As a young millennial, I’m always on the lookout for affordable and enriching experiences.
Some time ago a friend was saying she wished there was something different to do in Nairobi. She complained there aren’t any reasonable, fun events in town, but I argued that the Safaricom International Jazz festival is arguably one of the best music events anywhere. It turns out there’s one this coming Labour Day, so I thought it was a good time to share those reasons with you.
1. Exposure to a wider range of music and musicians
Jazz is the type of genre that you have to go out of your way to look for in Nairobi. Unless you’re a regular listener on Capital FM’s Jazz Club, your local radio station most likely does not play it. For that reason, you may not be familiar with great artists like Paco Séry and Cheick Tidiane Seck, who are actually headlining the festival on Wednesday! Here’s a small taste of Cheick Tidiane Seck:
Personally I’m so grateful for the chance to see these types of artists, even if I’m not super familiar with them. Jazz drummer Paco Séry just makes you want to move and dance! Check out this clip (Beware the YouTube rabbit hole! But it’s worth it)
2. Celebrating local talent (before they move abroad!)
As Kenyans we always complain that we don’t have enough interesting local artists, mara we don’t support local talent. Some move on to succeed on a global scale such that they’re hardly in Kenya The live music space seems to have been shrinking in recent years, but we have to give props to Safaricom for making space for artists. So we’re super excited to see Kato Change on this global stage. Check out his YouTube Channel to walk that talk of supporting local artists.
3. Empowering the next generation
In case you didn’t know, Safaricom Jazz Festival supports children go to the Ghetto Classics program. This is a school of music in the Korogocho slums and it is teaching children to play instruments. Not every child will turn out to be a star like Paco Séry, but it definitely exposes them to the possibilities available beyond their backyards. I really feel like exposure to music from an early age is super important, even if it doesn’t lead to a career. I so appreciate the piano lessons I had as a kid – I don’t know if it really helped my maths like my mom thought it would, but I feel like I’m better for it.
4. It’s a great family event or a fabulous hangout with friends
The Safaricom International Jazz festival will be held at Carnivore grounds and starts at noon on Labour Day. Isn’t that a plan? You can go with your family, friends or partner and have a great time. I love the fact that it brings together all kinds of people from different backgrounds, unified by their love for music.
5. A chance to celebrate African music
This year’s theme is celebrating African Jazz, and will also feature supporting performances from Mandla Mlangeni and the Tune Creation Committee (South Africa), Sylwester Ostrowski & The Jazz Brigade ft. Freddie Hendrix (from Poland & USA) and some of our favourite local acts, including the celebrated Nairobi Horns Project, Shamsi Music, Jacob & Kavutha Asiyo, Kato & The Change Band and of course, the Ghetto Classics. I don’t know about you, but it sounds like a beautiful space to experience what it means to be an African today through music. It’s not often where we have access to such experiences without travelling out of the country, and we know that can cost a pretty penny. I This point actually got my friend excited cause she loves to travel and tends to think that’s the only time she’s happy. But getting to experience African diversity in one afternoon without the air ticket got her really excited.
6. It’s Affordable
This brings us to the issue of cost. I was super happy to hear that there are discounted tickets available on Masoko, even for adults. Instead of paying Ksh 2000, you can get them for Ksh 1,500! Students get an even better deal, with tickets available at Ksh 500. You need to be able to show your ID at the gate though.
Suffice it to say, my friend and I will be spending Labour day dancing at the Safaricom International Jazz Festival. We hear there’ll also be great food and other activities as well, even for the kids for those of you who are blessed like that. Tukutane Wednesday, Carnivore from noon. Get your tickets before they sell out! (We’ve got ours!)
Featured image via: instagram/sagirlskillingit