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Rhythm is Life


O x N 001


UShs 7,000 TShs 5,000 l KShs 250 l


n o i t a n e v u j Hip Hop Re

w o k e L n o v a i Ma stic u o c A y l e t u c A cravemusicma


The Man pire Homeboyz em

COVER PICTURE Plan B taken by Jimmy at Classics Models Studio Clothes: Factory 55

September - October 2009 p Issue No. 001



30 l

Hip Hop Rejuvenation In our society, where the survival of hip hop is threatened by the birth of unconventional styles, a few ardent hip hop fans are bent on keeping the dream alive. 24 year-old Barack “Plan B” Othieno, is the upcoming artist doing just that.

Highlights CLASSICAL

10 l

Fred Pessa

There’s no such thing as an easy instrument but it only took Fred Pessa two years what would normally take a person eight to master the violin.


16 l

Maia von Lekow While Maia’s music career may have hatched in Ireland, perhaps it was in Australia where it really took shape.

20 l

Jazz: That Mystery Music One great CD to introduce your ears to is the Best of Diana Krall. Her smooth melodies are a fantastic accompaniment to a dinner party or a relaxing night in.




September - October 2009 p Issue No. 001

Playlist Regulars 6 8 14 21




Round up of music and entertainment news.

Power Playa

The Business of Music and Entertainment in East Africa


Hot Sizzling Celebrity Fashion

Back 2 Basics

Little Black Dress


DeeJay Selekta


34 l

Shaa Like any career driven woman I see myself successfully running my own business.

28 40 42

Gadgets Galore

MiJam Pro Air Drummer

Club Scene

Psys, Simba Saloon and K1

CD Reviews

Sauti Sol, Aaron Rimbui


Fashion Hit List


Event Pictorial

Punk in da Hood

Sawa Sawa, Thelma Mbodze


36 l

The Grandmaster Dennis Masiere, also known as Grandmaster Masese, is a self taught obokano player who hails from Kisii in Kenya’s south Nyanza province.





Do you crave [music]?


bout a year ago, a handful of music

[m u s ic ] Kenya

believed that even though local newspaper

7th Floor, Eden Square Business Centre Waiyaki Way, Westlands P O Box 856 00606 Nairobi 020 2025977 .tel 0716 483449 / 0737 249727 .cell .email

stands are swamped with numerous publica-

Publisher: Music Gallery Limited

enthusiasts and practitioners came up with the idea of starting a music

magazine that will cater for East Africans. They

tions, nothing really captured our exploding music industry with the respect and exclusivity it deserved. Today, thirteen months later, that dream comes true. We celebrate the launch of CRAVE [music]; a platform for musicians in all genres to display their talent and a place that allows the fan to actively interact with their idol, comment on their music and videos. Music is about entertainment as much as it is about inspiration, hope and success. Our very own Suzanna Owiyo who shot to fame with the Kisumu centenary celebrations hit Kisumu 100, was recently invited to perform at Nelson Mandela’s 90th birthday celebration concert [Nelson Mandela Day] in New York, rubbing shoulders with the who’s-who in the international music scene. They didn’t understand a word of her music, but it was inspiring enough to make it a memorable expe-

Editor: Mufu Ndosi Art Direction: Charbel Munhe Fashion Editor: Trish Kim Sales and Advertising: Peter Opilo Contributors: Alenga Bouyo, Amy Poole, Ongori Nyariansa, James Kinyanjui Photographers: Japheth Njagi, Paul Munene, Emmanuel Jambo, Chris King Production Manager: Charbel Munhe

rience. Let’s not forget Eric Wainaina’s Daima Kenya, which gave us hope during the trying times after the 2007 elections. The success stories are numerous; we’ve seen a number of artistes signing multi-million-shilling endorsements with major corporate brands in the region. It’s all about the power of music. Through these pages you will meet people whose lives revolve around music, like Fred Pessa the violinist, jazz singer Maia von Lekow, cover story Plan B and traditional instrumentalist Grandmaster Masese. To add a touch of elegance, we’ve included a fashion segment Back to Basics and it’s business as usual for our power playa Mike Rabar. Everybody loves a piece of technology to make life easier, whether it’s to open a can or to check your global positioning, so check out the Gadgets Galore. We encourage our readers to purchase original CDs, reviews of which are found herein. I passionately believe that, as you turn these pages, you will find this magazine entertaining, inspiring and satisfying. It’s the dawn of a new era! Do you crave music?


The First Note


Subscriptions: Music Gallery Limited Eden Square Business Centre Waiyaki Way, Westlands P O Box 856 00606 Nairobi 020 2025977 .tel 0716 483449 / 0737 249727 .cell .email


AY drops a new single Tanzanian

Ambwene Allen Yessayah, better known as AY or mzee wa commercial was in Nairobi last July at the Can You Dance season finale, to perform the remix to his hit single Leo featuring Avril. Crave [music] had a brief but candid interview with the Kora African Music Award nominee. “The main reason I am in Nairobi is to introduce the song Leo, which is a remix featuring Avril from Ogopa.” Asked why he chose to work with Avril, AY says,” I strongly believe that she’s talented and that she’s destined to go far. She has shown great potential and her music has gone beyond the Kenyan boundaries; it’s East African. Kwa nini tusimsupport? Tunamsupport sana!” The Leo video is doing considerably well. “We even got an exclusive on MTV Base and it’s enjoying good rotations!” says the down-to-earth Bongo Flava artist. The 28 year-old rapper, who has two albums to his name, Raha Kamili and Hisia Zangu, has done collabos with quite a number of East African artists including Lady Jay Dee, Ray C, CMB Prezzo, Tatuu, Maurice Kirya and many others.

New Mozart music discovered “The

Department of Research at the International Mozarteum Foundation Salzburg has identified two works, which have long been in the possession of the Foundation, as compositions of the young Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,” the foundation said in a statement, details of which were to be revealed on a later date. The International Mozarteum Foundation was founded in Salzburg, Austria, as a non-profit organization in 1880 to focus on the life and work of Mozart by holding concerts, running museums and promoting research regarding the composer. Mozart, who died in 1791 at the age of 35, began playing piano at an early age and was composing from the age of five. He wrote over 600 works, becoming one of the most prolific classical composers. It is not the first time in recent years that works by Mozart have resurfaced. Last year a library in Nantes, in western France, said it had discovered that a musical score by Mozart that had been donated by a private collector at the end of the 19th century was an original rather than a copy as previously thought.

The video awards are here again The

2009 Channel O Music Video Awards, brought to you by Amarula Cream, take place on Thursday 29 October at Carnival City in Gauteng and DStv audiences can tune into channel 320 to see their favorite artists and whether they win. As in previous years, winners are chosen by the public. To vote, viewers must SMS their category number to +27839208400 (International SMS rates apply) or vote on (web) or (mobile). Voters can also win big as there is a thousand US dollars up for grabs weekly (spread over 12 weeks) and there is the grand prize of a trip for two lucky Channel O viewers to the awards from anywhere in Africa!




Conservatoire at The GoDown Kenya’s

oldest formal music training institution, The Kenya Conservatoire of Music has opened a satellite branch at the GoDown Arts Centre on Dunga Road. “We want more and more Kenyans to have access to music lessons,” says Atigala Luvai, the school’s Director and country representative of the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music. Kenyans living within that area - south B, South C, Nairobi West, Lang’ata - now have a much reduced traffic problem to deal with when coming for lessons. The Centre is entirely purpose built and has brand new facilities.

Jay Z’s U.S. festival debut The All Points West Music & Arts festival marks Jay-Z’s first music festival performance in the United States. He replaced the Beastie Boys whose band member is diagnosed with cancer and is due for surgery. In 2008, the rapper was a headliner at the Live Nation-produced Pemberton Festival in British Columbia. The festival, which is on its second year, was held on July 31st to August 2nd in New Jersey.


Ogopa steps up to the plate Ogopa

deejays, East Africa’s music and video production power house, have spread their wings continentally, boasting 12 nominations in this year’s channel O music video awards; the most nominations from a single stable. BEST FEMALE VIDEO Amani – Tonite (Kenya) BEST DUO /GROUP Mwana FA/AY – Naongea Na Wewe (Tanzania) BEST DANCE VIDEO Lady May – Ndota (Namibia) BEST RAGGA DANCEHALL VIDEO Kalaharians – Work the middle (Namibia) Risasi/Collo – Watu wote (Kenya) BEST AFRO POP Gal Level – Touch Me (Namibia) BEST KWAITO Damara Dik Ding – Bakuten (Namibia) The Dogg – Hands Up (Namibia) BEST AFRICAN EAST Amani – Tonite (Kenya) Mwana FA/AY – Naongea Na Wewe (Tanzania) VIDEO OF THE YEAR Amani – Tonite (Kenya) BEST RnB VIDEO Amani – Tonite (Kenya)





Power Playa



Building the Homeboyz Empire omeboyz Entertainmtent Limited is without a doubt East Africa’s most comprehensive provider of all things entertainment. What started off as a deejaying unit has evolved into a business empire that boasts of over 150 permanent and casual employees running eleven business units, including a water brand approximately estimated to be worth Ksh 100m. Mike Rabar, 36, CEO and co-founder of the company, talks to CRAVE [music] about the business of doing business.



“I had a big passion for music at a very early age and was intrigued by the sound that came off the cassette player back then. I didn’t play an instrument, I still don’t, but I am one of those guys who just want to know how things work. I’m a ‘tech freak’; I’d open up a cassette player just to see how it worked. In high school, around 1992, I used to collect music dubbed from FM radio stations in the UK. There were no FM stations here back then so I would go round looking for the latest songs, repackage and sell to my friends. Then I went on to sell to matatus, especially route 23, who were big on music. So I started doing business at an early age. That’s how it began.”


“In college, it was only natural that guys would borrow my tapes to play at parties. Sometimes, it wasn’t easy to lend out the tapes so I’d have to go myself to play at the parties. I had a huge, huge collection of music so I used to play from one party to another. Essentially it wasn’t deejaying, but it served the same purpose. As this got regular, I started compiling sets of about 50 songs per party. People would comment on the selection of music, and that’s how deejaying started; I was customizing my product for my clientele. This was complemented with a weekly gig to DJ for campus nite at a club called Visions. When I collected music, it was simply for the love of it; I ended up becoming a DJ. From the love of being a DJ, I pursued my second degree in Sound Engineering in the UK.”


“Homeboyz was registered in 2000, first as a DJ agency.”… and the rest is history. So how did you transition from being a DJ into becom




POWER PLAYA So how did you transition from being a DJ into becoming an entrepreneur? I made a lot of money from deejaying just for fun. It was never about the money. Ok. So at what point did you think now it’s about the money? Never. I’ve never looked at myself as a businessman. I just do what I do and make money in the process. For me, money is a bi-product. You once said that you endured sweat and tears to build your brand. Have you ever felt like giving up? It has never crossed my mind in spite of the tribulations we face running this business…NSSF, KRA, City Council…the usual, we cannot work without these things, but it makes us spend too much time doing administrative work. That can be frustrating. What, in your opinion, is the perfect business structure? To me, it’s all about leadership. If your employees don’t share the same vision as you then there’s nothing you’re doing. How do you get them to share the same vision, don’t guys simply look for work to earn some cash? It should not be about the money. If, during an interview, a person says he can work for free, then that’s the person you want to hire because he has passion in what you do. Money is crucial for survival but it’s not the fundamental thing here. So I wouldn’t scout someone from another firm and try to entice him/her to work for me by offering more money. You need a person who is not driven by money but by passion. Some professionals have applied to work here, but I see that we don’t share the same vision. And then there are those who come straight from high school, who do not understand corporate culture but are very good at what they do. They walk in here in baggy jeans, t-shirts and sneakers and just do what they love. You get up at 5.30am. Do you believe in the early bird catches the worm? No, I’m not a believer of that. I get up that early coz I have to take my daughter to school; otherwise, I’d love to get up at ten! It’s not about how early you get up; it’s about how productive you are with your time. That’s coz we’re in an environment that’s driven by creativity. You can’t put a deadline on the creative process, like telling an employee, “I want this song ready by 1pm!” You may get up at eleven and do a lot of stuff or you may get inspired at 2 am. On the contrary, you may be in the office from eight to five and accomplish nothing. Homeboyz has lately been involved in sports, especially rugby. Are you in partnership with KRFU or simply sponsors? We’ve been supporting rugby for a really long time. We always provided entertainment for the after-party in all the tournaments like Bamburi Sevens and Tusker Safari

Sevens. Now we want to be involved in the actual sport. We’re trying to get young people to take up sports more seriously. Guys need to get into physical activity. There’s too much ‘lack of fitness’ these days. We are trying to organize something in a good environment outdoors where you can find everything you need. All you’d need is quorum, your peers. Have fun getting fit. H20. That’s huge. How long had you been planning for that? That was done in 3 months. Someone came to us saying he wanted us to manage his water brand. Eventually, he ended up selling it to us. We didn’t go looking for it. Have you thought of venturing into TZ, UG or Rwanda? There’s lots of business there. I do not think we’ve exhausted all possibilities here. There’s still so much that can be done here. I do business for the ‘wrong’ reasons coz I don’t think of the money first. There’s talk of the global recession, the credit crunch and so on. Has that made a significant effect on the entertainment industry here? Yes, it has, especially from a radio point. Many of the big firms are not spending a lot on advertising. In sports, some of the tournaments may not kick-off due to lack of sponsorship. Bringing in international artists will be difficult again due insufficient funds. A lot of things in the entertainment industry are driven by corporate firms which are now being forced to weigh their options, whether to sign up an artist or develop their infrastructure. I think you’ll get to feel the effects later in the year, around September…October. At that point you won’t think twice about whether or not you want to go watch a movie. You’ll start thinking about your priorities. On a personal level, have you ever thought of going into politics? Never. I think I can make changes around me without going into politics by using tools that are available to us like shows and events. Right here, we do advocate for positive behavior and responsible living, which in turn affects many people. Do you help your community? Yeah, we do a lot of that. We support schools and stuff. I was going to ask you about the future of Homeboyz and the legacy you’d like to have in 10 years, but you already told me that you don’t have a business plan… you don’t even know what you’ll be doing next week! That sounds like we’ve no direction. The thing is, we always think positively. We intend to grow the business and the people around us. It’s not about me, it’s about the company. We hope that our listeners and consumers will benefit from our growth. I don’t want to put yard-sticks that in five years we’re going to have this or that, or a thousand more employees. We know where we want to go but it’s not cast in stone.








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you? If ything about an t ec fl re t strumen Does your in it to my ay? w I’m yet to use . w so, in what ho n ai pl ex t I can’t Yes, it does bu advantage.

rt for a rm solo? done a solo pa r Do you perfo ve ne t bu s wedding I’ve played for rribly nervous. ; I would be te to er nc co in ol vi to? do you listen se el at h w c si a, cal mu y metal, Lingal Besides classi , hiphop, heav ck t mean Ro n’ : es ic do us m ic sical mus All kinds of as cl g in lik … e better , Benga that you becom or Genge, Kapuka st re e th in interest that you loose . st than the re s? music studie ave with your h u ving up sa yo do I’m . s d operas an What plan s al ic us m r play fo s abroad. My dream is to d master classe an ps ho ks or to go for w ur interests? free time. I c, what are yo of plays in my Besides musi le up co a ed like bikd direct e to do it. I also I’ve written an tim e th t ge r ve but ne love capoeira onda VFR 400. d owner of a H ou pr ing; I’m a StringMeAlong




Describe your style. I would say my style is street chic. I can go all girly and wear dresses and there are times I can change it up a little bit and even wear timberlands. I love colour and bold accessories but what you see me wearing mostly depends on my mood in the morning. I will wear anything that makes me feel comfortable in my body and that is of course glamorous! I am daring and like to try out new styles! What is the most functional fashion item in your closet? Skinny jeans. What fashion accessory can’t you go without? Earrings. Ankle boots or knee length boots? Knee length boots ; because they compliment my legs. Big bags or clutch bags? Big bags. In terms of your dressing, what personality do you want the audience to identify you with when on stage? They know me as a strong personality hence I love to portray that in my dressing as well as my performance therefore bold colors and accessories bring out my persona best. Chunky heels or stiletto heels? This season I am really feeling the chunky heels. How would you dress your date? Linens any day! A linen shirt and pants spell out CLASS!! What fashion rules do you live by? The golden rule is to always wear a good bra! Second, is to always pay attention to the colours you wear; they should compliment your body! Fashion advice? Know your body first then dress it, not the other way round!




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Tusker Project Fame 2 competition


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Behind The Scenes





Acutely Acoustic






After several years of busking and experimenting in Europe, she can now claim to have carved her niche. But it’s not been easy sailing for the 26 year-old. Every journey has its share of ups and downs. “The last two years have been a huge learning curve. For the first half year when I came I was like ‘Omigod, now where do I start’” says Maia. “And then I found a guitar.” And the rest, as they say, is history. After teaming up with a more seasoned guitarist, a percussionist and a double bassist, the singer was ready to take it to the next level.

Acutely Acoustic



Maia’s musical journey started way back when she was still a baby. “My father was a musician and my mom always listened to jazz,” says Maia, whose parents are both of mixed heritage. “In school I was part of the choir, although I never took any solos coz I was a nervous wreck. I would shake, forget the words…it was a really bad case of stage-fright.” But this girl was far from giving up. After high school, Maia left for Ireland. That’s where she finally decided to face her demons once and for all. “I just thought, this is it, I’m gonna go out to the street and sing.” And there was no turning back. With a friend in tow, Maia hit the streets singing acapella for anyone that cared to listen. “That seems like my breakthrough in the music industry. The money was for my dinner and accommodation pretty much,” says Maia of her busking activities. Counting the day’s harvest over a cup of coffee is something she recalls quite vividly. From there she traveled around Europe and produced some of the songs in her first self titled EP, Sunflower Avenue, Oyster and Joto, with Nico Berthold of 2nd Home Media in Germany. Her next stop – Down Under. While Maia’s music career may have hatched in Ireland, perhaps it was in Australia where it really took shape. “Over there every second person is a musician!” She says of the hyper music atmosphere in former convict country. This provided her with opportunities to sing in rock and jazz bands such as Morph and Gooch Smugglers as well as to record some songs with a number of producers, such as Dave Higgins who produced La Luna, Cigarettes on Tuesday and Ants form her first collection. Another producer, Linden Leicester, worked on Altered Light, from the same collection. After eight years of experimentation and recording, home was beckoning. “Initially, I thought I was going to be away for a really long time, but then a time came and I just felt like I wanted to come back home.” Still not sure of her style, Maia was simply going to start all over, from scratch.

up, you have to write three pages of anything that’s in your head – be it your dreams, your anger, your stress, your happiness. And even if you have nothing to write, you should write ‘I have nothing to write’ until something comes to your head. You have to write constantly for three pages and you’re not allowed to look back in those three pages for about two months. When I go back with my highlighter I find some amazing stuff. So that’s one way of writing.

Describe your sound That’s one of the most difficult questions. I think since my mom always listened to jazz, I was brought up with that. Growing up, all I heard was western music. I didn’t have much exposure to Lingala, Benga or any of that. Now, vocally, I find myself quite jazzy although I’ve got a lot of influences from everywhere. I don’t really have a name to my style. Since I came I’ve added some folk to it. So it’s kind of jazzy-folkacoustic. So my music is very diverse. In your instrumentation you use the acoustic guitar a lot. While it may be rich, aren’t you afraid that all your music may sound the same? I’ve listened to a lot of songs with guitar accompaniment and if you are really aware you can make the difference. I taught myself how to play the guitar and even now I’m not up to scratch. There are ways of doing it; you just have to be really clever. So at this point the guitar is vital to your sound. For sure. I try to stay away from embellished sounds from the synth. I prefer to use acoustic instruments. Do you compose your own music? That would be a lot of work; you would have to wait to be inspired to come up with a song. I do everything. It’s not so hard. I don’t have to wait to be inspired. I found an amazing book called The Artist’s Way. It talks about ‘morning pages’; meaning in the morning when you wake




What do people say about your music? I thought your first collection was very western. But then again, I played it three times non-stop. I couldn’t get enough of it. Very easy to listen to. All the songs in that collection were produced in the west. I might have had [and still might be at the verge of] an identity crisis in the sense that my music shows the western side of me. There was a time I was thinking, ‘I am born in Kenya, I live in Kenya, have a Kenyan passport, but my music is western!’ But then I heard the Nigerian singer, Asa (read ASHA), who sang only two songs in her mother-tongue, and even those two were not very Africanized to a certain extent. Then I thought I’d continue doing what I like


Maia von Lekow

ACUTELY ACOUSTIC and what I feel is right for me. Through that I would be able to communicate with people all over the world. So what’s next? I’m working on the next album “DRIFT” with my producer Uli Keurzinger from Arusha. It’s going to be really interesting. This time I have more instruments. In addition to the guitar, bass and percussion, we have a violin, cello, Indian flute, obokano and a harmonica. I’m producing it here. Any collabos? No. I almost went into recording with Hip Hop Parliament but that didn’t go through. I wouldn’t do a collabo unless it’s to compliment my style. For example, I’d collaborate with a rapper coz I don’t rap. That way we produce something different. Live band versus backup track. Your preference? The only time I ever performed to a backup track was when I was still in Europe. The gig was rather abrupt; I had no time to set up a band. I simply downloaded the track from the internet. It was easy money but it felt so cheap. They were only five songs but I felt completely empty. There was no interaction. I simply couldn’t feel the music. I’ve never done it again. I prefer a live band, definitely.


Any personal legends? They’re many. Miles Davis was there when I was growing up. Esmeralda Folding, Fiona Apple and other contemporaries like Emiliana Torini and Noah Johns, among others. Using her music, Maia has helped raise funds with various organizations in awareness campaigns. Her song Uko Wapi featured in the documentary film From a Whisper. In a society where anybody holding a guitar can pass for a musician, Maia reminds us that it takes time and deliberate effort to become a creative artist. It’s all about originality and purpose. Maia’s first collection CD is available upon request. To sample it go to

Acutely Acoutic



Jazz: That Mystery Music

words l AMY POOLE


Jazz in Kenya is like that elusive pair of heels that are actually comfortable. Hard to find but when you do you are in perpetual heaven! You can be serenaded with some super slick sax licks right here in Nairobi! Don’t turn the page I’m serious! One spot to hit is Tamasha in Hurlingham on a Sunday nights from 7. I know you mad footy fans out there are thinking, “Oh but I’ll miss the game.“ I have two words for you: Big Screens! The band line-up is a tight collection of well-versed jazzers. Noah, the lead saxophonist has a big busty tone well suited to make all his listeners float away. An assortment of bebop classics and new-age pop alterations is what you could expect on a sultry Sunday out. This is a great gig if you need to unwind after a crazy weekend! Check it out and write in your comments if your toes got waggling! There are fantastic musicians here in Kenya always ready to croon for an audience. But not everyone gets a buzz sitting in a smoky bar trying to hear the piano man over the subtle “wanna go back to my place” pleads. Simple solution, why don’t you head on down to your local music shop and invest in some soulful sounds. One great CD to introduce your ears to is the Best of Diana Krall. Her smooth melodies are a fantastic accompaniment to a dinner party or a relaxing night in. If you’re looking for something a bit heavier why not try Frank Sinatra: Sinatra at the Sands. This is a live recording of Sinatra and Count Bassie at their best. Count Bassie’s Orchestra is a true account of what a big band really can do. With a massive brass section, sax players that double on just about every reed instrument and a rhythm sector that grooves harder than anyone, it is undeniably one of the best Big Bands of all times. On this recording, you’ll hear exactly why Sinatra loved playing, composing and performing with this group. Full of humour and the possibility to turn every sobering get-together into a fun-filled event, this live performance will become one of your favourites. Music is and always will be collaboration between those who dare to venture. It is a language that we can all feel and understand on an emotional level. Jazz is just another branch of the musical language. For those people who play jazz I think they can all agree that it is a thrill. Creating a musical line never heard before by you or your audience and enjoying the pure hilarity of not at all feeling like you are completely prepared has always been my delight. To me ‘fun’ is the name of the game when it comes to jazz. You become bonded with your fellow musicians not knowing exactly what is going to happen in the next chord. Spontaneity and a capacity to understand aurally what your bass player just threw at you in the last turn-around is a big challenge. Jazz musicians must be diligent with their practice. Must be. It is a craft that takes years to perfect and when you’ve got it down, perfect, perfect some more! There are always new weird or wonderful sounds in jazz. Created by those who deem themselves brave enough to put their heart on the line. As with all musicians, Classical, Garage Band and Jazz, alike we have a love for what we do. Appreciation for our art will always be round the corner. Some of you may not like the CDs I recommend or the musicians and gigs I suggest but many of you will. Music is very much like food. Not all of us have the same tastes. But please, even if you don’t like what you’re listening to appreciate it. The blood, sweat and tears that has gone into creating that music is what you should be applauding for. As I have said before music of all genres is communication to the masses. If we could all put back that same feeling we get when we hear our fave song towards each other....well you know the rest. Music for me is life and love. Jazz for me is a passion. Find what you like and appreciate it.

020 Jazz: That Mystery Music




LBD Little Black Dress stylist l TRISH KIM images l EMMANUEL JAMBO hair & makeup l MILELE EXECUTIVE SALON


Banks, Beyonce Knowles, Victoria Beckam are just some of the celebrities wearing the little black

dress and rocking it! They are a favourite among the curvy girls because they are forgiving; they hide the little bumps that we would rather people not see! So instead of liposuction and all sorts of surgeries…give LBD a try! There’s just something classy and seductive about them and the best news is…they can be worn by anyone and everyone! Back 2 Basics brings you some of the ways you can wear that little black dress gathering dust in your closet!


Back 2 Basics


Backyard Shoe Shop Woodvale Lane Opp Unga House

Pointed Silver heels KShs. 2,500; Metallic Green chunky heels KShs. 2,500

Steve’s Collection, Bishan Plaza, Upper Second floor, Shop 29, Mpaka Road, Westlands

Cherina: Black Bustier Lace Dress KShs. 5,000 Faith: Black Chiffon Dress with Sequin Bustier Detail KShs. 2,500

022 Back 2 Basics



BROWN CLUTCH BAG - Backyard Shoe Shop, Woodvale Lane opposite Unga House JEWELLERY - Anzuri, Magharibi Plaza, Muthaite Avenue, Nairobi West


Cherina: Silver Loops KShs. 300; Nature-coloured Stone Neckpiece KShs. 2,500; Black and White Beaded Bracelet KShs. 200; Brown Clutch Bag with Crop Detail KShs. 1,800; Faith: Yellow Loops KShs. 300


Night out

A sheer dress with sequin detail at the bustier. Note that we

chose to tone down the look by opting not to use much neck

accessories as the dress is detailed (sequins).

Movie Premier or Red-Carpet Event Elegance and class is what your black dress should be all about for this look. This timeless beautiful black dress will bring out your inner grace and you’ll notice your walking style will change!

CLUTCH BAGS - Backyard Shoe Shop, Woodvale Lane opposite Unga House JEWELLERY - Anzuri, Magharibi Plaza, Muthaite Avenue, Nairobi West

Cherina: Red Pearl necklace KShs. 1,000 layered with chunky black beads KShs. 1,500; Pink-purple Hoops KShs. 700, Red Wood and Glass Bracelet KShs. 500 layered with a Red Chunky Bracelet KShs. 500 Patent Snakeskin Leather Clutch KShs. 1,800 Faith: Gold Beaded Necklace KShs. 2,000; Purple and Silver Hoops KShs. 700

Backyard Shoe Shop Woodvale Lane opposite Unga House

Gold Metallic Strapped Heels KShs. 2,500; Red Patent Leather-strapped Chunky Heels KShs. 2,500

Steve’s Collection, Bishan Plaza, Upper Second floor, Shop 29, Mpaka Road, Westlands

Cherina: Black Pleated Satin Dress KShs. 3,000 Faith: Black Chiffon Dress with Bow Empire Detail KShs. 2,500


This chic sheer dress can be worn on your dinner date with sexy bronze metallic heels to boot. Note that since the black dress is well…black and without much detail it’s important to go all out when it comes to accessorizing therefore go for loud but elegant colours to bring out the outfit.

This gorgeous pleated satin dress is perfect for a cocktail party, its simplicity leaves room to play around with accessories. Red and black go together like bread and butter…this combination makes a statement without saying a word.



Back 2 Basics


OFFICE FASHION This look is playful yet sexy! Ankle boots are in and when matched with stockings and this casual black dress, well the overall look is fabulous!

CASUAL For that extra edge in the office wear this black dress with a jacket over it. Color clashing is in, don’t be afraid of color!

Cherina: Black doll dress KShs. 2,500; Green Bolero Jacket KShs. 1,500; Aviator Sun Glasses KShs. 5,000 Cherina: Black dress with Cupped Sleeves KShs. 2,500 under a Lime Satin Jacket KShs. 1,800; Stockings KShs. 350 Steve’s Collection, Bishan Plaza, Upper Second floor, Shop 29, Mpaka Road, Westlands

Red Velvet Chunky Heels with a Bow KShs. 2,500 Black Ankle Boots KShs. 2,500 Backyard Shoe Shop, Woodvale Lane opposite Unga House

Cherina: White and Brown layered Pearl Necklace KShs. 2,500; White Pearl Studs KShs. 300 Cherina: Pink-purple Hoops KShs. 700; Gold Star Chain KShs. 6,725 SUN GLASSES - Optica JEWELLERY - Anzuri, Magharibi Plaza, Muthaite Avenue, Nairobi West

024 Back 2 Basics


“Good Deejays are born NOT made.” Strong words from an equally strong personality. Find out more about this compelling disc jockey who doesn’t mince his words when it comes to the love of his life…deejaying. How did it all start? I remember when I was in high school, I sketched a turn-table on my locker with hopes of one day owning one and becoming a Dj, whichever came first! (laughs). My first gig was a wedding and first major gig was Mr/ Miss USIU 2003. I didn’t undergo any form of training; I learnt the art through observing and practicing. There’s a misconception that anyone can become a Dj That’s exactly what that is…a misconception. There’s a difference between a Dj and a good Dj…That’s the ranking and various Djs fall in various categories. Good Djs are born not made. In the international scene what are some of the names that come to your mind as having influenced your decision to become a Dj? Funk Master Flex…he’s a legend. His CD mixed tape volume 1 is what inspired me to become a Dj and a great one at that. What has by far been the most embarrassing moment on stage? There was a certain concert where I was deejaying, the crowd was feeling the music, I was feeling the music... it was intense! I miscalculated my steps when I moved back and before I knew it I was on the ground! I dislocated my shoulder and I couldn’t continue playing. What would you say is the best thing about your job? Without a doubt, getting to travel and experiencing different cultures. It’s always a learning experience and it challenges your creativity as a Dj, because different crowds will have different tastes and preferences and it’s your job as an entertainer to please the crowd and leave them yearning for more. Do you ever get butterflies before a show? Definitely especially when it’s a huge crowd but I always pull myself together and give a terrific show! Where can your fans catch you spinning? Rush Live every Saturday on NTV, I interchange with Dj Mobi. I am a Flava Unit Dj, which is the Dj outfit under Blackstar Entertainment, therefore you can also catch me at any Blackstar event. Biggest challenge you’ve faced as a Kenyan Dj? Kenyans, sadly to say, don’t support their own talent. They would rather an international Dj perform than their local talent, we need support from Kenyans in order for the industry to grow. What do you dislike about your job? I’d like to call them occupational hazards (laughs), the long working hours and sleepless nights! What legacy do you want to leave behind? I want to be remembered as one of the best Djs that ever lived!



Nokia 5800 Xpress Music

Air Drummer

okia is a world famous mobile phone manufacturing company. The Nokia 5800 Xpress Music is from this leading brand, which is specifically designed for listening to music. The MP3 player and stereo FM radio installed in this gadget are the entertainment tools, the music listeners would love to listen to their favourite songs through these. The TV out feature lets the users watch videos on their television sets. It offers a 3.2 mega pixels camera which enables one to click high quality pictures in an instant way. It has an operating system called Symbian OS. It is quite easy to use. This widget comes in three popular colours, including Red and Blue. The dimensions of this mobile phone are 111x 51.7 x 15.5 mm and its weight is 109 grams. Apart from these features, this wonderful gadget can keep call details for up to 30 days. It provides a phonebook which lets the users keep unlimited contact entries.


Like Nickelback said, “We all want to be a big rock star”. Not all of us can afford the expensive instruments or lessons though, and we all don’t have the talent and patience needed to play those complicated instruments. But, with the miJam Pro Air Drum Kit, anyone can play the drums and sound like a pro. The miJam Pro Air Drums are a truly impressive gadget, we’ve seen air drums before but these are in a league of their own. It allows you to play drums without wires. It simulates a full drum set with a pair of wireless drumsticks, a bass drum foot pedal, and a speaker unit. You can jam along with any songs in your music player.

A 128GB Flash Disk?

Elecom Compact 10 Port USB Hub

ingston’s DataTraveler 200 (DT200) is actually the world’s first 128GB USB flash drive that’s enough storage for around 182 music CDs (remember those?) or up to 27 DVD movies. Do not worry if you don’t need the large capacity as the wholly-black DT200 128GB also comes in a blue-andblack 32GB model and yellow-and-black 64GB model capacities.

ver had a ton of USB items that needed plugging in? It can be extremely frustrating when you run out of ports. Then you get an extra hub and of course, that one fills up eventually. So although you may not really need 10 different USB ports, you’re just giving yourself the option to have a lot plugged in at once. It’s always better to have too many USB ports rather than too few. The Elecom Compact 10 Port USB Hub would definitely leave plenty of breathing room to grow, particularly


It should be pointed out the 128GB model, unlike the 32GB and 64GB versions, is build to order only, so you’ll have to wait a lot longer after checkout before the drive is actually shipped to you. Kingston is a little vague on delivery times at the moment. Each model offers Windows-based password protection to help safeguard data (allows you to create and access a passwordprotected secure area of the drive called a Privacy Zone) and requires no admin rights. There are neither special features nor auto-backup software included in the bundle - just a simple drive with a huge capacity.

028 Gadgets Galore



for those that have a family computer. You could leave more plugged in and not have to worry about anyone fighting over who gets to use the spare port to charge their camera or iPod…for those who didn’t know… USB devices are automatically charged when plugged in. The USB Hub comes in three different colours, you can purchase it in either black, silver or white. You can find it for $101 which translates to about KSH 8,000 from Geek Stuff 4 U, which might be a little more than some are willing to spend just for a little extra convenience.

Sound Asleep Pillow usic at bedtime can aid sleep, but not everyone wants to listen to their partner’s choice. This pillow has speakers hidden inside so when you’re lying on it, you can hear your tunes but the sound won’t carry to your bedfellow.


Brookhouse Academy of Performing Arts (BhAPA)

Is a Career in the Music Industry For You? For many people in East Africa the opportunity to become a well trained professional in the music industry has remained out of reach. Some have received initial vocal or instrumental training in music skills, but for the most part have had to apply their own business acumen, technical savvy or performance skills as they navigate the professional music world. As part of their commitment to the development of the Performing Arts across East Africa Brookhouse International School in Nairobi has introduced a course that merges the elements of Business and Technology as they pertain to Music, in order to satisfy this niche. The course, called a BTEC in Music, is designed to develop and nurture anyone with a passion for music, creating the all-round professional individuals much needed by the music industry today, both within East Africa and abroad. As the course is directly accredited by the Edexcel Board in the UK, graduates can go into professional employment, and still have a clear progression into tertiary institutions worldwide. Music lovers over 16 years of age, those already in the music industry and even those in other professions with a burning ambition to nurture their musicality, are eligible to take the course, whether your key interest is performance, musicianship, technical skills or entrepreneurship related to the music industry. For further information, please contact the admissions staff at the Brookhouse Academy of Performing Arts (BhAPA) at or visit their website –

Why wasn’t I told!


Plan B

Hip hop rejuvenation words l TRISH KIM

In our society, where the survival of hip hop is threatened by the birth of unconventional styles, a few ardent hip hop fans are bent on keeping the dream alive…on keeping hip hop alive. 24 year-old Barack “Plan B” Othieno, is the upcoming artist doing just that


Cover Story


Cover Story




a day will ever come when I’ll say that I’ve learnt enough; there isn’t such a thing! In the music industry every day is a learning process. Who inspires you internationally? Without a doubt, Jay Z and the old Lil Wayne [not the auto-tune Lil Wayne]. There’s also Common and Black Thought of the Roots. These artists have remained true to hip hop. How they spit their rhymes is truly inspiring and makes me the rapper that I am today. What’s your take on all the hating associated with Hip Hop? Hating is negative energy and I don’t associate myself with negative energy. Haters will always be there and if someone were to hate on me, I would not retaliate…silence is golden. Besides, if no one is hating on you then there’s something you’re doing wrong! Who would you like to work with locally? Names such as STL, Abbas, Mwana FA, Jozi (South Africa) and Proverb come to mind. What do you think is holding back the Kenyan music industry from reaching its full potential? The people who are already in the industry and have made it. They’ve made their tight circles, especially with the [Radio and T.V] presenters. Before any upcoming artists get in, it’s nail biting to say the least, especially when you don’t have anyone backing you.

and like his name suggests; he gives us the alternative to genge. He gives us rhythm and rhyme, the other option, hip hop. Your interest in music began… Back in the day! I’ve grown up listening to my parents’ Soul, TPOK Jazz, Franco. I’ve been a huge Michael Jackson fan especially the Beat It era! When my family moved to the States, I joined a music club in school and first learnt how to drum after seeing this guy drumming…it looked like the coolest thing! I came back to Kenya in 2004 determined to record; Dj Loop and Mano gave me the opportunity to do so, though none of the songs were ever released. Since 2004 I’ve released a song Anguka featuring Collo of the Kleptomaniax, produced by Shazi last year; it received considerable airplay and response. I am currently working with Blackstar Entertainment trying to re-launch and repackage my music as I believe it’s matured tremendously from when I started recording. I release my album soon; the songs are a blend of English and Kiswahili. It’s a work in progress, I’ll complete the album and have a listening party soon after. The feeling I’ll get from the music in the album will determine its title. The theme of the album is 3rd World Urban scene. That’s the party scene, the hustle in life and generally how people interact. I’m basically having fun with music and hip hop in general. I stand for good music and every time I go behind the mic, I ensure that I deliver to my fans what is expected of me. It’s a business and as much as I love to do music, I am also in it to earn a living. You rank yourself… At the top! The competition is not in Kenya. I want to break the country barriers and be ranked among the biggest names in the hip hop industry. We are taking over and taking it to the next level. However, it’s important to mention that even the biggest names in the industry still have room for growth…I don’t think


Cover Story


Is there anything else you’re doing apart from music? I am studying Business Administration at USIU. I finish in 2010. My parents are both intellectuals. Therefore, from an early age, the importance of education was drilled in me. What does the future hold for the Kenyan music industry? It’s amazing how the industry is growing! However, artists have to start demanding their royalties. But for this to happen, the quality of music needs to improve in order to have the radio stations see it worth paying the artists each time they play their songs.


Bongo Flava



a m d n Gra THE




r e t as lso a , e r e i s a M s Denni aster m d n a r G s a known ht g u a t f l e s a s Masese, i hails o h w r e y a l obokano p of h t u o s e h t n from Kisii i ince. v o r p a z n a y Kenya’s N JAMBO p EMMANUEL images




TRADITIONAL o act. back to Nairobi as a sol to trument ins the for on ssi d instruments by order pa his e discovered then I’ve made and sol ce Sin it t tha but had to put longer to sell one than when he was only eleven rformance gigs. It takes pe nt me pli com re are ucation. As Dennis ney in performance. The on hold to pursue his ed make it. There’s more mo to es do sic to give mu got d ly y beyon days. I recent ional instrument goes wa ce opportunities these an rm rfo pe re mo explains, playing a tradit . y told in music er artists. The event rature in song, our histor francaise alongside oth lite l ce ora ian is All it at t n; tio cer cia con a pre ap ons, I have rs old. I used uncil. On several occasi okano when I was 11 yea anized by the British Co I started playing the ob org s wa my lly, ua age. Act at poetry recitals. her at a neighbouring vill provided backup music to visit a distant grandfat . ays lid ho l oo sch g rin d me to her sister du grandmother used to sen g ceremonies after music is vital; it’s a l yed in that village. Durin na io it ad Tr This instrument was pla try try and try and e nced, I’d pick it up and we had danced and da oral literature becaus of rm s, grandfather and fo sin cou my g on am be to until I got it. I was proud were e of the songs which play the obokano. m ld so cou o wh other villagers y , one da s not played in my village uries ago tell storie nt Since the obokano was ce d se po m d an co age vill r’s one from my grandfathe I managed to flee with ies of our cultures. king for it. So or loo st e hi cam r d he an fat nd gra My ce. pla went with it to my d but still got trument. It wasn’t that goo then I made a similar ins a g around and dern band where we had o told me to stop playin also performed in a mo I’ve destroyed by my dad wh lves n’t rse to form 4 I did mmer. We called ou l. So from standard 5 up nyatiti player and a dru a t, nis ho op sax concentrate with schoo ation from the at the Windsor and s a long period of hibern performed once or twice wa d t an Tha na . no ika Sh oka i ob un ad the Tam touch ething. We even recorded som Golf and Country Clubs. iga tha Mu instrument. ke an instruments from differ l, 2004, I decided to ma ditional ensemble with tra a in yed Three years after schoo pla I’ve band at a ian. A few friends got to play with an Italian become a fulltime music rts of Kenya. Recently I pa ent obokano and decided to tival iNa Ha to uld travel titute and at the y Fes al dance group and wo anized by the Italian Ins org p ho rks wo and I formed a tradition didn’t survive go back home. The group in the UK. robi for a few gigs then ure I came l; it’s a form of oral literat pursue other things. So to d nte wa ers mb me Traditional music is vita as the other centuries ago gs which were composed because some of the son is contemporary of our cultures. My music ies tor his d an s rie sto l tel about current afst of my songs and sing because I compose mo ots in West Africa. oral historian like the gri fairs, so in a way I am an chings and inforlked the desert giving tea These are people who wa re, but not here y are much respected the mation through song. The g time ago that precious from a long, lon and yet I have something been going on out. For example, we’ve people have forgotten ab on reaching us it apre is so much informati about famine. Since the But really, famine is the worst famine ever. is s thi ugh tho as rs pea I know this because every generation or so. something that affects lks with her young ks of a woman, who wa we have a song that tal they are drowned but the rain comes and son in search for grain, rch for food, that ves their dwellings in sea by floods. If someone lea the help of the song really severe. Plus, with means the famine was it happened. ically trace the location we are able to geograph urban music was ignored in the For a while, traditional rs want to sing and rural areas where village the in as ll we as s tre cen be because when mit themselves. It may dance but wouldn’t com That is, they got y also got westernized. people got educated the l to acquire knowlwledge. We go to schoo kno ked lac t bu n tio educa and you come out s wrong along the way edge but something goe t of revival. People r now. There is some sor without it. But it’s bette and international . They attend both local seem to have woken up music because they mercialize this form of festivals and even com that, traditional in our culture. Besides ue val s re’ the t tha lize rea t people who have r school system. I’ve me music ought to be in ou t plain ignorance. g a wandindi! That’s jus told me that I was carryin media. So if they what’s provided by the low fol to d ten o als ple Peo more people will on on this type of music provided more informati learn to appreciate it.



Traditional Music:

A Relevant Part of Life The sounds of nature — rumbling thunder, falling rocks, flowing rivers, chirping birds and mountain eruptions, among other things — inspired traditional musicians. words p ONGORI NYARIANSA usic is an important part of life

The sounds of nature - rumbling thunder,

in the plains]? Some people have argued

since time immemorial. It encom-

falling rocks, flowing rivers, chirping birds

that hip hop’s style of shaking the head

passes life and forms part of the basis

and mountain eruptions, among other

and bopping might have originated from

that is life. Music has not only entertained,

things - inspired traditional musicians.

the Maasai! Could that be true? Let me

it has also taught and encouraged and

That is why we have imagery in this art

have your opinion. Ribina dance in Kisii,

above all, carried the history of a people

form. They used the environment and ani-

performed on a sacred hill, was to search

from one generation to the next for cen-

mals as analogies in songs and dances.

for rain after severe droughts. Did it work?



One would have to listen and In traditional African societies,

inquire more about the songs and dances

Can one sing so well that it pours? On that note, is traditional music

many factors influence our way of life and

to get the drift. Look at the Maasai leaps

still relevant today? If we performed ribina

more importantly, our creative abilities

for example; do they jump up and down

dance at the top of the south tower of All

over the years. These factors may be

perhaps to signify their trying to reach

Saints’ Cathedral, would it pour?

environmental, political and economic.

the height of the highlands [as they lived Traditional



Club Scene Every Wednesday:

Rock Entry: KShs. 200

Every Thursday:

Urban Legends Entry: KShs. 300

1 Friday of every month:

New Jack Swing

3rd Friday of every month:



Carnivore Rave Entry: KShs. 200


Soul Entry: KShs. 200


BEER AT KShs. 130

KlubHouse 1 Ojijo Road, Parklands


In-house DJ


Girls Nite and Best of 70’s


Kool n tha Gang


Karaoke Nite


In-house DJ


Gogosimo Band


Nyama Choma Sunday Party



Unga House, Woodvale Lane, Westlands Wednesday:

Karaoke from 6.00pm until late


Divas Night from 2.00pm until late


Happy House from 6.00pm until late


Party’s Night


040 Club Scene



Woodvale Grove, Westlands Wednesday:

DJ Sumo plays mixed music


DJ Zelalem plays House Music


Afro Fusion with DJ Mark


Band Night

Sunday - Tuesday:


BEER AT KShs. 130

Club Scene




Ear for the Music

Ashley Mugo, 25

I listen to rock and ragga. Locally I am really feeling the rock bands in Kenya, Kings of Leon and Aerial. I am jamming to Aerial’s System of a down right now.

Sauti Sol: Mwanzo

Sultry voices over the walking bass and the use of light percussion offers a breath of fresh air. auti Sol is a blend of two tenors, a baritone and an acoustic guitarist: Baraza, Willis, Delvin and Polycarp. This is arguably Kenya’s best thought out fusion of western harmony, neo-soul and African music. It sounds like African blues as opposed to rhythm and blues. Sultry voices over the walking bass and the use of light percussion offers a breath of fresh air. Mwanzo, their debut album is produced by Wawesh, who does an excellent job with the urban touch.


Mwanzo Playlist (13 tracks)

Asubuhi – a love song (listen to the walking bass) Lazizi – your thoughts about a love interest (has a vernacular streak) Mafunzo ya dunia – life lessons are not always comprehensible Sunny days – enjoy every moment of a beautiful day Zosi – be careful not to sell your pride (has heavy Zulu influence) Wera – do all it takes to make an honest living Mama Papa – seeking parental blessings for marriage (feel the reggae beat) Blue Uniform – encounter with the police is not pleasant Subira – sweet love gone sour Mapacha – love song Mushivala – rise up and face your trials (fully vernacular) Nairobi – there is fun in the sun in this Kenyan city Asante baba – acknowledgement for daddy

Lady Jay Dee: Shukrani Uhuru Brown, 25

Play me hip hop or Reggae any time and I’ll be good. Locally, I’m feeling Hip hop Halisi by Ukoo Fulani and Nazizi.

Eric Kamau, 19

I love soft rock, reggae and ragga. In the local scene I am feeling quite a number of jams but Cannibal’s I Wish…that song killed me!!

042 CD Review


Perhaps it’s Nishike Mkono that will grab your attention as Lady Jay Dee goes all out strange with the heavy metal touch.

his compilation is probably one of Lady Jay Dee’s most adventurous works. The arrangements here show that the queen of bongo flava is not afraid to experiment and goes out of her element, literally. The album is produced in both South Africa and Tanzania, taking a risk with over five producers. As a result, her fans are treated with a variety of sounds. The first track, Siku Hazigandi, starts with an upbeat kwaito bounce. You’d expect something suthu or zulu but Lady Jay Dee surprises you with a swa’ hook. Wait til you get to Njalo, featuring the mzanzi Mina Nawe, then you’ll confirm that Lady Jay Dee is at home with the South African flavour. Perhaps it’s Nishike Mkono that will grab your attention as Lady Jay Dee goes all out strange with the heavy metal touch. Mad Ice blends well with the songstress and keeps the ad libs to a minimum. It would be interesting to watch the electric guitarist working it! Rest in Peace slows down the tempo but only for a moment as Nako 2 Nako spits his rhymes to introduce the next track Nyimbo, a number about appreciating our cultural music. The title track Shukrani bears more weight in its lyrics than the music conveying it. While a lot of thought may have gone into this composition, the text /wengine wameshakufa na wengine wanaumwa/ offers an anticlimax to a rather cheerful hook. The album concludes with an acoustic version of Siku Hazigandi. While track 1 makes you dance, track 12 will make you listen. Anyone who appreciates meaningful African music should get this album.



Ear for the Music

Kiki Muthaura, 23

I love ragga and neo-soul, locally I’m feeling Redsan’s Yule Pale. The video, beat and choreography are tight tu sana!

Aaron Rimbui: Alfajiri

The album is quintessentially Aaron and it does not disappoint with its mix of jazzy instrumentals spiced up with vocals. aron Rimbui’s new effort, Alfajiri, shows once again that he is a jack of all trades. He plays the keyboard, drums, and bass in this album, as well as arranges the music. He shares co-producing credits with his brother Tim and renowned saxophonist Joseph Hellon. The album is quintessentially Aaron and it does not disappoint with its mix of jazzy instrumentals spiced with vocals and spoken word. The title track Alfajiri is a gentle number that deceptively begins as if what was to occur next was a fullblown heavy metal song. Benin is an upbeat track with an introduction that suggests Africa in typical hustle and bustle. Particularly infectious are the first track Amani and the African-influenced and very danceable C’est La Vie, with vocals by Eric Wainaina. Will You Talk To Me? is more laid back with great lyrics. Kanji tends to go overboard with the vocals tipping the overall balance at some point, but Atemi gives a good account. In I’m Coming Again Kanjii’s vocals are just right and offer a mellow contrast to the vibrant instrumental lines. The catchy Can I Come For Tea! will have you bobbing your head and moving to the beat. Though the album leans heavily towards upbeat instrumentals, it is quite difficult to classify it in this era of ‘fusion’ music. Jazz lovers would definitely enjoy this work. Alfajiri is a good buy and a keeper.


Juliani: Mtaa Mentality

Juliani has no limites to the music he uses; in this album he incorporates RnB, soul, hip hop and reggaeton. taa Mentality is Juliani’s voice calling out to the youth about positive living. He offers his personal experiences as lessons to learn from and shows the power of God in his life. Although his genre is mainly kapuka, which often refers to spoken lyrics, Juliani has no limits to the music he uses; in this album he incorporates RnB, soul, hip hop and reggaeton, providing something appealing to all.


Marabo Moses, 21

I listen to afro-fusion, soul and RnB. I like Lady Jay Dee and Wahu. Kanjii’s I’m just a man is one of my favourite songs.

Steve ‘Mr. Brigz’ Mumia, 26

I am a die-hard fan of hip hop. Locally, I’m feeling Plan B’s Nafika C.

Your Ear talks about the changed man that is Juliani /hey yo nime change hallo haumezei/ Hela Catchy start with a series of thirds on keyboard that resolve in the words /wanaweka trust kwa hela/ Ka si sisi /kutabadilishwa na nani ka si sisi/ I guess suggests that we are the solutions to our problems. The hook is embellished with Ciiru’s voice Mahewa starts with a quasi chorus of male voices. While the title suggests music, there’s mention of God and man’s character Church on Monday /kama viti za church on Monday vichwa zao empty/ makes the hook. Astar and Michelle create a hip hop twist to this track Damu ya Yesu starts with a vocal ad lib going on about /damu ya Yesu/. Dunco’s vocal highlights carry on above Juliani’s lyrics Biceps /Pia me u cry kwa crisis pia me najua mwanaume si biceps/ is echoed in speech by Mc LC /Pia me u cry kwa crisis pia me najua urembo sio kutex/. Juliani says /venye unajua si hivyo, huwa kuvaa white haimaanishi angel/ Mtaa Mentality keyboard leads the intro with a melodic phrase plus chordal punctuations as Juliani joins in with /hey, heya/. Ciiru brings the intro to climax. She sings the hook /streets wanauliza ni aje, iko wapi suluhisho yaku make a difference, wanalia/ Who is to Blame A union of guitar and shakers plus Eric Wainaina’s ad lib form the intro. He sings the chorus /who is to blame, who is behind this/ from his debut album.

CD Review




Ear for the Music

George Gichuki, 25

I listen to hip hop and a bit of reggae. At the moment am feeling Chiwawa’s song Renegade, which is due to be released.

Pendo Kweli A soulful intro with Kanji’s vocals. The partnership between Juliani’s verses and the keyboard entries, plus the cosmic accompaniment provided by the synth makes this a musical masterpiece. Stori Hii /Huzuni imenukumba mimi/ intro by Kera is a solemn call whose melody matches the lyrics setting the mood for the track. Sounding like an old transistor radio, Kanji seals it in speech /We are one nation, we are one tribe/…I choose to be a member of the tribe Kenya/ Rimz Timz /Sina ma rimz timz ma blingbling, lakinin nina husiano na King of kings/ is Juliani’s hook with Ciiru providing some vocal highlights Something More The hook which bears the title is sang by Brian King, with Juliani echoing the words /Kuna hope, kuna God, kuna peace, kuna this, kuna that lakini hauoni kwa media/. Wenyeji spit fire as they give this track a gangsta vibe.

Daddy Owen: System Ya Kapungala Daddy Owen exhibits a strong footing in dancehall and lingala, and takes no chances with mediocrity addy Owen gives us Christian contemporary music for all tastes. This energetic sound is particularly appealing to the young at heart. Daddy Owen exhibits a strong footing in dance hall and lingala and takes no chances with mediocrity. This is the efforts of a team of musicians finding balance and structure in their voices and styles.


System ya Kapungala (12 tracks)

Angela Muriuki, 26

I listen to reggae and hip hop. I love Juliani’s Mtaa Mentality album especially the song Hela.

Paul Maxi, 33

I listen to Bongo Flava and RnB. I’m a fan of Marlow, Neyo and Usher Raymond.

044 CD Review


Am on Fire: Dance hall. Hook /Am on fire, fire, fire, Holy Ghost fire…/ Kidonda: Typical lingala flavour as noted in the instrumentation, vocal arrangement and the use of speech in music. Moderate tempo. /Kidonda kilicho moyoni mwangu Yesu kitoe, uchungu uliyo rohoni mwangu Yesu uutoe/ Kigocho: Just the right mix of lingala, dance hall and Kikuyu music. Notice the prominent lead guitar. Interesting vocal variations. Sifa Zako: You cannot miss this techno number; one can almost see the laser beams flashing. Hypnotizing. Hook /Na sifa zako weh, weh, weh tutazieneza kwote eh eh eh/ System ya Kapungala: Lingala flavour. Hook /Nifuate mimi nikimfuata Yesu/ Fuata nyayo zangu nikimfuata Yesu/ Kiriro: Starts with a soothing piano and synth passage and develops into a reggaeton chorus in Kikuyu. /…mnasonga mbali na Yeye, hamjali matendo yenu yamuudhi, hamjali Mungu wenu…/ Yesu Alisema: Dance hall number. Hook /Yesu alisema wchni watoto wote waje kwangu, hakuna kuopna ufalme mpaka upat Yesu/ What is Life: Piano passage intros this hip hop track. Hook /what is life without hope, what is life without peace, what is life without love/ I Will Go: Dance hall. Hook /And now am changed, am re-arranged, even though this new life is kinda strange…everywhere you send me I’ll go/ Coupe de Calle: Lingala. Can’t-stop-myself-from-dancing-kind of song. Percussive and full of energy. /kuna moto, kuna waka, kuna moto…/tunakata mpaka chini/ tuna dansez…, tunatupa mikono/…tunamsifu Mwokozi…coupe de calle, coupe de calle…/ Tukisimama: Dance hall. The hook has a hint of bongo flava /Tukisimama kwenye kiti cha enzi, tukiwa tumetulia pamoja na mashujaa wa zamani, tukimwimbia aliyetukomboa, tukimsifu hosanna halleluyia/ Hafungi Macho: Dance hall. /Mungu baba yeye hafungi macho, habadiliki jana, leo hata kesho. Azijua raha na shida zako, oooh/


Circuit ft. Kizo B Sura Suga RKay

Shot on location in a greenhouse. Instead of a bouquet of roses why not give her a whole greenhouse? Cool! Inside shots are fabulous. Filming outside the greenhouse was not a good idea though.

Verdict: Guilty on the account of thinking outside the box

Q-tac Ocha Luche

A guy is clearly having a rough time in the city. Scenes from his experiences with crime and high supermarket prices flash by. He bundles up into an overcrowded ocha-bound bus. It seems every passenger there is in a similar predicament. What follows, however, is quite unexpected. On arrival, the lad is received by a throng of sexy women in urban attire, poise, the works! It seems, in his twisted nostalgia all the babes in shagz now appear rather dashing!


Verdict: Guilty on the account of telling a compelling story

JMI (teddy) Who can stand a traffic jam?

Lady Jay Dee


Siku Hazigandi Adam Juma

Mahaba Marya

Ogopa The return of a lost love.

 Pii Pii Marlaw

Najuta The video is shot at several locations offering great visual stimulation. The wardrobe selection cannot go unnoticed, super. While there is no story-line, viewers are treated with the most beautiful sunset silhouettes on the planet!

Verdict: Guilty on the account of using videography to showcase the beauty of Africa


Ogopa Regrets over a breakup

 Mteja

Kanjii, Juliani, Wenyeji, Wahu et al Kijiji records About the right to information

 Poa

Kwenye Dansi

Madtraxx Ogopa Video

Lyrical Assassins A regular night out is often packed with adventure and mishaps. Although Madtraxx says everything iko poa, interestingly, just about everything that could go wrong does. He is broke, his mom won’t let him go out, he bounces a pal at their meeting spot, his buddy is frozen entry into the joint, the girls don’t feel him, it’s endless.

Verdict: Poa!

Mandugu digital As the title suggests, let’s dance!

 Asubuhi Sauti Sol

Wawesh (penya) Singing to the one you love

 Video Court






HOOD Steve: Yellow T-shirt KShs. 1,500; Dark Blue Jeans KShs. 3,500; Brown Leather Belt KShs. 1,500 Cherina: Brown Fold-up Shorts KShs. 500; Blue Vest with Silver Detail KShs. 300; Purple Waist Coat KShs. 350; Green Belt KShs. 300; Blue Satin Tie KShs. 100; Brown Satin Head Scarf KShs. 200 Steve dressed by Steve’s Collection, Bishan Plaza. Cherina dressed by Up Next Fashion, Ongata Rongai

Black Leather Boots KShs. 6,000; Brown Canvas Rubbers KShs. 1,500 LEATHER BOOTS from Kiokas Collection, Jamia Mosque

046 Fashion Hit List



Fashion Hit List



Faith: Multi-coloured T-shirt KShs. 500; Red Skinny Jeans KShs. 800; Light Green Bolero Jacket KShs. 2,500 Steve: Dark Blue Jeans KShs. 3,500; Pink T-shirt KShs. 1,500 Cherina: Purple Skinny Jeans KShs. 800; Black T-shirt KShs. 500; Black Leather Jacket KShs. 3,500; Yellow Studded Belt KShs. 200 Steve dressed by Steve’s Collection. Faith and Cherina dressed By Up Next Fashion, Ongata Rongai

048 Fashion Hit List



Fashion Hit List



Steve: Bright Yellow Sweater KShs. 1,500; Lime and Yellow Checked Shirt KShs. 1,500; Dark Blue Jeans KShs. 3,500 Steve’s Collection, Bishan Plaza, Upper Second floor, Shop 29, , Mpaka Road, Westlands

Cherina: Blue Mini Dungarees KShs. 2,500; White Vest KShs. 300; White Knit Cap KShs. 700; Green Belt KShs. 300; Pee Toe Pink and Black Polka Dot Heels KShs. 1,000; Yellow Hoops KShs. 300 Faith: Grey Vest with Sequin Details KShs. 300; Yellow Belt KShs. 300 and Black Knit Cap KShs. 700 Up Next Fashion, Ongata Rongai. Overall Minis from Steve’s Collection. Knit Caps from Backyard Shoe Shop


Fashion Hit List



Fashion Hit List




Event Pictorial


Kanjii and Neema perform during the 2009 Groove Music Awards at Kenyatta International Conference Centre, Nairobi



Jimmy Gait (main picture) with his award for Song of the Year Muhadhara 2009


Daddy Owen acknowledges his fans after receiving the award for Male Artist of the Year 2009

Men of God (MOG) perform the chart bursting No Letting Go during the 2009 Groove Music Awards. The members of MOG are Anthony Mburu, Kennedy Kimani and Paul Onyango


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Event Pictorial


25th April 2009 at the National Museum

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Emmanuel Jal savoring the beat of his music

Emmanuel Jal lose to win tour 056

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May 2009 at Simba Saloon CRAVEMUSICMAG.COM

l’s rhymes

ying Emmanue The crowd enjo

Lam on stage

e working up th


A reveller enjo ys the music

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sawa sawa

Renee Wilson sings her heart out


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Aaron Rimbui



rfo Iddi Achieng pe

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Nairobi Music Society and

Nairobi Orchestra 14th June 2009, Braeside School

Nairobi Orchestra conducted by Rob Stewardson

Nairobi Music Society conducted by Tony Davies

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James Laight accompanies the choir

Nairobi Music Society singers The crowd enjoys the music

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Prasad Velanka r

Karimi Mugamb i

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Thelma Mbodze

Indo - Swahili Concert


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