On Sunday 29 November, Kenya will witness the birth of yet another festival as the Utamaduni Festival holds at Nairobi’s the Elephant.
Utamaduni Festival seeks to become Kenya’s annual multi-cultural festival that gives a platform for global cultural integration using art. Among other things the festival aims to expose East African arts and culture to the world, as well as displaying and sharing cultures from around the world in a bid to build long lasting friendships. For its inaugural edition the festival will stage both cultural and mainstream artists.
While Tanzania’s Swahili Ally and the Spirits Band will offer a taste of Tanzanian rhythms, Kenya’s Olith Ratego will entertain festival goers with a taste of Luo traditional music. Olith’s music is a complex tale spun out with soul, telling tales of the everyday grind in Nairobi. Energetic performer Makadem will also share his Anglo-Ohangla music fusion.
The Spirits Band is a group of young Tanzanian talented musician from Bagamoyo, aged 18 to 22. The Spirit Band has played together for more than 10 years now, and they have grown up on the training of the great Vitalis Maembe. The band was formed and registered in 1998.
Most of the musicians started playing at 7 – 10 years as part of Vitalis Membe's self-initiative of training young underprivileged boys and girls in Bagamoyo. The band’s music comes from the vibes of Tanzanian local traditional dance, songs and rhythms with the additional of contemporary music sounds and ideas which creates groovy and lively presentations to the audiences.
Swahili Ally on the other hand is a talented artist whose vibrant performance fuses traditional music with a unique contemporary edge to deliver a memorable performance and powerful message to the audience.
Additionally, the festival will host self-taught guitarist and percussionist Tetu Shani. Though he has been performing as a session musician in Nairobi between 2011 and 2015, Tetu was inspired to record his own material after meeting the Grammy winning Gospel and Jazz artist Jonathan Butler privately at the 2015 Safaricom Jazz Festival in Nairobi. After some encouragement from Butler, Tetu immediately started composing and arranging his own material and his debut album Mood Music was born. Nairobi based female rapper Wangechi Waweru, popularly known as Wangechi, and Kagwe Mungai are expected to perform.
Organised by Kenyan artist Fadhilee Itulya, the festival will also serve as an avenue for art and crafts display.
For more information visit Utamaduni festival’s Facebook page.