Thursday, February 9, 2012

Nneka occupies Nairobi!

The celebrated song writer, musician and activist Nneka was in Nairobi as part of her itinerary to Sauti za Busara festival that is taking place from February 12, 2012 in Zanzibar.  Nneka is in her first tour of this region (East Africa) courtesy of Goethe Institut. Prior to the buzz on her tour to this region most of us including me did not know anything about this song bird.  So I did the usual background check that is customary and checked her music on YouTube which was tantalizing. So when blaze put word out there of her press conference I was curious to find out more about Nneka and boy I was not disappointed.
Press Conference
In Kenya press conferences are synonymous with politics because we tend to have more than a fare share of them! So when artists call for press conferences it is usually a by the way for most mainstream media in Kenya. However this was not the case with Nneka. Her press conference which was at a Nairobi Hotel was well attended and it was great to note the entertainment ecosystem has grown. Major media houses Capital fm, KBC, K24 and standard group to name but a few were present. Also, a few bloggers were present so was international media i.e. German press!
Nneka was on location backed up by one of his band member to take questions from the press. Also, present was the Goethe Institut director Johannes and event promoter Blaze.
Nneka addressed questions from the floor most of which were to do with music but at the end of the press conference tinkered on the occupy movement! Her answers to this questions contained lots of philosophy and deep meaning. Some of the few snippets I took home with me were;
·        The reason she is in music. “I am unstable human being and music to me is a shrine”. Nneka
·        On her 2nd album No Longer At Ease (2008). This album was based on what she was feeling at that time and was not based on Chinua Achebe’s renowned book by the same title. It addresses the story of her life and since she grew up in the Delta region of Nigeria it captures issues of oil and exploitation.
·        On her first impressions of New York (USA). It is a concrete jungle and she was taking the jungle into the concrete!
One of the things I did not know about Nneka was that she was involved in the recent occupy movement in Nigeria. In Nigeria I only know of Fela Kuti’s son involvement in this movement and internationally Lupe Fiasco but I was nevertheless surprised of her participation given that many regard her first as an activist, and then as a musician.
So at end of the press conference she gave us advice on how to we can make our own occupy movement successful!
The Concert
The climax of Nneka’s visit in Nairobi was a concert at Tree House on February 4, 2012. As is always the norm one of our home grown talent benga maestro Dan Chizi Aceda curtain raised the concert. The concert started on time and was full house.
Nneka showcased to Nairobi audience why she is considered a powerful vocalist and her concert was the best so far this year.
Other Highlights
While Nneka was in town she visited our very own best Eric wainaina and I am waiting to hear ‘what if any’ collaboration they came up with.