On first of May we kick off the 2018/2019 Safaricom Jazz Calendar in great style with the celebrated Cameroonian African Jazz musician Manu Dibango headlining the show at Carnivore Grounds. This is the first time the seasoned artiste who gave us the chart topping Soul Makossa in 1973 will be gracing Safaricom Jazz. For those who may not know the significance of Soul Makossa, it was sampled and therefore put on the stage by various musicians including the late Michael Jackson and Rihanna. That is aside from it being a Grammy Award winning track.
Dibango comes to Safaricom Jazz soon after the concerts celebrated 5 years of great music last month. Safaricom Jazz is the brainchild of Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore who terms the coming of Dibango as a ‘privilege and a dream come true’. And I get him. Dibango who was born in 1933 in Doula Cameroon has a massive catalogue of 40 albums and film soundtracks to his name, spanning over five decades during which he has worked with other artists including my favourite old man, the late Hugh Masekela. It is this longterm passion and experience in jazz that is coming our way on May first and I’d say for me it is quite an honour to be there to watch Dibango. Just like it has been an honour to watch the likes of Salif Keita, Hugh Masekela, Jimmy Dlu Dlu, Jonathan Burtler and a host of other local and international jazz artists who I would certainly never have seen in concert were it not for Safaricom Jazz. Having this calibre of musicians ‘puts us in the same league as some of the biggest jazz festivals in the continent’, says Collymore.
Many a times when I go through a Safaricom Jazz line up, I keep saying that this is a line up like no other. But this one, this one is particularly made up of most of my favourites and therefore yes, this is a line up like no other :-D. Aside from the very seasoned Dibango, we are also looking at performances from some of the best Kenyan jazz bands. We have Edward Parseen and the Different Faces Band, Afrosync, Mwai & the Truth, Shamsi Music, veteran names in the jazz scene Chris Bittok and Eddie Grey, jazz music couple Jacob and Kavutha Asiyo and James Gogo and Swahili Jazz Band both of whom take me right back home with coastal jazz tunes.
We also have Limericks and Mambo Tribe who I discovered just the other day at #SafaricomJazzat5, as well as Ghetto Classics and the very energetic Nairobi Horns project who will be performing with Africa Plus from South Africa.
Speaking of Ghetto Classics, my heart warms up at just how far these kids have come. I tend to feel that I’ve watched them grow and seen their stars shine brighter and brighter. All proceeds of Safaricom Jazz go to this community project that is run with such passion by one Elizabeth Njoroge. So far Ksh40M has been channelled their way, money which has helped in buying instruments, nurturing talent and providing them with alternative sources of recreation and income. The program has impacted over 1,400 youngsters and is still expanding.
You can get your Safaricom Jazz tickets either by dialing 1511 for M-Ticketing, or buy at Safaricom Shops at Junction, The Hu, TRM, Sarit Center and I&M Building. See you there! Adult tickets are going for Kshs2,000/- and student tickets Kshs500/-.