Distinguished Senegalese vocalist Alune Wade is slated to headline the Safaricom jazz lounge concert that is set for Saturday the 4th of November 2017 at the Uhuru gardens along Langata Road. This year marks the 5th aniversary of the Safaricom Jazz Lounge and what better way to celebrate this than a concert reaching spectacular fruition to commemorate our love for Jazz.
Featuring renowned performers such as Senegalese bassist and vocalist Alune Wade, New York City based Jazz singer and composer Kavita Shah and Kenyan bands, The Limericks and Mambo Tribe, you can be sure you’ll have a one of a kind experience. The event promises a selection of pure jazz as well as a mix of jazz fusions with influences from around the world.
Born in 1978 in Dakar, Senegal, Alune Wade grew up surrounded by music. His father was a leader of a local symphonic orchestra, so Alune developed a natural gift for music at the young age of six. At just 13, the bass became his chosen instrument. Though his mother objected, wanting her son to further his academic studies rather than become a professional musician, the support and encouragement from his father inspired Alune to perfect his craft and hone an original voice on bass.
After years of rigorous music instruction and performing in local bands all over Dakar, at 17, Alune gained a prominent spot as a bassist in his father’s orchestra. Just one year later, he auditioned and was chosen to perform with the great Senegalese musician Ismael Lo, touring as his bassist all across the globe where he also got the opportunity to play alongside legends like Fatuomata Diawara and Aziz Sahmaoui.
He released his debut solo album. Mbolo (which means “unity” in Wolof) in 2006 which is said to combine his training in African rhythms with more contemporary and modern jazz influences. He further explored those influences on his second album released in 2010 AYO NENE. Much like his rich and diverse resume (which includes collaborations with the likes of Marcus Miller, Salif Keita, Oumou Sangare, Bela Fleck, Bobby McFerrin, and late Joe Zawinul, among others), this album gives listeners a wonderful mélange, bringing Africa and all other continents together through music.
Released in 2015, HAVANA-PARIS-DAKAR is a bridge between both Alune’s native and chosen homes (Dakar and Paris, respectively), as well as the birthplace of his featured and frequent collaborator, Cuban pianist Harold López-Nussa. His most well-known collaboration from this is Animata which provides a snappy Cuban groove as well as a beautiful adventurous rendition from Wade which fuses a touch of urban and jazz. Sama Rew is also a favorite you should definitely listen to.
Alune Wade’s versatile and deep-rooted touch on bass is slowly establishing him as a key ingredient in bringing new vigor to the African jazz scene. His career reaches a significant milestone with the forthcoming release of his fourth album African fast Food.
The Mambo Tribe is a band made up of multi-cultural musicians hailing from different parts of Kenya on the local scene and musicians of different nationalities on the international scene. The band which has been in existence since 2015 when they started experimental performances under Jazz, can be described more as a cultural safari ensemble due to the nature it takes based on location and collaborations with local musicians thus adopting the sounds of its destination/host town when on tour. They have since toured as a traditional outfit to Norway, Malawi and done performances in Nairobi. Currently, they are recording a collaborative album based on the Miji-Kenda sounds and culture due for release in December 2017 which will feature musicians from Kenya, the USA, Europe and other parts of Africa.
The onset of the Limericks began a decade ago in 2007. Consisting of pianist Ken Mwara, Saxophonist Brian Mugenyi also known as Buula, self-taught Malagasy bass player Radanz Nirina also known as Danz, Madagascan born jazz singer Rabodonavalona Lalanirina, easier nicknamed ‘Fafa’ and Richie Rich who is a Kenyan avant-garde drummer, the Limericks combines Blues, Vintage-Soul, Gospel and Jazz with African rhythms and tonality to create innovative play and melodies that are thrillingly dense yet exceptionally fluid in their understanding of those genres to come up with their own form of Afro-Soul.
Nicknamed ‘The United Nations of Jazz Bands’, The Limericks have a collective experience of having played all over the world with Ken who has played all over East Africa, Buula who has shared the stage with Salif Keita at the Zanzibar International Film Festival (ZIFF), performed alongside Richard Bona at the Safaricom International Jazz Festival in Nairobi (2014), Phil Denny during Jazz Under The Stars (2013), at Red Monkey Jambiani with Blitz Ambassador (2015), at Ronnie Scott’s in England among others, Danz who has played all kinds of music thus leading to him having participated in International, World and Jazz Festivals such as Womex Festival (Germany), Paléo Festival (Switzerland), Festival des Musiques Métisses (France), Jazz à Nancy (France), La Fête Jazz (Seychelles), and Madajazzcar International Jazz festival, amongst others; FaFa who has garnered a world of experience from her music tours of Kenya, Tanzania, Madagascar, La Reunion, and Mauritius and Richie who has become a regular feature in international circuits from The Smithsonian to Ted Talks and a host of concerts around the US, Canada, Europe and all over Africa.
With all this musical experience garnered up on one stage, you definitely don’t want to miss this! Tickets go for Kshs 2000 and Kshs 500 for students with proof of ID. Gates open at 6:00pm and the show starts at 8:00pm
All proceeds from the event will go towards supporting the Ghetto Classics, a non-profit programme that teaches music skills to the youth from underprivileged backgrounds. To date, Safaricom has so far handed over have Kshs 37 million towards this programme to uplift the lives of many youth by way of providing musical instruments, classes, and much more. The funds have gone towards the purchase of music instruments for the 650 children in the community program.
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