hard-earned money. Two, greater engagement by [corporations] in offering sponsorships and endorsements to artists and bands.

Three, an appreciation for local talent from media and consequently the audiences. Currently, foreign acts are treated like royalty, but we like overlooking our own stars.

Bands such as yours are a bit hard to maintain. How do you guys manage to keep it together? Ma3 is only two-and-a-half years old. And as far as bands go, we are very young and therefore can not talk about a formula for staying together. What we can say has worked so far is an honest analysis of what we need to do as a group, meeting regularly and being genuinely committed to the band.

What’s next for Ma3? Our plan is to continue making music together for as long as we enjoy doing it together, and travel the continent and the rest of the world sharing our music, learning from these interesting experiences. Beba Beba!

Copies of “Beba Beba” are available at Text Book Centre in Nairobi. Ma3Band ma3theband www.ma3.co.ke

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PARTYING SHOT

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1. U.S based Ethiopian songstress Meklit Hadero belts out her soulful Jazz tunes at the event. 2. Monique Kabuye sings her heart out at the 34th edition of Blankets & Wine held on Sunday 3rd June. 3. Blankets & Wine CEO & Founder, Muthoni Ndonga (Centre) with friends at the June edition of the monthly event. 4. Zimbabwe’s Queen Mashie performs some of her song alongside her band. 5. Members of the audience enjoying the performances. 6. Actress Sarah Hassan and friends pose for a photograph.

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