On 25 November, The Music In Africa Foundation and Goethe-Institut Nairobi will stage a second concert aimed at providing a platform for up-and-coming local talents to showcase their skills. The concert follows on from a similar concert held in February 2016. In concert will be Ciano Maimba, one of the most promising young artists in the country.
“My music is greatly influenced by soul, RnB and jazz. My lyricism employs a lot of imagery and poeticism because the only way I can make the personal experiences and beliefs I sing about more accessible to the general public is through sonic and verbal images rather than saying everything verbatim,” Maimba says.
Born and raised in Nairobi, Maimba is an artist making inroads into the Kenyan music scene. A student of Microbiology and Biotechnology at Kenya’s University of Nairobi, Maimba says he got into music involuntarily.
“I got into music subconsciously. Even though music has always been a part of my life, I became more aware of its power when it pulled me out of a dark period in my life while in high school,” he says without divulging further.
In 2016, he took part in the continental music competition, Airtel Trace Music Star, where he emerged second runner up at the Kenyan finals. The competition was won by Tonya Ahenda who represented the country at the continental finals held in Nigeria. Even though he didn’t win the competition, Maimba says he learned valuable lessons.
“Airtel Trace Music Star opened me to the realities of the music industry. I created valuable networks as well as learnt about my voice.”
Additionally, Maimba says that the greatest lesson he learnt was the art of negotiating for contracts. “I learnt to always ensure that there are papers to any deal being negotiated regarding my music and/or anything affiliated to my image and likeness and my sound as a whole. And to ensure that each contract is comprehensive and properly drafted.”
According to Maimba, the concert will symbolize a pivotal point in his musical career. “I have played a number of shows but never one where I am the main featured artist. In a way this is my first solo concert that will enable my fans experience my music.”
Speaking further about his music, Maimba says his ultimate goal is to remind people of the oneness of all things and to eventually unite mankind through his songs. Recently, Maimba worked on a single, ‘Peace like a River’, which was recorded by the shores of Lake Oloiden in Naivasha, Kenya. As a budding artist with little resources the song was recorded entirely on his phone. Maimba says with technology advancing day by day, there is no excuse for an artist not to put out their work. The move to record the music on phone was to prove that anything is possible.
While this is his first solo show, Maimba has performed at various festivals in Kenya including the Sondeka Festival and Rift Valley Festival as a side act. He has also staged an assortment of concerts at the Alliance Francaise and a couple of intimate shows around Nairobi and its environs. The platform offers him a chance to build his live performances and he says he is looking forward to staging shows out of Kenya.
Commenting about the music industry, Maimba says it has not been easy to break into the Kenyan music industry, especially being a solo act. However, he notes that Nairobi is undergoing a renaissance period in the art scene and thus a wider array of art forms are being appreciated more than they used to be.
As a solo act Maimba says it has not been easy to secure shows as bookers are more inclined to take an artist that plays with a full band more seriously. However he says that has not deterred him from pursuing a solo music career.
The concert is free to members of the public and kicks off at 7pm on Friday 25 November at the Goethe-Institut Nairobi, located on Monrovia Street in the Central Business District.