Kenya celebrates International Jazz Day in style with Manu Dibango

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Tuesday 1st of May, other than just being Labour Day, also happened to be the International Jazz Day. As such it was fitting that the Safaricom Jazz Festival was held on this day to celebrate jazz. Despite the weather being shifty, jazz lovers were determined not to let it spoil their fun and they showed up in large numbers.

At the gate, security was pretty tight and it gave the attendees myself included a sense of comfort. One can never be too careful these days.

The ladies at the event were dressed to impress while being cognizant of the weather.

Joy Kendi

As peeps strolled into the event, one could just feel the excitement building up due to amazing lineup of Kenyan bands and on my part I simply couldn’t wait for the festival to kick off.

I walked into the festival to the mellow sound  of the Afrosync band, they helped set the mood for the afternoon as people continued to streamed in.

Chris Bittok one of the leading saxophonists in the Kenyan Jazz scene was next on stage and he did not disappoint.

Eddie Gray is considered an old timer in the Kenyan Jazz scene, he did a set with Tanzanian Swahili Ally which totally rocked the crowd.

Up next was Mwai and The Truth and the lady in the band wowed the crowd with her amazing vocals.

The Limericks were up next on stage, their unique sound soon had the crowd on their feet dancing.

Our host for the day Kavutha Mwanzia, did a set with her hubby Jacob Asiyo in which she told the story about how they met. The two had such good chemistry on stage that they soon got the crowd singing along.

I have to say that it was my first time seeing Juma Gogo perform but considering the energy that he brought on stage, it was easy to see why he is a crowd favorite.

Fans screaming, “We want more” after the end of the James Gogo set.

Shamsi Music doing their thing.

Nairobi Horns Project is one Jazz band which never fails to impress me and this time it wasn’t any different. They were a perfect ending to the line up of Kenyan bands before the main guy got up on stage.

The man that everyone had been waiting for Manu Dibango finally got on stage at around 7 pm and continued to rock the crowd. His performance was the icing on the cake on a day that showcased the best of Kenyan jazz talent.

I was quite impressed by the Kenyan Jazz bands performing at the festival. It was one of the most memorable jazz festivals i have attended and i can’t wait for the next all Kenyan line up.

The festival managed to raise an amount of Ksh. 18 Million for the Ghetto Classics which was handed over to Elizabeth Njoroge.

Photo Credit: Stephen Ouma

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