The four-day Ongea East Africa Music Summit was held at the Sarit Centre Expo Hall. With free entry, over 30 showcase performances, and 58 exhibitors who included artists, producers, media houses and talent agencies, the event drew in a younger more adventurous crowd that was up for new experiences. The music event, which ran from the 28th to the 31st of January, saw most of the action on Friday, Saturday and Sunday night as more than 20 musicians were performed. These included Sauti Sol, Kidum and Wyre among  many others.

Among the special event highlights was the famous TV Show “The Trend” with a bedazzled claiming that he couldn’t sing and proving true to that exact statement. His interviewee however still acknowledged his apparent ‘beautiful voice’. Oohh to be rich and famous. This was followed by a mini-colabo between Kagwe Mugai and Muthoni the Drummer Queen, which was fueled by the enthusiastic audience. A few questions from Larry left us certain that the two artists were close comrades from the studio, probably why they worked so seamlessly well together on stage.

Then there was The Third Hand Music Band, a relatively new entrant into the Kenyan music industry.  It comprises of three young studs, each seemingly with his own personal role to play in the group. Ken Albert Orwa, the eye candy with a smile that could melt any girl’s heart, Collins Collo Kemboi ‘the talker’ who sparked interaction with the audience, and Ikole Mwikamba Char, the voice of the trio. Their captivating performance kept the audience’s attention locked on the stage while singing their debut track ‘Helena’.

There was major focus on recruitment and discovery of talent, as Sauti Academy headed to the summit to encourage submissions for its one year course to anyone interested in persuing a career in music. The Sauti Academy requires one to audition to secure placement in the institution. The school offers voice lessons for beginners, private classes and team building through song writing and performance among other training at affordable rates. Success stories include Dempsey & Wambui of Elani who were Penya Africa’s signings that directly resulted from the Sauti Academy program. If you’re interested you can send an e-mail to sautiacademy@penya-africa.com for further information.

The exhibition stands were particularly enjoyable with abundant social interaction, photography, and an eager audience gathering around a number of talented university students as they showcased their moves in an unexpected mini street dance rivalry. From the stands also came the stories of various artists in their struggle to be heard by the masses.

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On the right is Capital FM’s DJ Joe Mfalme. If he looks tired, it’s because he only managed to get two hours of sleep between the events he was attending. An award Winning DJ, Joe admits to enjoying the communication with people through music and the positive response he receives from the crowd. “For some reason there’s a connection, and that’s what I love about it”.

On the left of the above picture is professional instrumentalist and rock and roll wiz DJ Hueskills. He first started out as a drummer at Seismic Band, then later on as a club DJ, claiming that financial depreciation and lack of originality among several DJ’s constituted as a challenge throughout his journey as a musician. Currently, as one of the DJs in Rock Society of Kenya, DJ Hueskills promotes Kenyan rock music and helps manage rock events. The Rock Society of Kenya is one of the most recognized rock affiliated groups-second only to that of South Africa- and they plan on spreading their purpose and vision further throughout Africa in the short term future.

The event was a unique, pocket friendly experience that lead to networking, learning, and overall enjoyment of East African Music. It’s an understatement to state that we can hardly wait to see who will be showcasing their performances in the next Nairobi Music Week 2017.

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