THE SPORTPESA FESTIVAL

Meeting Muthoni

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“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.

 

 

 

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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.

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

***

 

 

Main Event

 

 

 

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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.

 

 

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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.

 

 

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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?]

 

 

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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.

 

 

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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.

 

 

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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?

 

 

 

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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.

 

 

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***

 

 

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.