What do you do when you’re given the chance of a lifetime? You suit up (physically and maybe metaphorically), make sure your ducks are in a row and you give it the best you’ve got. This is exactly what Nairobi Horns Project did at their audition for the Safaricom 2016/2017 cohort and look at where they are now!
Since then, they have showed up on stage, given it their all and made sure that their audience begged for more, all thanks to Safaricom Jazz Festival.
The highly acclaimed trio composed of Mackinlay Mutsembi on trumpet, saxophonist Rabai Mokua and Victor Kinama on trombone and for that super saucy sound, they have super eclectic band that comprises of Amani Baya on Drums, Jack Muguna on Guitar, Kasiva Mutua on Percussion, George Nyoro on Keys and Moise Basinza on Bass, is primed to build on that success birthed in 2017.
Here’s their story and why they are eternally grateful for the platform given to them by the Safaricom International Jazz Festival:
How did the decision to create the band come about?
Hahahahaha…. What else, MUUUUUUUSIC!!! Ok, jokes aside, we heard the music spirit gods whisper, calling us to make music that everyone can boogie to. Long story short, Nairobi Horns Project was born.
You came together to audition for Safaricom Jazz and you weren’t as known yet. How was it putting yourselves out there?
The Nairobi Horns blossomed from the strong friendship bond we have. We have carved our niche over the last couple of years by associating ourselves with like-minded individuals. In addition to this, we owe it to the online penetration that keeps growing day by day. Music released via the digital streams has enabled us to get a wider reach, not forgetting the social media platforms that has been our right hand assistant.
When you guys auditioned to become one of the Kenyan bands performing for the 2016-2017 Safaricom Jazz circuit did you ever think you would become this big?
Making music is always a journey and never a destination. All along, we’ve enjoyed the process and have never looked at it as ‘becoming big’ in Kenya. We look back at the milestones hit and we are honestly grateful. Quintessential music such as Jazz has made us bolder. The music we create is always about us – a collective sharing our love to the musical audience who wish to devour on the music cooked.
We are super grateful to @SafaricomPLC and the #safaricomJazz Festival who are making this performance at JoJ possible through initiating and facilitating the artist exchange with the Joy of Jazz Festival. The SIJF was the very first platform we played on, pic.twitter.com/7ryS88pvar
— Nairobi Horns (@NairobiHorns) September 25, 2018
It is said that Jazz is about improvisation. As a unit, we collectively make music and the music we make is demands selfless collaboration from each individual member of the unit, the rewards borne from this; shines on individuality. The efforts of each member contributes to improving our sound as a collective. That is what we strive for; to have music that is relatable to everyone across the board.
Apart from Safaricom Jazz what other big breaks/opportunities have you had so far as Nairobi Horns Project?
Without a doubt, we are always grateful to Safaricom Jazz and the stage that enabled us to have a wider audience reach.
The festival set stage for us to create new connections. Additionally, it has opened up to international and regional artists to play outside the country. We are forever humbled by the support the festival gave us by making it possible to be part of the Standard Bank Joy of Jazz festival in September 2018. We were equally thrilled to represent the country and join other outstanding Kenyan artists who have graced the stage such as Eric Wainana and Valerie Kimani.
Since getting on to the Safaricom Jazz stage, you’ve grown leaps and bounds, from getting a bigger audience to getting your name out there to performing in other countries, please take us through this journey.
It was at the Safaricom Jazz stage we got open for Hugh Masekela, it was such an incredible feeling. We got to play our track singled Masekela that was written in his honor. Bra Hugh spirit lives on through his music and we were really honored to have paid homage to him in our country through our music.
In addition to this, the festival has enabled us to meet with incredible musicians such as Afrika Plus, who we did some collaborative projects as well as performing during the Safaricom Jazz Festival, Jazz Day celebrations in May 2018.
What has stood out from all of these fantastic music gatherings is music is such a universal language that can’t be rubbed off. Our music style has evolved over the years and many musicians have started blending jazz with more folk tunes to give it a Kenyan feel.
What’s next for Nairobi Horns? What should we expect in the coming months?
There is a lot we are preparing as a unit for the next few months to come. We are engaged in a couple of projects that are keeping us in check. Most of all, we are currently working on our most anticipated Debut album. We are really excited to share with our fans and music lovers alike what we have been cooking since we released our EP Kipepeo.
We also have a couple of fantastic gigs lined up, so keep checking our online pages for the details. 😉