Kenya ushers in new music festival

Nairobi will on Saturday 5 and Sunday 6 September witness a new development in African music with the staging of a new festival, Africa Nouveau, at the Ngong Racecourse in Kenya’s capital. Music fans in the city will dance to well-known African music from across the continent. 

Just A Band. Photo:
Just A Band. Photo:

Africa Nouveau is a two-day festival designed to showcase the most innovative, cutting-edge and trend-setting artists. For the inaugural edition of the event, Kenya's Just A Band, South Africa’s Fantasma (of which both Spoek Mathambo & DJ Spoko are members), ‘Ancestral Soul’ producer Boddhi Satva (Central African Republic), Kenya's Muthoni The Drummer Queen, Ghanaian ‘afro-hypno-sonic’ singer Jojo Abot, Angola’s DJ Satelite and Kenya-based DJ Cortega (Electrafrique) are all set to keep music fans entertained.

The new festival is an off-shoot of the highly acclaimed Blankets & Wine monthly events. For the most part of 2015, Blankets & Wine has not been happening in Nairobi. Instead it has moved to Uganda, where the 10th edition is set to be held at the Uganda Museum grounds in Kampala on 27 September.

By establishing Africa Nouveau, the organizers seek to place Nairobi on the global music festival circuit. Speaking to the media, the pioneer of the festival, Muthoni Ndonga, said: "The team and I feel that we have given it 120% and given visibility to Kenyan music and artists. Our goal for Blankets & Wine was to create a great impact by committing one weekend every bunch of months where audiences could come and appreciate live music from African stars. It is with that in mind that we want to expand to Africa and enter in the world of festivals and market Nairobi as a music and culture destination, like the Cape Town Jazz Festival."

Started in 2008, the Blankets & Wine events evolved from promoting independent acts to promoting internationally-known African acts, including South African bands LiquideepMafikizolo and Mi Casa. Africa Nouveau is the second time that the Blankets & Wine team are setting their sights on breaking ground with a new festival concept, following the African Dance Party that featured Nigerian superstar Wizkid alongside Kenyan stars such as Fena Gitu and Octopizzo in 2014, but has since not had a following edition.

After managing to convince the audience in Kenya that indeed there is good Kenyan and African music, it is hoped that Africa Nouveau will be around for long to eventually stamp Kenya’s authority on the continental and global live music scene. More details on the festival's Facebook page and the video below.



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