Event Review: Looking Back At The Enchanting Moments That Were At #SafaricomJazzAt5

Last weekend, thousands of jazz enthusiasts flocked Kasarani stadium for an afternoon of #SafaricomJazzAt5 that would be best described as an exceptionally riveting experience!

But what struck me with the #SafaricomJazzAt5 5th year anniversary was the week that was filled with bewitching jazz nights from Tuesday to Friday at the Intercontinental Hotel, the fun-filled kids show on Saturday which all culminated on a 9 hour show on Sunday.

Here are my highlights:

1. Country nights

The country nights were basically jam sessions from the respective countries of the #SafaricomJazzAt5 artists. We had Israeli night with the Betty Bears on Tuesday, Belgian night with Lean on Wednesday and German night with Joja Wendt on Thursday.

The Betty Bears performing on Tuesday at the Michael Joseph Centre

These performances gave people not only the chance to personally interact with the artists’music but also blend in with their cultures; including their food and drink. My personal favourite was the wine from Baraka Israel ๐Ÿ˜Š

Thursday’s act – Joja Wendt at the Intercontinental Hotel

2. The Jam Session At The Intercontinental on Friday – A night of Jazz with BWB

This had a more eclectic vibe to it. Artists would jump on stage and the result was one heck of a jazz party!

BWB on stage

We had the Limericks and Betty Bears playing and at some point we had Jacob Asiyo on the keys and Mac Mutsembi from Nairobi Horns on the sax and my did they make some great music!

The night was crowned when BWB got up on stage and this is where I discovered that Rick Braun is a BEAST on the Trumpet!

3. The kids concert with Jimek, Safaricom Youth Orchestra and Ghetto Classics

The kids concert that usually happens the day before the big show gives kids fron both primary and high school a chance to experience Safaricom Jazz.

Jimek and the Ghetto Classics played Jimek’s world famous Hip Hop Orchestra that got the kids super excited. It was an unexpected type of performance and listening to the children just goes to show how much talent our young children have but are derailed by lack of opportunities.

Jimek did a stellar job on the composition of the music, and the kids had so much fun listening to the orchestra playing especially when it got to the songs they loved!

The other artists (The Limericks, Betty Bears and Gloria Bosman) also performed for the kids and I must say I felt like a kid again! From the moment the artists got on stage, the kids were screaming their lungs off – which in turn gave the artists so much more energy on their performances!

4. Femme Fusion’s mind-blowing act!

Femme Fusion was this year’s surprise act. As a collaborative project put together by the British Council East African Arts programme, they brought together Kasiva Mutua from Kenya, Gloria Achilla from Uganda, Holly Madge and Emma-Jean Thackray from the UK.

Femme Fusion on stage at the Alchemist. Image Courtesy of Quaint Photography

The ensemble brought out a fierceness that can only be experienced when talented queens are brought together and their perfomances on Wednesday at the Alchemist and on the main stage on Sunday were exhilarating to say the least!

Look at Kendi Nkonge on stage!

To add on to the fierceness of Femme Fusion was the radiance of Gloria Bosman whose rich voice, good vibes and amazing dance moves on stage (even with heels on) blew our minds away!

South African legend Gloria Bosman. Image Courtesy of Nairobi Now

Her ability to simultaneously hit both high and low notes and still bring out her sensational vibe through her music was one for the books!

The magnetic Kasiva Mutua on stage! Image Courtesy of Nairobi Now

5. DJ D-Lite

The music at Safaricom Jazz Festivals would not be complete without resident David Muriithi aka DJ D-Lite. He always knows know to read his crowd and serve them different types of Jazz music from different eras that know just how to bring the crowd alive.

My favorites from him this time were when he played the Jazz versions of ‘Despacito’ and ‘Havana’ for the kids on Sunday & ‘Na Wasee Tumetoka Githuraiโ€™ a Kenyan Classic by Mr Lenny, Mr Googz and Vinnie Banton

6.BWB!

After an incredible afternoon of perfomances – despite the scorching sun – headliners BWB got on stage at around 7 pm. Composed of Norman Brown, Kirk Whalum and Rick Braun, they serenaded us with some songs from their first album like “Ruby” and “Do You Feel Me” by Kirk Whalum.

They also did covers like “Just my Imagination” by The Temptations and “I’ll be There” which was originally recorded in 1970 but popularized by the Jackson 5. They capped it of by doing a memorable tribute to the late Hugh Masekela, bring a 2 hour performance to a sad close.

The night ended with a glorious fireworks display marking the official 5th anniversary of the Safaricom International Jazz Festival!

See you next time for more riveting and heart-grabbing moments at Safaricom Jazz! โค

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