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.
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.
“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.