BLANKETS & WINE

Blankets&Wine Kenya
Blankets&Wine Kenya

 

 

The first ever edition of Blankets & Wine went down almost seven years ago. The event, a brainchild of Muthoni Ndonga – famously known as Muthoni The Drummer Queen – had a simple but creative concept, the first of its kind this side of the Equator. It wasn’t one of these ordinary events where chaps in Versace sweatpants and mamis in booty shots went to get stupidly inebriated and listen to loud music from Konshens and grind and twerk their butts off. It was more of a family event that, unlike most Kenyan events, happened during the day. It was an event you could take your whole family, including your kids, to. It was an event you could bring with you that sacred bottle of wine or that aged Whiskey you had been saving for a special occasion, and enjoy slow sips from. It was an event that had the concept of a picnic; folks would come with their shukas and lessos and blankets, spread them on the soft grass, unwrap their packed lunch, pop their bottles of wine, and dine and wine with loved ones, all the while listening to mature music; music you didn’t need to shake your ass to, to enjoy; music you just had to move slowly to, groove with it’s rhythm, and if you were a poor dancer like myself, all you had to do was shake your head from your seat. Nice and easy.

 

 

But last year, Blankets & Wine sort of took a sabbatical from the Kenyan events scene. We waited but it never came. We waited some more – until it almost felt like what Raila goes through before election results are announced – but still, we got nothing. Instead, they took it down to Museveni’s home turf. Sources claim the sabbatical was caused by slight disagreements between Muthoni The Drummer Queen and one of her silent partners, a well-known billionaire businessman in the region. The businessman is said to have later come up with his own event to rival Blankets & Wine. When asked for comment – early this year – by some local daily on the validity of these rumors, Muthoni is reported to have said, “Blankets & Wine is unstoppable. We’re coming back this year, bigger and better.” Well, come back they did. Bigger and better they are. I mean, while some guys are bringing in Ali Kiba and sijui Koffi Olomide, Blankets & Wine is bringing in kina Aloe Blacc. You can’t argue with that.

 

 

Blankets&Wine Kenya
Blankets&Wine Kenya

 

 

I’m strolling into Ngong Racecourse circa 11 a.m. this past Sunday with my usual Photographer; Sammie Andre. I’m in light blue Khaki trousers and some checked long-sleeved shirt [not the best outfit for a Sunday event but what the hell], Sam is in a white Good Vibes T-shirt, a trench coat and jeans [with a bag carrying his camera hunched to his back] I have been to Racecourse exactly twice my whole life; during Jameson Live and for some photo shoot I was invited to. Sammie says he’s been here twice as well, both times on duty. So this would make the third time for both of us. Look at that, what are the odds? We are here today for the 59th edition of Blankets & Wine. Before today, we had only heard – and read – about it. We don’t know what to expect, we’re just hoping it’ll have been worth getting off bed on a Sunday – and abandoning ‘Lucifer’ series – for.

 

 

Numbers are slowly streaming in. A few Land Cruisers and Range Rovers and Subarus can be spotted in the parking lot. An ambulance and a firetruck are parked on either side of the entrance, in case shit hits the pan, and you can even hear some chap in a blue suit howling on his iPhone, “Come straight ahead after passing the cemetery, you will see some ka-billboard inscribed Ngong Racecourse up ahead. Find a nice spot to park that Mercedes and find me inside bwana.” In all honesty, I’m beginning to feel a little out of place. Chaps here are sharply dressed and holding onto gorgeous lasses with accents; it’s kind of like being the only person who wants Chapo-Madondo in a table-full of Pizza enthusiasts. You feel like you’re not wanted; like you’re a plague. Son of Were is a very simple man, my wardrobe is pathetic, and so is my hair cut. I board matatus and drop whiskey in my coffee and watch ‘The Blacklist’. The one thing I do not do is dress sharply. Okay, and listen to Adelle. That woman nearly destroyed my life after my last break up.

 

 

And, like I’ve said a gazillion times before, I do not bring ladies to events like these, and not just because the entrance fee is 3000 baab, but because of all the other things I would have to buy after paying that entrance fee. I mean, soft drinks, whine, Pizza, chicken, popcorn, hell, even, clothes. And attitude. So I roll up alone – or with my Photographer – and I enjoy the music, then when it’s time to go back home, I hurl my ass home. No fuss.

 

 

Blankets&Wine Kenya
Blankets&Wine Kenya

 

 

I had heard that this was going to be Just A Band’s last show as a group. That they would be taking a two-year break after this, to focus on individual projects. So when Sam and I ran into one-third of the group – Daniel Muli – I asked him what the cause of the break up was and he just beat about the bush. He said, “It’s not really a break up, it’s more of a time out, you know, to focus on our own things.” Which is, basically, what every group that’s breaking up says, ask Camp Mulla and P-Unit. “But for two years? Isn’t that a little too long?” I push. He gives me the most vague answer anyone could ever say. Ati, “It is, but then again, it’s really not.” Is it just me or is that just the shittiest response ever? Si that is one of those break up lines you tell to a nagging woman? A woman that wants to come over all the damn time but just won’t let you smash, sindio?

 

 

Scores of people have arrived by now. There are white guys – with their families – and, you know, regular black folk, smoking Shisha and holding glasses of booze. There are groups of light skinned ladies drinking Chardonnay and eating burgers at the V.I.P section. They look like the type of ladies who buy their own drinks in a club. Those types of ladies that don’t need a man to take care of them. The kind that say a whole bunch of nothings about being Independent and call themselves Feminists even though they haven’t the slightest idea in the devils balls what that means. The kind you walk up to and say, ‘Hey, you look nice’ and they roll their eyes and say, ‘I know.’ The kind you really want to punch on the chest but you remember FIDA will come for your broke ass.

 

 

There are tents all over the place. There is a PWC tent somewhere, there is a HelloFood tent somewhere, there is a Afri-Na-Ladi tent somewhere, there is a WhatsGood Live tent somewhere, but the sexiest of all is the Ciroc tent. They have these neat white seats in their tent, plus half a dozen or so beautiful lasses in tiny shorts walking around, that just make you weak on the knee and invite you in. But you don’t go in because maybe they might bring you a double of their vodka and Lord knows that bill would send your whole family towards bankruptcy. So you walk onward. Towards the backstage. Guys, let me tell you this first hand, like Sam puts it, there’s no greater joy than trying to get through to the backstage at a high-profile event but the bouncer holds you off and tells you you’re not allowed back there, so you just whip out your ‘All Access’ wrist band to his face and watch as he crumbles and apologizes and tries to kiss your ass. You feel like pinching his nose and telling him, “Know people,” but the last person that did that to a security personnel is now out of a job, so you just smile and pat him one the back and say, “It’s Okay Boss. It’s Okay.

 

 

Blankets&Wine Kenya
Blankets&Wine Kenya

 

 

When Mayonde gets on stage, the first thing you notice is not her curves, or her figure hugging dress, or her boot [pun unintended]; it’s her smile. You can tell a lot about somebody by their smile. You can tell if someone is happy, sad, broke, or just undergoing a dry spell by how they smile. Mayonde has an amazing smile. If I were married to Mayonde, we wouldn’t even have to talk when I was sad. I’d just ask her to smile and everything would be Okay. And I’m not one to put my hands in the air for a performing act but for Mayonde I did. You just can’t resist it, her voice has such kind of power over you. It soothes your soul, and makes you feel like giving yourself up to her, so she can do as she pleases with you [hopefully something dirty, hehe]

 

 

Whatever happens to Just A Band, these guys are still the Shit. I don’t care if Sauti Sol perfoms for Obama or the Queen, they will never be as good – or even half as creative – as Just A Band. That’s all I will say about that.

 

 

Blankets&Wine Kenya
Blankets&Wine Kenya

 

 

Khaligraph Jones and Kagwe Mungai were supposed to join Muthoni on stage during her set. Before their time came, Sam and I are talking to Khaligraph backstage about music. I ask him why they excluded U.B from the ‘Iz Vipi’ video and he goes;

 

 

The only thing that sets you apart in this industry is discipline, my man. The guy never showed up for the shoot. On the day of the video shoot, I was in Bondo for a show myself. And I caught the first flight back immediately the show ended and I went on set. But U.B stays hapa Nairobi West and he can’t show up for a bloody video shoot? C’mon. I don’t have a problem with drinking, as long as you do it responsibly and have your priorities correct man.

 

So you’re saying you don’t drink?

 

I don’t. And it really pisses me off to see artists mess themselves up on stage, because then whole world believes all artistes are like that. And that gets to me because there are those of us that don’t roll like that. Mimi ntaanza tu kupiga wasanii hapa Kenya waache ujinga.

 

 

When Khaligraph says something like that, you don’t know whether he’s just joking or he’s really serious. Because he says it with a straight face, and he’s tall, burly, and dark as night. Khaligraph is the kind of guy that can diss you in the studio and still come whop your ass in your house. So you don’t really laugh, you just chuckle and move on.

 

 

About this beef you and Octopizzo have, is that personal or it’s just business?”

 

At some point it was personal, but right now it’s purely just business. He’s not on my level, I’m not even looking at the Kenyan market anymore. But, the bottom-line always is, Octopizzo and I can never be friends. Never.

 

 

 

Then the mood of the conversation changes and he starts asking Sam and I the questions. He stares at us for a second and asks “So, what gossip blog do you guys work for?” and we say, “Just personal blogs, basically.” Then he asks, “How’s that going for you? These guys paying you well?” I smile and say, “Well, we get by.” And then he notices my phone charging from a power bank and he jokes, “Well, my nigga, if you can afford a power bank in Nairobi then you must be doing quite well.

 

 

 

Blankets&Wine Kenya
Blankets&Wine Kenya

 

 

 

Muthoni Drummer Queen does not take her performances lightly. She shows up and she shows out. She sings and she raps and she dances, all in one set. She even had Khaligraph and Kagwe singing and dancing along to ‘Nai Ni Ya Who’ backstage for a while there. And she came with a full band, dancers, and a choir bana. No kidding, she has this choir that calls themselves ‘The Individuals’. It consists of about three ladies and two men, and those guys sing so wonderfully they make you want to repent all your sins and accept Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior. They sang this song titled, ‘No Man, No Cry’ that ironically, only made me feel like shedding a tear. It was beautiful.

 

 

Blankets&Wine Kenya
Blankets&Wine Kenya

 

 

And then came the man everyone paid an arm and a leg for; Aloe Blacc. And, I swear this is not a diss, but Aloe looks like your ordinary Luo friend who comes from somewhere on the shores of Seme, except he has an accent. Like myself [ahem] he doesn’t dress sharply. He had on an official black shirt and trouser, and shoes you can fetch at Ksh. 1000 in Gikomba. And I know I’m not supposed to say this about a another man, but I love Aloe Blacc. He’s simple and cool and, shit, brother can dance. And when I say dance I don’t mean Dab, I mean really move his feet. At one point he was talking about Nairobi traffic and he was saying how L.A is cool and there’s no traffic. Then he said, “One of these days I should invite some of you guys in L.A to experience how smooth traffic goes. But we gon’ need one or two white people in the car, just in case the cops pull us over.” I thought that shit was hilarious. I even laughed just typing that statement, seriously.

 

 

Blankets&Wine Kenya
Blankets&Wine Kenya

 

 

Aloe Blacc is easily one of my favorite artists at the moment. Because at a time when guys are trapping and shit, he still writes and sings from the soul. Aloe Blacc is The Man, and not just because he sings it, but because he says things like, “A Hit Song is not a song that tops the charts, but a song that Hits you every time you hear it.”

 

 

PHOTOS: SAMMIE ANDRE PHOTOGRAPHY

 

 

 

 

 

BECAUSE WHO’S GOT TIME FOR BAD VIBES?

IMG-20160207-WA0059

 

Between you and me, I hate photos. I strongly hold the opinion that men should not have too many photos of themselves in their Gallery; or make duck faces in front of a camera; or take a lot of selfies. A man should know his rightful place in the society; like playing FIFA or drinking Whiskey or kissing random girls under the influence. A man should know how to polish his shoes and eat a sandwich without spilling things on his shirt and throw a punch and duck from one. But a man should never have to take a lot of selfies. Or walk into a joint and say, “White Wine, please. With a slice of lemon on the side.”

 

 

A couple of years ago, my boy – Dennis Wyre – introduced me to this modelling agency; Versatile. You chuck 2K for Registration and all you have to do is go for photo sessions every other Saturday and they’ll call you when a gig comes up. Now, first of all, I drink like almost every other Friday [even when I’m dead broke, especially when I’m dead broke], which means I’m always too hung-over on Saturdays to even leave the pad. Secondly, I don’t know how to pull off fake smiles. Photo sessions require you to smile, even if there’s a spiky snail crawling up your butt-crack. You have to smile; you don’t want to be the guy that comes out looking like Ice Cube or Bifwoli Wakoli when the photos are released. The only [amusing] thing I loved about Versatile photo shoots were the ladies. Chics love photos; chics can kill each other for a moment in front of the camera. They put their best foot forward, literally. They smile like goddesses and wear heels taller than the Eiffel Tower and walk gently; like they’re pieces of glass or some shit. They put on loads of make-up that conceal the pimples and signs of Athletes Foot disease growing on their faces. If there’s one piece of advice I can give men it’s this, don’t marry a model; with make-up, they look like Megan Good, without make-up, even Young Thug’s got bragging rights before them. Marrying a model is like marrying two completely different women; when she’s all dolled up for a night out, you feel proud walking her by your side. You want to hold her close and look into her eyes and see stars twinkling in them and never let go; but when she wakes up the following morning, after all the make-up has wiped out beneath the sheets, the only thing you want to look at is your face in the mirror when you’re saying, “How the hell did this shit happen?”

 

_P1A6306

 

 

Suffice it to say, I went for a couple of photo shoots and then stopped. I just faded, away, into oblivion, without as much as a goodbye or an “It’s been real guys” quip. I know they don’t miss me, but sometimes I just wish they would at least text me. Even just to ask how my day was. Chips Fungas, you guys understand this, right?

 

 

Anyway, so Dennis Wyre invited me to an outdoor photo shoot of his clothing line a couple of weeks ago, at Arboretum Grounds. You guys should know Dennis Wyre, right? Co-founder of DilRay Inc , now runs Good Vibes clothing line. I once asked him why he settled on the name ‘Good Vibes’ and he simply said, “I just wanted a feel good lifestyle brand.” Then then he added, “Besides, who’s got time for bad vibes anyway?”  Hence, the title of this piece. Catchy, eh? No? Okay.

 

_P1A6261

 

 

By this generation’s standards, Wyre is a bit of a cool kid. He has over 10K Instagram Followers; his pictures come with hash-tags like #InstaFresh, or #ShoeGame, or #FeelingMyself; he calls his peers ‘Fam’; and he introduces himself on camera as “It’s yo’ boy…” I went to that photo shoot for three reasons; One, Wyre is my boy, and boys always come through for boys; Two, I like the hassle ladies go through to appear perfect for photos. I like how they pose and the faces they make when cameras flash and how they brood when a Photographer is delaying with a shot; Three, the invitation text read “Beautiful ladies only”. So I asked Wyre if I could bring a plus one and he texted back, “Send me her picture first.” Ladies and gentlemen, this is where you scroll through your contact list and shit gets so real you decide to just text back, “You know what, I think I’ll just come by myself. Si that would be less baggage?”

 

 

I swung by town circa 11 a.m. and Wyre and his peoples picked me up in this bluish sexy Rav4 whose insides stank of pizza and burgers and Hugo Boss cologne and…you know, just rich people stuff. You know you’re doing something wrong in life when a guy you shared a room and broke bread with in first year is driving a Rav4 and you’re just there at the backseat, reeking of Vaseline jelly, staring outside the window and marveling at how tall Anniversary Towers is.

 

DSC_0637-Recovered

[Quick Pause, Guys, Can we all just agree that this chic has nice legs, aye? Hehe.]

 

 

Before cameras began clicking, some light introductions were done and when Adam – the talkative chap who was introducing us – got to me, he said, “And, guys, this is Ian Duncan, he’s a very cool Writer.” I smiled, felt like a million bucks, felt like Donald Trump’s hair, and – for a second there – almost blurted out, “Oh, Staaaahp!” But then he added, “He’ll be manning the clothes for today” and I went “Great, watchman duty. Just perfect.” But Adam is a warm fellow; he’s those guys you will meet on the first day but feel like you have been boys all your life. He will engage you as you walk down University Way, and at some point he will ask you where you stay – just for shits and giggles – and you will say “Juja.”  Then he will let out this boisterous laughter, give you a certain look of sympathy – like that one we give those street kids who ask us for cash near Archives – and say, “Man, How do you survive in that place? It’s like a bloody desert down there.”  And you will restrain yourself from saying, “Well, seeing as we’re camels, we get by.” Hehe.

 

DSC02149 copy

 

 

I have a confession to make; I’m a boring guy. I’m not as funny or as cute in person as people think. People come here and read my shit then draw their own images of me in their minds. I’m that guy that minds his own business; I don’t talk to a lot of people, a lot of people don’t talk to me, and – as weird as this may sound – I like it that way. At events like these, I sit at some corner and look at people creepily and judge their hair styles and make snobby comments at their weaves and giggle at their walking styles and – occasionally – when some girl with a packed ass walks by, I just smile and say to myself, “Damn, Whoever said the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach was a fool.”

 

 

This one time this model came to my station [I was entrusted with the very heavy responsibility of manning the clothes, you guys remember, right?] and started ransacking the sack of clothes, looking for something to wear. I was standing right there, she never said a word to me, just went about looking for that crop top and sweat-pant that she really wanted to take pictures [possibly for the ‘gram] in. Then when she couldn’t find it she looked around and asked, “Excuse me, who’s here? I’m looking for a pink crop top but I can’t find one.” Adam pointed at me and said, “Talk to him.” Then she gave me a cold hard stare – like she had just seen a friggin’ cyclop or something – and went, “But he’s not even talking to me.” I swear, I was a second away from grabbing her softly by the arm and saying, “But I was standing right here when you came. What, you thought I was just some fucking statue? Or you wanted me to bow down and say ‘Welcome, Princess. What can I get for you today?’ like those waitresses at Java? Maybe also massage your feet and kiss your palms in the process?”

 

DSC_0381

 

 

Also, I have a problem with men walking around bare-chested. I mean, fine, we get it, you have a six-pack, you have a ripped chest, you go to the gym and we don’t, yiddie yaddah, but just put some clothes on for crying out loud. This is a public place, not your bathroom.

 

 

I have met and interacted with a lot of young Entrepreneurs, but I have never met any other as driven as Dennis Wyre. The guys knows what he wants in life, he’s motivated, he pushes himself to the limits, he knows his shit, and – sometimes – he’s also full of shit. Hehe. Like sometime back he told me he was looking for another business to invest in. I asked, “But why do you need another business? The clothing line is already doing so well” and he said, “The average Millionaire has at least seven sources of income.” I texted him back three lines of those laughing emojis with tears spurting out of their eyes.

 

 

DSC02193 copy

 

 

But, in all respect, the photo shoot was a success. The ladies were a sight to watch [I mean, guys, look at those pictures though] and the gents – save for that walking bare chest thingy – deserve pats on their backs as well. My hats are tilted. Wyre also brought these two guys to make an after movie out of the photo shoot. Mimi, in all honesty, I thought those guys would do a whack ass job. No kidding. But then I was WhatsApp-ed that after movie the other day and I said to myself, “Shit, Khaligraph Jones should hit up these chaps to direct his next video.” [But, seriously though, Khaligraph really needs to stop shooting every damn video in Kayole.]

 

DSC_0260

 

 

I don’t know, maybe you guys will differ, maybe you will agree with me, but for what it’s worth, watch the VIDEO – it’ll take barely five minutes of your time – tell Wyre what you think, and while you’re at it, also mention you got that link from this blog so he knows I’m a bigwig in these streets. Hehe. Also, because I’m terribly lazy, I can’t post all the photos from the photo shoot here, so if you’re one of those men who get high on a lady’s smile, or you’re one of those mamis who go cuckoo over a guy’s abs, then just view the rest of the photos from HERE

 

 

Before I wrote this piece, I asked Wyre if it was OK to publish. He agreed, under one condition. Apparently I have a reputation of never writing anything positive about women here. So he asked me to be nice, that some of the ladies are sensitive and can easily catch mafeelings. Guys, you don’t think I was so hard, do you? No, Really, do you?

 

 

DSC_2944

 

VIEW FULL PHOTO SHOOT

WATCH AFTER MOVIE 

 

PHOTOS: COURTESY

THE SPORTPESA FESTIVAL

Meeting Muthoni

mdq-img-15

 

 

 

“Hello. I’m Muthoni.”

 

“Hi. Ian Duncan. I don’t know if you were informed but…”

 

“Ooohh. You’re the Blogger? Yeah. Sorry I couldn’t see you earlier, I’ve just been so cramped up putting together this show and getting everybody on the right track, you know how it is.”

 

“Yeah, I noticed. You seemed so busy and stressed up I didn’t want to come bore you with small talk for fear of being punched in the nose.”

 

“Heheh. C’moooon.”

 

 

 

 

That was the first time I ever met and spoke to Muthoni The Drummer Queen. She was nice, chatty, welcoming, pleasant to engage, and with a smile that could swing open Hell’s Gate without even trying. That night as they’re dropping me off in town – on their way to an interview on The Trend – they [MDQ and her manager, Hillary Ng’ash ] are talking about something I can’t quite wrap my head around, mostly because I’m still trying to get over the fact that I’m in the same car as Muthoni freaking Drummer Queen! I’m only jilted back to reality when I hear her say, “Don’t write about that!” and I’m like, “Write about what? Your Manager’s driving? I mean, you guys auditioning for Fast and Furious 8 or something?” Heheh. Of course I didn’t say that out loud.

 

 

 

mdq-img-17

 

 

 

 

People ask me why I like Muthoni and I say, “She’s nice.” Then they go, “C’mon, All celebrities are nice,” and I say, “Have you met DNG?”

 

 

 

 

Let me explain;

 

 

 

 

I have a friend, goes by Dennis Wyre, runs a kick-ass clothing line known as Good Vibes [because who’s got time for bad vibes anyway?] So a couple of weeks ago Wyre calls me and says, “Yo, I just received a D.M from DNG on Instagram. He wants me to dress him. Going to see him at his office tomorrow, wanna come along?” and I say, “Sure.” Next morning we’re at DNG’s premises by 11 a.m. Wyre calls him to say we’re at the gate and he tells him to just ring the bell and someone will open it for us. We’re ushered in by DNG’s lap-dog; a slightly brownish, medium-height fella dressed in official wear with shoes sharper than Ciru Muriuki’s tong’ue. He leads us to some seats under a shade just outside of the building and tells us to get comfortable, that DNG will be with us shortly. Thirty minutes later he comes back, says, “I’m sorry guys, DNG says he’s too busy he can’t see you now. But he says you should just leave the apparels with me and he’ll get back to you.” And, just like that, he grabs the package from the table and walks his groupie ass back to the office. Take note, DNG is the one who contacted Wyre; Wyre didn’t kiss his ass to dress him, he came to Wyre. The least he could have done is spare 30 seconds – even if he was meeting the bloody Pope – to see the guy, No?

 

 

 

 

So now, do you guys get why I like Muthoni? Because, unlike some celebrities we know, she understands that the world doesn’t revolve around her nose. That, at the end of the day, we all go back home and, while some of us may eat Chapo-Madondo as others take sirloin steak, we all go to the loo before bed and drop the same smelly stinky shit.

 

 

 

mdq-img-4

 

 

 

 

 

She knows that only way you earn some else’s respect, is if you give it to them as well.

 

 

 

***

 

 

Main Event

 

 

 

mdq-img-8

 

 

Anyway, Sportpesa came into our lives and stuck; like a bad habit. It refused to leave our minds and, instead, took a spot at the finest corners of our brains, made a nice comfy bed, and lay in it; still, unfazed. It corrupted our minds, gave us an easy way to quick cash, and we jumped at the opportunity with arms wide open. Right now, everybody I know is either already on Sportpesa or planning to the join. Some lose – and miserably at that – others win; all in a day’s work. From where I’m standing, Sportpesa may just be one of the biggest corporates around here in the next two years. When that time comes, remember I said it first, come back to this blog, read this post again, tell me how awesome I am, and – like Nairobi blondes – wait for me to reply, “I know.”

 

 

 

 

30th January 2016.

Time-Check: 12.00 p.m.

 

 

 

 

Sammie Andre [Photographer] and I are strolling into Nyayo Stadium for the Sportpesa Festival. After almost an hour of waiting and making endless calls, Nick Mutuma finally sends some nice chap at the gate to hand us our Media Passes. Instead of ‘Photographer’, Sammie Andre’s Pass is labeled ‘Blogger.’ They have written my name as ‘Alan Dancan’ instead of ‘Ian Duncan’ on mine. I don’t know how one would even confuse the two, and we’re feeling like shoving knives in someone’s ass by now, but there are cops with guns here. So we keep our cool, and we stroll into the venue with our heads held high and our Passes dangling proudly from our necks, like we’re from the New York freaking Times or some shit, here to shut the party down.

 

 

 

 

We take a quick tour around the stadium before the festival begins. A multitude of games are lined up at the other end of the stadium, we shoot some Paintball while at it and I hit Bull’s Eye twice out of three shots. Makes me think about switching careers, what do you guys think of me as an Assassin for Hire? Picture me strolling around town in the middle of the day, dressed in all black, a long trench-coat, gloves, and cool black shades, carrying my sniper gun in a long case; never smiling, never saying jack. Si I can fetch a killing? But, in service to my country, there are some people I would be willing to put a bullet between their eyes for free; people like Politicians. 100% Discount. On the house.

 

 

mdq-img-7

 

 

 

 

The setting is exquisite, done to perfection. The stage is huge and magnificently set; the DJ is playing some Young Thug song where he’s just shouting ‘Lifestyle’ and then the rest of the words become gibberish. The VVIP arena looks like some place where characters from the Bible meet in heaven to take stir-fried chicken with Chapos and trade gossip about their Master. “He’s such a darling, did you hear he parted the Red Sea for Moses the other day,” I imagine Angel Gabriel saying to the gathering. “Yeah. And he dropped some manna for his starving people also,” another Angel would quip. “Lakini you people don’t know him well, he tried to make my Father chop off my head. And the old bugger was going to do it, had it not been for that poor sheep stuck in the thickets,” that would be Isaac. Then I imagine them taking selfies and posting on Instagram with one million hash tags.

 

 

 

 

Time-Check: 5 p.m.

 

 

performances-sportpesa-festival-image-1

 

 

 

 

H_art the Band takes to the stage, clad in their everyday old school vintage attire [which, for the life of me, I will just never get] and, boy, are these guys energetic. Whatever they smoke, they need to share it with Nonini because this brother’s performance is just downright boring. No stage presence, no crowd interaction whatsoever. If he hadn’t called Chege when he did, he would have been booed off that stage. He was this close. Wangechi is still way too young for the big stage. She kept running out of breath and rapping inaudible things. I have always said Wangechi was over-rated, she has a long way to go. Shikow FemiOne, on the other hand, is a screamer, needs to go slow on the mic lest we start calling her the Female Meek Mill. And King Kaka, the next time you get off stage without performing Promised Land, I’m scrubbing your name off my Top 3 list. And, guys, just in case you’re wondering, No, Octopizzo is not on that list. Neither is Juliani.

 

 

 

 

[Also, before you guys get your knickers in a twist, I feel I need to say at this point that this is a general review of the performances as I remember them, in no specific order. Sawa?]

 

 

performances-sportpesa-festival-image-16

 

 

 

 

There’s a song by Fena Gitu that gets me every damn time. I danced to it at Jameson Live and again at the Sportpesa Festival. She’s praising her ideal African Man in it, and the bridge of the track is an afro-fuse rendition of that song we used to sing when we were kids, “Nampenda mpenda [Nani?], Nampenda mpenda [Nani?], Kijana Mmoja [Nani?], Kijana Mmoja [Nani?]” And it’s just the most beautiful song I have heard in a long time, besides Mercy Masika’s ‘Mwema’.

 

 

 

 

Abbas Kubaff can still wreck the mic, any day! Ninja never lost it. What I don’t understand is why he performed in that tuxedo suit he wore when he came in while others changed. Oh, and who the hell was that white mami who sang the Toklezea chorus? One time she shook her ass with so much vigor I thought we were going to be treated to an episode of ‘White Girls Gone Crazy’. Khaligraph Jones can actually rap ‘I Am King’ that fast on stage. Also, now I understand why Juliani said, “Apart from gym, rap tu ndio weh hudo” Khaligraph looks like he could break your arm just by looking at it and thinking about it.

 

 

performances-sportpesa-festival-image-5

 

 

 

 

Because I couldn’t be around to see Sauti Sol and Redsan perform, my highlights of the evening were Kagwe Mungai and MDQ performances. They have this new song which they performed like some sort of a back and forth role play; like Kagwe would say something while Muthoni was just standing there, looking at him. Then when he was done, she would rap something and it would be Kagwe’s turn to just stand there, like a statue. That was among the only performances that ended with cheers and applause from the audience.

 

 

mdq-img-21

 

 

 

 

Then Kagwe ended his set and left Muthoni on stage for hers. Now, personally, I can’t dance for shit. I couldn’t dance if my life depended on it. You could put a gun to my head and tell me the dougie was the only way to set myself free and I still wouldn’t dance. It’s one of those gifts I always blame The Good Ole’ Man Above for not bestowing upon my feeble self. I mean, do you ever watch a move on Sakata and just ask yourself, “How’d they do that?” Dancers are cool folk; A Dancer doesn’t even have to fight you for a girl. He just has to break into ‘Now watch me Whip’ and I guarantee you, that girl will be his. So I have utmost admiration for people who can dance. Especially if the people in question are wearing 3-inch boots and a dress that looks like what Rihanna would wear to some award show.

 

 

 

 

I told you guys how much Muthoni can dance, and I told you guys about her drums. Now, they say a picture speaks a thousand words. Sasa if I leave a couple of pictures here, si that will be two-thousand words? And I can just stop talking already, donge?

 

 

 

mdq-img-20

 

 

mdq-img-13

 

 

 

 

What maybe I haven’t told you guys yet, is that Muthoni also Produced the Sportpesa Festival. She was in-charge of who performed after whom and at what time. She organized the festival in a flowing manner. Such that; let’s say Wyre has a collabo with Nonini, then Wyre would come to the stage, perform two or three of his solo tracks, then his collabo with Nonini would be the last song on his set and Nonini would come on during his verse. At the end of the song, Wyre would get off stage and Nonini would do his set. And it would continue like that. I don’t know if you guys get what I’m trying to say here? The production was marvelous, to say the least. Muthoni made sure every Artist was available before their time so the festival ran smoothly without any hitches.

 

 

Also, and picture this guys, artists were picked up from their residences by taxis hired by the production team [Muthoni’s production team] and dropped off at the nearby Kenol Petrol Station from where they would be driven to the stadium in…wait for it…Limos. I mean, I have never wanted to be a Celebrity but for a ride in a Limo, I’d kill anybody for that. Once at the stadium, the Artists would then be paraded at the blue carpet for a barrage of photos – with tall gorgeous models holding onto their arms – from Sammie Andre and crew, after which they would then be directed to the Media Lounge for short interviews with the various available media outfits – including Clouds T.V from Tanzania – then taken to the VVIP Arena where they were treated like gods visiting our humble land. If you will take anything from this piece, let it be this; Muthoni is a top of the range Events Organizer. I have never been to her Blankets N’ Wine gigs [where’d they go by the way] but if she can do all this at a festival she’s only Producing, imagine what she can do at her own event. Ma’, bring back Blankets N’ Wine, and we want Limos for the media too. Hehe.

 

 

After her performance, I tried chasing her backstage for a couple of questions to no avail; stupid questions, really. Like, What goes into your mind before a performance? Have you ever been booed off the stage before? Did you cry in the shower or under the pillow? How do you manage to do all this and still keep your cool during a performance? Do knickers get thrown at female artists too? Have you ever had a crazy stalker who liked your Instagram pictures from 369 weeks ago? Does the old man approve of this hairstyle? Heheh. Okay, I just thought of that last one now.

 

 

mdq-img-16

 

 

 

 

***

 

 

A.O.B

 

 

Two last things; One, that thing Muthoni said in the car – Don’t write about that – why do people do that? Why do people think Writers are snitches? That we put on our blogs everything we hear? Free Advice, Writers are like Teenagers; you tell them not to do something, and that’s exactly what we’ll do. So when you start bantering about something and then tell us not to write about it, that’s what we’ll write about. At least I will.

 

 

Two, I’m a Writer. Not a Blogger. There’s a clear difference between the two that I really don’t want to get into now because I’m past my Word Count. I just let it go because, well, it was Muthoni The Drama, er, Drummer Queen. Hehe.

 

 

Photo Credits: Sammie Andre Photography

ON JAMESON PARTY LIVE AND MUTHONI THE DRUMMER QUEEN

Jamie

 

 

You know the problem with telling an African man an event begins at 7 p.m.? Because then an African man leaves the house at 7 p.m. And have you seen an African man rushing to a place he doesn’t even know? It’s a mess; it’s like trying to drive through Bangkok.

 

 

I made it to the Jameson Party Live with B.o.B at the Ngong Racecourse this past Saturday night. And I made a friend; a waitress in the name of Shiko [as per her name tag]. We became friends immediately I arrived; she saw me walk in and she came at me with a bottle of Absolut Vodka in one hand and another of Jameson Whiskey on the other. Then she had a string of a gazillion other bottles of booze – some I can’t even pronounce- and shot glasses hooked to her waist. She asked if I wanted some vodka, I asked how much they go for, she said Ksh. 250 a shot and I said, “Sorry Ma’, I’m just the son of a high school teacher. Not Chris Kirubi.” Then she let out a warm laugh, and I complimented her teeth. Folks, do you know how beautiful a girl has got to be for you to compliment – not her smile, not her face, but – her teeth?

 

 

Anyway, we spoke for a little while before I finally gave in and took that shot. Then she moved along to other customers. But not before she touched my arm and said, “I’ll be back.” Did you get that ladies and gentlemen? She freaking touched my arm! *Sings ‘Twende Nyumbani’*

 

 

Fena Gitu got on stage at about 10:45 p.m. and gave the audience their money’s worth. She performed Brikicho, African King and Jabulani before introducing Xtatic on stage for the remix. Look here, Fena Gitu has the two utmost things I desire in a woman; She can dress well, and she sings like hell. But what I love most about Fena Gitu is that everything about her is African; from the way she sings to the way she dresses. Even her smile is African. You can hate a woman who cooks like she’s been living in a forest and having leaves for dinner all her life. You can hate a woman who walks like a dwarfed baboon. But you just can’t hate a woman with an African smile.

 

 

Blinky Bill came next, and he brought out Abbas Kubaff later on in his set. Quick question; How many people actually know who Blinky Bill is? You’d be surprised. Blinky Bill came on stage that night and some lady behind me asked this clown next to him, “Sasa huyu ndio nani?” And that’s not even the catch; listen to the guy’s response: “Sijui hata. Labda some Comedian.” Have you ever wished they allowed people to carry machetes to events? I mean, someone just called Blinky Bill a comedian right behind me? What, I’m just supposed to take that lying down? Call Mejja a comedian; hell, call the entire ‘Kansoul’ comedians, but Blinky Bill? Oh, Hell No! Kenyan DJs, see what happens when you play too much ‘Dorobucci’ and less Kenyan music?

 

 

There are very few things in this world I can bet my life on. One of them is that no woman is loyal; don’t ever trust a woman. The second is that Blinky Bill is a stroke of musical genius. Don’t ask me, just attend a Just A Band concert. If you’re not swept off your feet, put laxatives in my coffee.

 

 

***

 

MDQ

 

Muthoni The Drummer Queen was then called to the stage at about 11:30 p.m. And this is actually the highlight of this whole piece, forget all that jabber up there. I just wanted you to know I met a cute girl. And I saw B.o.B. Heheh.

 

 

Her crew came to the stage first, and set up her equipment – including a video presentation for the audience – before she finally showed up, dressed in a short nice colorful dress and black boots.  MDQ took her time with her set, she came prepared, and she made it clear from the onset she wasn’t just here to sing and rap and be on her way; she was here to perform; she was here to give a show.

 

 

Here’s the thing with our local artists; most of them just come on stage, lip sync to a couple of their club bangers, bother us with baseless chants of “Kila mtu mikono hapa” and then when you think the show is just beginning, they’re already on their way. There are two things in the Music Industry: there is just being an ordinary Artist [and any idiot with money for studio expenses can do that], and then there’s being a Performer. Kenya has a great deal of Artists [And I mean a lot, MCSK statistics puts the number of new Artists at 15000 per day] What Kenya lacks are Performers.

 

 

Who’s ever been to an Avril live performance here? I mean, no offence, but what do you guys see in that chic anyway? Okay, Yes, she has a backside capable of flying a man halfway across the continent just to seek her hand in marriage but what else? Chic couldn’t sing if her life depended on it. Now have you listened to Dela , Atemi, Wendy Kimani, Sage, Nessa and Kalahi? Then you get what I’m talking about.  Take King Kaka for instance, ninja just jumped and hopped from one part of the stage to another, dropped a couple of bars, called himself the Only King [expectedly] and called it a wrap. Here’s a free piece of advice from your biggest fan, Sir, don’t get into that ring with Khaligraph Jones!

 

 

 

From the events I have attended so far, there are three guys I can label Performers in Kenya right now; Blinky Bill, Fena Gitu, and then there’s the bowl creativity that is Muthoni The Drummer Queen. Let me explain;

 

 

See, MDQ performed stunts I haven’t seen any other Artist in Kenya even attempt. In between her performances she’d take slight pauses and play for the audience this V.O.K video/soundtrack presentation on the projected screen behind her. I know it sounds like something simple – probably because I didn’t put it as well as I had hoped I would- but take this to the bank, that shit puts her on a totally different pedestal from all these other Local Artists you see running around in borrowed cars. And then sometime she dropped her mic, picked up the drumstick and pounded those drums so energetically I almost felt my ears block. Let me be honest with you, I have never fully understood why she calls herself ‘Drummer Queen’. I thought it was just some cool name she picked up growing up and decided to keep it, I mean, that’s what almost every artist says about their stage names right? But NO! ‘Drummer Queen’ really does stand for something; and it means she can hit those things till the podium shakes; hell, the whole of Ngong Racecorse shook. I swear I’m not exaggerating anything here. Let me put it in a way you will understand, and I already said this before, you haven’t seen shit in this lifetime [or the next] until you’ve watched MDQ pound a set of five drums. Or do the ‘Dougie’. If there’s one thing I never thought I’d see in this lifetime, it’s MDQ dancing. We already know she can Sing, she can Rap [even better than some of her male counterparts, Octopizzo sijataja majina hapa] and she can put together a kick ass event…but dance? Hell, if you told me that a week ago I’d have smacked you across the face and sent pieces of your chopped fingers to your old man’s doorstep. But she danced, and in a dress.  I’ll let that image go around your mind for a second now.

 

 

MDQ Jamie

 

 

“The Kenyan music industry has a long way to go as far as the rest of the continent is concerned, and we’re going to lead that pack if we have to. We’re not just trying to make hit songs here; we’re not just trying to sing and rap and do top of the range collabos; we’re not even concerned with these petty debates of Who Is King and Who Is Queen on Twitter; we’re trying to create a revolution; A legacy. We’re trying to create a Brand the whole world can resonate with. Muthoni The Drummer Queen is not just a Kenyan Artist, she’s a Worldwide Artist that just happens to live in Kenya,” says Hillary Ngash Kamau, MDQ’s Manager.

 

 

So what makes a Good Manager, I ask.

 

 

“A lot of things. But most importantly, you have to understand your Artist. You both have to be on the same page. Think of it as completing each other’s sentences,” says the good ole’ scruffy-moustached chap, raising a bottle of Coke to his lips.

 

 

Shiko comes back with her goodies just as MDQ is shouting out her stylists and designers and dancers [who are now holding flags inscribed with the a well-done picture of a crown and labelled ‘MDQ’. Now that is what I call royalty] and preparing ready to get off the stage. I’m just about left with my fare back home now, so to drive her off the topic of booze, I ask;

 

 

So, Jaber, when you look at Muthoni The Drummer Queen, what do you see?

 

 

She pauses for a second, gives me that look of “Are you serious right now?” and then finally says.

 

 

Well, a crazy hairstyle for one.

 

 

I laugh. “C’mon, give me something I can write home without being fired. Or I’m not buying another shot from you,” I declare, with a tone of finality. That shakes her, and for a second there she seems like she’s about to leave. But then she takes out a bottle of Jameson Whiskey from beside her, fills the shot glass, gives it to me to hold and then says;

 

 

Uhmmm. Wait, she’s the one of Blankets N’ Wine, sindio? And she was also on the Top 40 Under 40 Women in Kenya a couple or so months ago, sindio? Napenda that she doesn’t just do music, but that she’s also a Businesswoman. Wasanii wanafaa kulearn from that, when they get old music won’t be paying their bills anymore. Na si amepiga hizo drums kwa nguvu sana walai? Kwani yeye ni Mluhya? [Hehe, I don’t think so, Shiko] Oh, and I want that dress she’s wearing. Ona vile inatoa thighs zake supuu. Haya, sasa nipatie hiyo 250.

 

 

Uhmmm, you know what, si you just give me your number then I’ll Mpesa you when I get home, Sindio?

 

 

Moral Lesson; Never dare a waitress.

THE INVASION

IMG-20150609-WA0000[1]

From my previous article, I can now fully say I comprehend the whole concept behind the cliché, Ain’t no wrath like that of a woman scorned. The comment section on my blog as well as my WhatsApp chat list were spewed with bile, insults, hatred and all mannerisms of odium. One particular mami even says she wants to see my shaved man-hood now. All in a day’s work. But I digress.

Moving On. This will be my shortest piece ever. And I will not repeat a word so read between the lines and listen carefully.

This post is mainly for JKUAT- Main Campus students, and anyone else who loves a warm quiet evening of fun, poetry, good music, and watching of a bevy of beauties walking down the runway – strutting their goods left right and center. Yes, JKUAT has beauties too omera. Juja Boys ni wewe!

 

MC Teller, in conjunction with Soundtrick Events, presents you with, The Invasion. Featuring Spoken Word maestro, Teardrops, ‘Kamua Leo’ hitmaker Kidis and a surprise guest that I’m not going to tell you now. Okay, mainly because not even I know who he/she will be yet. But then again if I did then it wouldn’t be a surprise, Aye?

What’s more, if you think you can sing or rap too (just not like Octopizzo please), you will get to take the stage too and show us what you’re made of. ‘Us’ here being the noisy judgmental critics in the audience most of whom are always scared shitless and wouldn’t get in front of a crowd if their lives depended on it.

I’m a big fan of events myself; Real events, not teenage douchebaggery like Masaku 7’s et cetera. Especially live events. They have this eerie way of separating the chaff from the real deal; Auto-tune and studio tricks from real talent. I once went to an Octopizzo concert and almost demanded my money back yet it was free. [See what I did there? No? Okay.]

So come Thursday – this Thursday, 11th June – find your way to the JKUAT- Main Campus Assembly Hall and enjoy. I will be at the front row seats. If you can spot me, maybe I can score you a few drinks and foodstuffs that will be passed around to the VIPs. I said maybe, stop texting me Davy.

Check poster for details and early bird ticket purchases.

Blessed.

MR. AND MISS JKUAT 2014

Like Magunga Williams, I too roll with my own pack of goons. But unlike Magunga’s, mine are no writers. We call ourselves the PowerCircle, or G-8 (never mind the fact that there’s actually 9 of us), and we are the reason Mututho tosses and turns in his bed at night.

 

roy roy kevo g8 bash raw

 

We believe in the olden cliché, All work and no play makes Jack (or Roy in this case…lol) a dull n***a, I mean boy. We study hard…then we drink even harder. Together. Okay, for the sake of sparing my old man a trip to his early grave, that was just me trying to sound tough. Mostly it’s just studying. We don’t drink…much.

010820141503dan royroy dan ian

 

See?

 

Anyway, so last Friday (1st August) Juja hosted the annual Mr. and Miss JKUAT pageant. The event was successful, though not as rosy as you would expect of an event of this scale. Previously, the ceremony was to be held at some restaurant in the dingy corners of the posh Westie but how it came to be held in Juja, only the organizers can tell. All I know is a few thousands went to the wrong pockets somewhere there. The guest MC’s of the day, Chipukeezy and Sleepy David were a sham. Repeating every single joke they’ve ever cracked on Churchill Show with not as much as a single care in the world. I mean, seriously guys, how ocha do folks out here really think Juja is? We watch T.Vs too goddamn it! But don’t get me wrong, Sleepy David can tickle a crowd.  He’s a funny fella. Am yet to join in on this Chipukeezy bandwagon though.

 

 

Let’s talk about the ladies first. The Miss JKUAT contestants. Now I’ve just about had it with all these ‘Juja Boys’ naysayers out here. JKUAT has ladies. Gorgeous ladies. Ladies with class. Ladies with dignity. Ladies with brains. What K.U, UoN and USIU have are what I’d like to call blondes. Not ladies. I mean, how else would you describe a woman…nah, girl…who spends half her days trying to look like Vera Sidika and calling herself Kim Kardashian? ‘Cause as far as my diction goes, the tag ‘lady’ would be a gross overstatement. Yes, I said it. What you gon’ do?

tracy aud pic. Tracy Ndunge Karu

divina stephens ondari Divina Stephens Ondari

juli Julie Martinez

laura aud [pic Anjili Laura

maruionittah koki Marionittah Koki

lesley mukami Lesley Mukami

 

 

From day 1 auditions, I was team Tracy Ndunge Karu all the way. With a slim frame, twinnie teenie tiny gorgeous eyes and a smile from Mars inter alia, this chic had everything you would ever wish for in a woman…er, in a model, I mean. Every minute she strutted that runway I held my breath, hoping she wouldn’t miss a crucial step and leap to her downfall. And she didn’t. She took every step as if it were her last and boy was she declared victor. She’s no goddess, but tell me she’s not gorgeous;

tracy 1       tracy 2

 

 

From the onset, there was never a discussion about who would carry the Mr. JKUAT crown home. Muss, the first runners up for the title was a good catch but hey, you gotta know how to express yourself if you’re gonna vie for any seat in campus. Uhuru has his regrets with Kimaiyo and Ole Lenku’s dictions, ain’t no way we were gon’ risk that with Mr. JKUAT. A few murmurs still lingered here and there but anyone who contested that seat can tell you D.B Katana was the man to beat. My goons and I had been celebrating already with a couple of shots earlier in the night before the main event even began. Do you know how it would feel like having Mr. JKUAT as part of our little ship? I mean, some ladies have already started sending me mixed signals over her bana. But I don’t get down like that, am just saying. And this is a true story, I swear to you, a PowerCircle bloke was kissed by a shy laid-back girl from our class immediately Katana, we call him ‘Chuma’, was declared Mr. JKUAT 2014.  On the lips bana. A chic he hadn’t even shared as much as a twenty-minute conversation with before swallowed his lips like they were on set some Brangelina Hollywood romance blockbuster bana. Damn, these h**s ain’t loyal. *Just singing*. I guess one man’s meat is everyone’s meat after all, Aye? Speaking of which, who’s coming to kiss me?

Vicky? 010820141495

Claudia? 010820141493

Paula? 010820141514

MaryAnn? 010820141507

Anyone? No? OK!

 

 

Katana Baraka Daniel is the name, and the gym is his daily bread. For the short while I’ve known this fellow, his trips to the gym outdo my class attendances. Hands down. See, there are muscles and then there’s this ninja;

katana-200x300

 

 

Am not saying he won because he’s a heavily built fellow. He worked hard for it, and he had an experienced team pushing him hard every step of the way. Michael Jordan says, ‘Talent wins games, but TEAMWORK wins championships”. Now mitches can call me gay all they want for posting that photo but y’all ladies can thank me later. You’re welcome. Meanwhile, go back to your fapping in screeched moans. Yes, you! Ain’t no one judging here sweetie.

 

Ladies and gentlemen, MR. and MISS JKUAT 2014;

dinner-200x300              tracy crown

 

tracy and dan 1

 

 

In other news, been working on starting a segment on this cute little blog of mine called INTERVIEWS where I’ll be interviewing people, selected at random, I think are working their brains off and deserve some recognition. Some will be established celebrities, some may just be guys whose names even Google can’t recognize. All in all, everyone deserves his/her shot at 15-seconds of fame. Coming Soon!

 

Enjoy your weekend!

 

COKE STUDIO AFRICA: THE EXPERIENCE

Now to that Coke Studio story. So this past Saturday I was invited to attend the Live Recording of an episode of Coke Studio Africa Season 2 and I duly jumped aboard. Excitedly. Normally, these are those kinds of articles you just wanna begin from the moment you woke up in the morning to the second you plunged right back into bed later that evening. You know, those “I woke up at the crack of dawn and ran to the frog’s kingdom” kynda lines. But those are details one only divulges into when in search of marks or a certain limit of words to reach for monetary gains and since neither is involved in this case, to hell! We, myself and a number of other blokes who had been invited as well,  were picked up in town at around 7:50 a.m. for a 30-40 minute drive to the studios located at Jamhuri Park, off Ngong’ Road. See? All in one line. Easy pie.

 

Anyway, so we arrived amidst drizzles of a persistent rain which seemed hell-bent on making my already out of place dressing seem only creepier. Let me explain: I have this one brownish Khaki trouser that I adore to the bone and a few worthwhile shirts that come in handy for occasions like these but I guess I just fell on the wrong side of fate this time. See I knew the weather in Juja was bad, so I gave my clothes out to be washed for me (don’t even give me that look, it just cost 100 baab. But now that I think of it, it was actually a lot of money) on Thursday expecting they would be neat and dry come Saturday. Did I mention the weather at Juja was bad? Yeah, scratch that, it was pathetic! It kept raining from Thursday all the way through to Saturday. By D-Day, I still had nothing to wear. Not a single decent clothing. So I ransacked my other stock of clothes (the ones I haven’t worn for as long as my hair has been standing tall), grabbed this really ridiculous trouser and shirt, hopped into them, went knocking on my neighbour’s door (beware it’s 5 in the morning) borrowed his blazer and voila…Son of Were at the Coke Studios.

 

At the gate, I swept my probing probably bulging eyes over the environment in an attempt to find something to write home about later on but nada! Buildings? Normal, to some extent even resembling the classes in my former Primary School. The only thing that could have had me staring twice out there was the Wall of Fame. Two Walls of Fame actually: one for SuperSport stars and the other for M-Net stars, facing each other. If I hadn’t mentioned it by now, then yeah, Coke studio is located at the same place as the SuperSport and M-Net studios. Spare me that “I knew” look when the furthest you’ve gone out of your ‘chocolate estate’ is to go bully the kids at the neighbouring posh estate.

 

The SuperSport Wall of Fame had, engraved on it, pictures and autographs of legendary sportsmen and women like Tecla Lorupe, Joe Kadenge and Kipchoge Keino inter alia. The M-Net Wall of Fame, on the other hand, was made of film greats Raymond Ofula, Mama Kayai, Mzee Ojwang’, Elizabeth Wanjiru (Mother-in-Law) and even the teenie-meenie-minie Kamau Mbaya a.k.a Baha of Machachari. Yes, that little bozo who was fondling breasts huge enough to feed him milk at the Daylight Festival V is at the M-Net Wall of Fame too. How old is he anyway? 14? And am, what, 19? And still just seated here…blogging. Now do you understand why we say life is a bi**h…am sorry, unfair?

 

Till then, everything was all normal. Team Mafisi were still carefully eyeing and selecting their prey for the day from a safe distance and the ladies were parading their morose butts all over the place. The one thing I still don’t get is why y’all women love these despicable weaves so much. My natural hair is longer than most of our women’s these days. What, Vera Sidika is your role model now? Well sorry to bust your bubble sweetheart but just the weaves won’t cut it. You gotta look the part to play the part, if you know what am saying.  We’ll discuss that another day.

 

Presently, we were given a few minutes to use our phones as they were to be taken away for unknown reasons and, boy, did the ladies go bonkers at the mention of no phones in studio. It’s not like they had a choice anyway, this was an all-expenses-paid visit. You have no say in whatever your host wants you to do. If he says jump, you don’t even ask how high, up you go. So I texted a few guys on my WhatsApp list and went on a boasting rampage over my whereabouts till my phone went AWOL then I lay back on the not-so-comfortable plastic chairs and just observed, the ladies of course, in silence. Take one thing from me, never give a lady a heads up when you’re about to take away her phone. Especially not an ‘uptown’ one. Just grab the damn gadget. You know we ‘downtown’ people tend to be more civilized than you ‘uptown’ folk in new places. We know we don’t know so we keep to ourselves. Hatupendi aibu ndogondogo. It was crazy watching the ladies and their gadgets after that announcement. You know that old saying about all hell breaking loose? Forget that. All cameras broke loose here. Literally! Coke bottle…Snap! Plastic chair…Snap! Gate…snap! Coke tent…Snap! Truck…Snap! Ground…Snap! Shoes…Snap! Do I need to talk about selfies? Even this dude seated right next to me with those lightweight Samsung Galaxy Pockets acquired by Bonga Points was busy making ridiculous faces at the camera and taking shots. A lady I can tolerate. But a grown ass man with humongous hairy balls and a 2-megapixel camera? Not a chance.

 

So the phones were finally whisked away and it was time for some breakfast. I had abandoned my sleep at 4 a.m. and left my place at 6 to be here. The rumbles in my tummy by this time were immeasurable, a close listener would have moved paces away in disgust thinking I’d pooped in my pants. I was hungry, to say the least. Hot tea and two huge neatly spread slices of bread just about did the trick. Not to say I was satisfied but it held on just fine. And again, free food. No questions! After the free breakfast, it was show time. The Coke studio setup is amazing. Lighting, instruments…all well-placed. A description would be a waste of my time here, go watch your T.Vs, you’ll get the picture.

 

coke studio stage

 

The backup vocalists, one of whom also doubles up as a Tahidi High actress, were amazing. And then there were these four lovely ladies on stools playing violins whose thighs I just couldn’t keep my eyes off. There were guitarists, pianists, drummers et al. One of the drummers totally stole the show. I mean, that ninja could switch from Lingala to Kwaito with the ease of a jungle-bred monkey jumping from tree to tree using just his drumstick. He kept the set lively at all times. If he wasn’t moving slyly to the tunes from the DJ’s playlist, he was thumping his drums so hard I felt my feet moving from under me. But I held myself back from dancing. Am bad at dancing, as I recently came to learn from a friend, unless am totally wasted. During which am not just bad…I SUCK! Speaking of which, I should be applying for a dance class sometime soon. I don’t let anyone tell me what I can and cannot do. If I wanna dance, I’ll dance like a retarded penguin for all I care. Yes, I can… Aye? Back to that drummer, he’s this man here:

 

coke studio drummer

 

Now to what actually brought us here; recording time. ‘Kedike’ time. Chidinma got on stage first at the end of a 10-second countdown (in which we were required to make the loudest possible cheers and applauds from 5 all the way down to 1) sang the first verse and chorus from her ‘Kedike’ hit then was joined by Tanzania’s legendary Joh Makini spitting a witty verse while grabbing his crotch like we Hip Hoppers do for three consecutive takes then tadaa…end of the first song. The crowd was then released for a short refreshment break during which multiple Coke drinks were dished out all over the place. For free…again. Damn, I love relished the free goodies. I poured a cold bottle of Coke down my throat as fast as I could then sat back on the chair once more and just took a breather before we were ushered back in.

 

I love Chidinma, someone tell her that. Everything about Chidinma is African. From her dancing, dressing…even her wide glorious smile. Just perfect. She flatly got me staring in amazement for a minute there when the DJ rolled out Diamond’s ‘Number 1’ after the three takes of her second song and she jived along to the (in) famous Ngololo dance as if it was coined in her native country and the manuscript written in Pidgin dialect. Playful as a kitten, she was always jumping up and down the stage like an 18-year old virgin at the first sight of manhood on deflowering night. I almost flew up the stage one time when she went down as if to peck the cheek of a random guy at the other end of the room. Thank God she didn’t, someone would have been picking up his teeth from the floor at the slightest touch of those lips on someone else’s cheeks rather than mine. No gimmicks!

 

chidinma

 

Few words to describe Mr. Joh Makini on the other hand. Calm, openly shy, but with a great stage presence. My hands were always up in the air when he got on stage. Nice guy! He totally blew me away with his ‘I See Me’ track. Catchy lyrics, and the backups did not disappoint either. Hands down, Joh Makini and Chidinma’s performance of ‘I See Me’ was the highlight of the evening. I loved it, totally!

 

makini chidinma

 

“I see me International-eh / I see me overtaking Wale / Najiona Mimii….Najiona Mimiiii”

“Baba nikiwa club nakunywa local beer / Naomba mziki unaopigwa uwe ni local pia / Nyeusi kwenye T-Shirt ndio logo gear!”

Just a few lyrics off Joh Makini’s verse. Salute to you, Sir!

 

Joh Makini

 

There’s something about live performances that just makes me tick. Be it acting, singing, rapping, poetry, spoken word, comedy…all of it, I enjoy just sitting down and watching talent unravel before my very eyes. Once in a while, I always make time to pass by ‘THE’ UoN to watch a skit or two from their group of fun loving helluva characters. They call themselves The Free Travelling Theatre (FTT). Believe me, these guys are louder than the trumpets that tore down the walls of Jericho but when they take the stage, they mean business. Alright guys, that’s enough marketing already. That M-Pesa text is long overdue. Meanwhile, the recording of Chidinma’s second song was a wrap in three takes as well, and then we were off to lunch. Whoop Whoop!

 

This guy was passing the plates of rice and nyama ya something (I couldn’t really tell as I was madly salivating by now) around and I was just dying to have mine. And it came. You know how I said we ‘downtown’ folk are calmer in stranger places? Yeah, so while my plate was being pushed towards me, I put out my hand like I had just partaken a meal of wild elephant meat and was utterly full. I am a gentleman after all, am I not? But boy did that food land on my welcoming hands?! Frankly speaking, and this may be just an assumption, but I think I returned that plate cleaner than it was manufactured. In my defense, I had only 200 bob in my pockets, and fare back to Juja was 100 bob, which left me with just 100 bob to myself for the weekend. I had to make the most of this free meal, don’t you think? It was probably going to act as my dinner too. Yes, such is the life I lead. And am not complaining, so keep your sympathy. I believe in a better tomorrow. In between my ginormous spoonfulls and my irritating swallows, I could hear some chic in front of me going ham on another next to her about how she (the listener) had uploaded a photo of them on Instagram in which she looked good while she (the speaker) was ratchet. The wickedness in you women though. SMH!

 

The jolly fellows dined and dined. Then it was time to do the final two songs of the day, Joh Makini’s songs this time, before calling it a day. A successful day.  The last song was done in six takes, I don’t exactly know why but I was pretty much enjoying myself. In between the session, this floor manager comes to where a couple of other guys and I are and requests us to go do  lip syncs and make funny faces in front of the cameras for their commercials. I don’t know whether it was meant to be an insult, given my rugged dressing, or my perfect 15 minutes of fame but I turned it down all the same. Come what may, a man knows when to say NO!

 

The recording of the final song eventually came to a close and despite the chilly weather, we were once again given Coke drinks, accompanied by Coke gift hampers (which I am selling by the way) as we left the gates and hopped into the tour bus for a free ride back to town. All in all, it was an amazing experience. The hospitality, the people, the sessions… the free drinks and food too! One of those experiences you’d give anything to relieve again. Speaking of which, I will be headed back there one of these fine weekends again. Just this time when it’s local artistes gracing the stage: Rabbit, Jay A, Fena Gitu or even the dolly Victoria Kimani. And the free food of course!

 

Long live (or does that apply to people only?) Coke Studio!

 

coke

 

Images Courtesy: COKE STUDIO (Just so I don’t get my already broke ass sued!)