Kenya to host Cool Waters Jazz and Roots Festival

Kenyans will dance to rhythms from across Africa as artists from Botswana, Cameroon and Nigeria descend on the Kenyan capital at the Cool Waters Jazz & Roots Festival. The festival will be held between 22 - 24 September at three venues in the city.

Cameroonian singer Franck Biyong. Photo:
Cameroonian singer Franck Biyong. Photo:

Cool Waters Jazz & Roots is Nairobi’s new boutique jazz festival for music lovers who are open to discovering new voices, seasoned talent and unique sounds. Botswana’s Kabo Leburu will set the pace for the festival with his fusion of African jazz and American bluegrass rhythms at Choices Pub on the evening of 22 September.  

A talented guitarist and Harmonica player, Leburu played with the now defunct Dance Afrika Jazz Band who were residents at Satchmos Jazz Cafe between 2006 and 2007 before embarking on a solo career in 2008.

Leburu will pass the mic to Nigeria’s Keziah Jones and Kenya’s Maia Von Lekow who will put on an equally charged performance of blufunk music and soulful jazz at the Tree House on 23 September. Keziah Jones, also a talented guitarist, will seek to thrill his Kenyan fans in his first performance in East Africa before staging another solo show in Rwanda.

The final day of the festival (24 September) will see acts from Kenya perform alongside Cameroonian singer Franck Biyong at the Elephant in Nairobi. The Kenyan acts slated to perform at the festival are jazz artist Eddie Grey, Achieng Abura and Teto Tutuma. As an artist, Eddie Grey is well-regardeed for his contribution to jazz in East Africa. In a bid to find his own voice in an already saturated industry, he leans more towards harmonically rich arrangements laid under folk melodies from the different cultures in Kenya.

Eddie Grey went on to perform in many of the revered jazz spots in Nairobi and around East Africa. Grey has released two albums: No Train to Kibera and Stories by the Lake. After a five year recording process, Eddie Grey will release his third album, World to Come. The album is described as a psychedelic mix of jazz, afrobeat, R&B, hip hop and electronica. The album is expected to hit stores in December 2016.

Teto Tutuma appeared on the Kenyan music as a vocalist for the group TKK.  A self-taught guitarist, Tutuma would later embark on a solo career with a view of promoting traditional music. Currently Teto Tutuma and the Purple Warriors Band are introducing their definitive sound to different audiences.

Promoting a new album released in April 2012 called Nosim Ai (My Companion) the band comprises of Paul Yanik on drums, Mose the Drumist on soft percussion, Sam Mbaluka on bass, Michel Ongaro on lead guitar, Helen Kisio on background vocals and Tutuma himself on lead vocals with rhythm guitar.

According to the organizers the Cool Waters Jazz and Roots Festival aims at celebrating the culture, innovation and improvisation that jazz and roots music offer.

Some of the events are free while tickets for select events cost between KES 2000 (about $19) and 3500 (about $34). For more information visit the Cool Waters Jazz and Roots Festival Facebook Page.



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