Tag - nairobi

Jina langu ni Hassan Faisal Ali

Your name and what do you do?
My Names are Hassan Faisal Ali. I am a Film producer and Director at Coastal Films productions. A Hotelier by profession and an event’s organizer and also a music producer.

Tell us about Coast Film Productions ltd?
Coastal Films was started way back 2009 to promote The Films Talent at The Kenyan Coast. We were motivated to start Coastal Films when we realized the number of homes in Mombasa who had an urge of watching Movies. At that time most homes were watching Indian Movies before Nigerians took over our screens.

Why did you go to into production?
I love Films, so I decided to learn how to do scripts thereafter I decided to start shooting movies.

How many series and Movies have you produced?
I have done 7 movies so far

We have few movies and series from Mombasa, what do you think is the problem?
The cost of doing Movies is not cheap and the market is not readily available. We have no sponsors due to the fact this is an Islamic town. The Able people will not sponsor story lines on violence etc. Companies here also have no authority to fund as decisions are made from their head offices in Nairobi

Where do you see the creative industry in Mombasa 5 years from now?
In the next Five years the coast will be leading in productions once we streamline the creative industry market. The coast has what it takes to do good movies; we have superb locations and talent down here.

What criteria do you use to select a script, screenwriter, director, etc.?
This relies on the story line and the budget plus available funds.

What is your latest project?
My latest project was Yoba Movie which we have shot with a Holland films company called CLFILMS.

Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?
One of the biggest producer in Africa

Parting shot
The Government needs to invest more on creative arts industry in order to create self employments to the youth as it’s unable to provide employment to all this youths.

Safaricom Jazz: Rhythm and Serenity

The wind whistled slowly as the night crept in, the heat engulfed the air it was bound to be a beautiful night. The crowds started streaming in flocking the grounds at Butterfly pavilion for the Safaricom Jazz. The  Gates opened at 6:30 in the evening and cars were directed to designated parking areas, while others were taken to the venue by various buses.

The decor at the dome was impeccably done, with the seating area, draped in white and the dome well lit, setting the mood for a lovely night of jazz. Everyone was seated by 8pm eagerly waiting for the show to start.  With various vendors set up at nearby tents selling food and drinks, as well as other vendors selling African artifacts, there were enough activities to indulge in before the show started. We all love photos, and Safaricom definitely knew this, by providing a photo booth, where all in attendance got a chance to look glam while having their photos taken!

The crowd was ready for a soulful night, the ladies all dressed and the gents looking dashing as ever, this was not your everyday music concert. Finally at around 9:30pm, Edward Perseen and the Different Faces band gave a spectacular performance, including a special rendition of jazz with a Coastal feel to it, that got the whole crowd dancing and ready for the main show! They are definitely a force to reckon with, when it comes to the jazz scene in Kenya.

Kirk Whalum graced the stage with passion and fire, and his soulful performance made you reconnect with your spirit. In his first piece he started off with the Gospel according to Jazz from Chapter 1 to 5, that left everyone in the crowd in awe. His energy resonated in every song he played, as they shared the stage with Gerald Albright and Norman Brown. Many people among the crowd, weren’t familiar with Shelea Fraizer’s music, but she captivated everyone with her sultry voice and skills on the piano; she’s an upcoming artist that we should definitely look out for in the scene.

Norman Brown was the highlight of the event, his infusion of and contemporary jazz left the audience satisfied  with every succulent inflected note. The crowd moved to his beats, creating a wave of bliss and emotions that swept over the entire audience. He has a way with the guitar and it was evident when he showed off his skills while strumming the guitar behind his back as the crowd looked on in amazement!

Finally, Gerald Albright  came on stage, the crowd still excited and yearning for more jazz tunes. Gerald Albright has this soulful way of making everyone in the crowd, transfixed to his performance; his emotions while playing the saxophone, leaves you in a daze and it’s no wonder that when it comes to jazz, he definitely is a maestro!

The Jazz  Festival was truly a breath of fresh air in Mombasa, a few lucky winners among the crowd were fortunate enough to win phones and airtime thanks to Safaricom. The jazz enthusiast and CEO of Safaricom, Bob Collymore has definitely paved the way and set high standards for  jazz festivals in Nairobi and Mombasa. Safaricom outdid themselves with a well organized concert; from the decor, security, sound and not to mention the entertainment from the jazz maestros, that culminated the year well. Mombasa looks forward to many more concerts, and probably jazz musicians gracing us for the next Safaricom Jazz Festival!

This what others had to say about the event :

Maureen  Bandari

This was my first time attending the Safaricom Jazz event. I didn’t know most of the performers so I was a little skeptical of going but I knew that we don’t get the pleasure of having concerts like this in Mombasa all the time so I decided to go and check it out. First of all, the security was good and there is nothing as awesome as feeling secure during times like this when terror is everywhere. I loved the organization of the event since everything was moving swiftly and the dome itself was well decorated and organized.

I loved the caliber of people that turned up and their energy. The artists were engaging with the audience and playing familiar music every once in a while. It was truly an awesome experience ,swaying to the sound of the instruments, laughing at the jokes and being in awe of the amazing voices. The artists left us wanting more by the time the event came to a close end.

On areas of improvement, this being Mombasa a dome sometimes is too confining which makes it too hot. Unless you go ahead and install fans as well, I think an open air concert is much better and more comfortable. Other than that this is an event I will definitely attend come next year’s version.

Winnie Araka

The thing I liked most about the event was the ambiance. The crowd was great and appreciative. Everyone was on their feet and there wasn’t one dull moment. The musicians were on point. It is worth noting too that the event organizers were very organised, with transport to carry attendees to and from the parking.

All in all, it was a memorable event.

Kelvyne M. John

Awesome!!

Sights and sounds from Safaricom Jazz Mombasa:


Jina Langu ni Stephanie Maseki

stephanie 2

  1. Your name and what do you do?
  • My name is Stephanie Maseki
  • I am a social worker by profession
  • I am now a full time actor and a producer by virtue of love and passion for theatre with a theatre company called Stan Savannah based in Mombasa.
  • I am also a 4th year Psychology student at Nairobi University
  1. What was your first play you produced?

Zuena was my first play to produce and actually write in March 2013. It is an original script on anti drugs. This play received an enormous number of audiences.

  1. How do find the art scene in Mombasa?
  • Art scene in Mombasa is challenging but its catching up. Art in terms of music has a good hype but theatre is a bit lacking. I don’t want to believe in the nortion about culture having anything to do with it; why? Because once ago in Mombasa people went to the theatres to watch plays.
  • I want to think that marketing is the biggest challenge we have as an industry. With a good hype, I believe we gonna reach the optimum in terms of an audience reach.
  • The audience are waiting an wanting, but they have no information.
  1. Artist are under appreciated in Mombasa, do you think this will change?
  • Yes, this will and can change if artists themselves take their work seriously and present themselves accordingly to the society as professionals.
  • The artist must take this profession serious so that the audience compliments him/her, not the other way round.
  • We need to change the mindset of the society and it starts with me and you as an artist.
  1. How do you prepare for a play?
  • How do I prepare for a play? This is a long one. There are a few steps to be followed:-

Step 1: As an actor first you need to get the script

Step 2: Read the Play Many Time

A deep reading of the play is important. No matter what your role is in a play you    must read the script many times. read a play will. When you read a script, read every word. New actors often read only their scenes, and some only read their lines. Others will decide to not read the stage directions. Read the play from beginning to end. And, because it’s a play, it’s not a bad idea to read it aloud.

Step3: Deep Reading

There is a basic three-step process that one can employ. It involves three readings of the play, and it’s designed to help an actor begin to understand their character and how that character fits within the context of the play.

Reading the Play Three Times

  1. First reading is devoted to understanding the plot, getting to know who the characters are, getting a handle on the time, place and action, etc.
  2. Second reading focuses on getting to know EVERYTHING you possibly can about the character you are playing. From the evidence the playwright gives you, create your character in every manner possible.
  3. Third reading consists of reading the play in an attempt to see how your character fits within the entire thematic context and dramatic action of the play. Why is your character in the play and what purpose do they serve?

Step 4: Know Your Lines

  • Be as ready as you can be to work with your director. Many actors learn a large percentage of their lines before they ever get into rehearsal. You should arrive at rehearsal with a strong understanding and solid knowledge of what you are saying and doing and why.

Step 5: Come Into Rehearsal with Ideas

  • When you finally start the rehearsal process hopefully you will have a director who has a strong and clear vision of the script and who will be able to work with you and all of the actors in discovering how to bring the play to life. Whether this is the case or not, you should come into rehearsal with ideas for each scene, knowledge of what your character wants overall and in every moment of the play

Step 6: Be Ready to Act

  • Be ready for anything. When you are in rehearsal you should be ready to act, that is, to work. That means being attentive to your director, focused on the script and the process, and acting and reacting in scenes. When you are not in a scene you should be reviewing staging, learning lines, or trying to discover more about your character. Acting is hard work and it calls for a lot of preparation prior to the start of rehearsals and attentiveness throughout the process. If you are the type of actor who arrives ready to work, you will become a person with whom directors like to work, and that means you will be employed often.
  1. How many plays have you written and produced?
  • I together with my colleagues have written and produced 9 plays since 2013. These are all original plays, all thematic, educative and purely entertaining!
  1. What would be your dream role, and how do feel you will bring it out?
  • An actor cannot afford to have a dream role. If you do, you block all other avenues of doing other roles while looking forward to doing that particular role. So what happens when you never get a chance to do you dream role? It dies. So an artist should be open minded and experimental so long as they take up roles that elevate them to another level in their acting career.
  1. Apart from Little theatre club, there is no other theatre in Mombasa. Do you think the county government is doing enough to promote plays and artists?
  • No it’s not. Unless I don’t know anything about it which is unlikely. These are politicians, I don’t think they understand what art it, I don’t blame them; but if there are offices appointed by the county to carry out the duty of uplifting theatre, then that is the one sleeping on their work.
  • Mgala muue na haki umpe, a few individuals visit the theatre once in a while but there is no much talk about it for implementation of theatre projects. Maybe we as artists are not enthusiastic about it and that’s why they don’t see the urgency.
  1. What are your future projects people should know about?
  • Currently I am working on a musical play; it’s the Christmas season, I want to give the audience a test of what Christmas is all about. Love, Thanksgiving and Forgiveness. So yes, The story of Mary and Joseph on the 12th @7pm and 13th @4pm Dec, 2015.
  • February I am working on a piece to bring to light the stigma in the society surrounding Rape. Play: CODE OF SILENCE
  • A theatre training program as well in April. Our calendar of events will be available during the showing on the 12th & 13th
  1. Parting shot

For us to bring back the hype in theatres, I urge the media to support production houses in marketing the plays.I also urge the county government of Mombasa to support the artists by also renovating the theatre to a modern facility. Audience have actually really complained about how old fashioned the place is. I urge the members of the public to come to the theatres;

One: to support art.

Two: to have the exceptional experience they never have when they watch movies on screens. Theatre is a reflection of our society I would say.

Facebook page: Stan Savannah

Email: stansavannah18@gmail.com

Contacts:  +254 722 988 353 or  +254 722 163 571

Safaricom Jazz at the Coast

The Safaricom International Jazz Festival, one of the country’s biggest music events, is finally here again. This December, Safaricom will not only host the much awaited show in Nairobi, but the Coastal jazz lovers will themselves be getting a treat too in Mombasa. The festival which has been taking place for the past 2 years is Kenya’s premier Jazz exhibition. With big names like Isaiah Katumwa, Jonathan Butler, Salif Keita, Richard Bona, Rhythm Junks, Jimmy Dludlu, The Nile Project and Yuval Cohen, the festival has steadily been garnering a cult following since its inception on the 23rd of February 2014. The Safaricom International Jazz Festival has come to outgrow the Ngong Racecourse as venue and this December it moves to two big stages, The Carnivore in Lang’ata and The Haller Park Butterfly Pavilion in Mombasa.

The move to hold the festival in Mombasa too is a much anticipated move with the city being home to a lot of art and Jazz enthusiasts. The lifting of the travel ban will also prove to be an advantage as a lot of hotels have reported early bookings for both international and local tourists who will be there around the Christmas period.

But yes, with the numerous venues in Mombasa, what makes the Butterfly Pavilion Safaricom’s choice? Over the years, the Butterfly Pavilion has proven to be a paragon of both serenity and beauty. It is an extension of the Haller Park, a rehabilitation project by Lafarge owned Bamburi Cement and one of Mombasa’s most popular wildlife sanctuaries. The Butterfly Pavilion, formerly known as Bamburi Forest Trails, is lush forest with trails and an assortment of wildlife including butterflies, birds and vegetation. It is home to a number of ecosystems all thriving alongside each other to bring about a harmonic natural balance. The park literally demonstrates just how beautiful environmental conservation can get.

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Add all that together and you get an epitome of beauty. A magnificent scenery perfect for the art-enthusiast with refined taste. The park guarantees a magical view from the open space where the festival is supposed to be held. The open spaces are perfect for blankets kind of setting with one huge stage and with revelers bringing their own blankets or vikoi, or a formal arrangement. Simply put, when you combine the beautiful live jazz music with the magical view at the Butterfly Pavilion, you are sure to get lost in a world of colour.

This year, The Safaricom International Jazz festival features four huge international artists who join together as a quartet to give you “A Gospel According to Jazz”. The quartet consisting of highly acclaimed Grammy award winners Kirk Whalum and Norman Brown, Grammy award nominee Gerald Albright and newcomer Shelea Frazier will be the main act. All four artistes have impressive music achievements with all having received international accolades and titles. They will be curtain raised by Edward Parseen and the Different Faces Band, and AfroSync who are local jazz sensations.

All proceeds from the Safaricom Jazz Lounge will go towards supporting Ghetto Classics, a music programme based in Korogocho Slums that seeks to provide an opportunity for children from underprivileged backgrounds to explore their musical talents.

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Tickets to the Safaricom Jazz Lounge go on sale on Friday 20th November, and will be retailing at Ksh.1,500 for advance tickets, Ksh.2,000 at the gate and Ksh.500 for students. They will be available from select Safaricom outlets (Sarit Centre, Thika Road Mall, Galleria Mall, Junction Mall, BuruBuru, Village Market, I&M and Nakumatt Mega in Nairobi, and Nyali and Rex Shop in Mombasa). To find out more about the festival, go to safaricomjazzfestival.co.ke

The serene Butterfly Pavilion:


Jumba la Mtwana

The full name Jumba la Mtwana means in Swahili “the large house of the slave”. Within this area four mosques, a tomb and four houses have survived in recognizable condition. These houses include the House of the Cylinder, The House of the Kitchen, The House of the Many Pools, which had three phases, and the Great Mosque. The inhabitants of this town were mainly Muslims as evidence by a number of ruined mosques.

There are no written historical records of the town but ceramic evidence showed that the town had been built in the fourteenth century but abandoned early in the fifteenth century. The dating is based on the presence of a few shreds of early blue and white porcelain with lung-chuan celadon, and the absence of any later Chinese wares.

It is most likely the site’s strategic position was selected because of the presence of fresh water, exposure to the North East and South East breezes which would keep the people cool and its safe location from external attacks by sea since it had no harbor, thus larger vessels had to anchor along way offshore, or move probably in Mtwapa creek. One can only therefore guess reasons for its eventual desertion, namely trade interruption, hostile invasion or a failure in water supply. Though there is need to pursue further research on this.
Clearance and excavation of the ruins were first carried out in 1972 by James Kirkman with a view of dating the buildings, its period of occupation and consolidating buildings which were in danger of collapse. Ten years later in 1982, Jumba la Mtwana was gazetted as a National Monument. Thus Jumba is legally protected under Antiquities and Monuments Act Chapter 215 of the Laws of Kenya.

Excerpt from National Museums of Kenya

Mombasa Instameet #wwim12_Mombasa

Every few months Instagram hosts a worldwide instaMeet, basically photo enthusiasts coming together to take photos and videos and upload on instagram.

A definition as per their blog “An InstaMeet is a group of Instagrammers meeting up to take photos and videos together. That’s it! An InstaMeet can happen anywhere and be any size. They’re a great opportunity to share tips and tricks with other community members in your area, and an excuse to get out and explore someplace new!”

A group of people or an individual can plan and organize an instaMeet in their city and invite others via Instagram.

In the beginning of October 2015, Instagram called out for worldwide InstaMeet number 12. The theme was #WWIM12 is to share #todayimet portraits of the people you meet at the InstaMeet.

For Mombasa we held the Instameet at Mombasa Butterfly House, located next to Fort Jesus. The Mombasa Butterfly House has on display butterflies that have been purchased from community groups living adjacent to key coastal forests, including the Arabuko-Sokoke Forest.

About 20 people attended the event, we enjoyed getting know one another and capture the different species of butterflies that inhibits the gardens. We were given a tour of the garden, and a few facts on Butterflies and the House itself.

Below are scene captured from the InstaMeet


 

 

Nguuni Nature Sanctuary

Nguuni Nature sanctuary is located 4km from Lafarge Bamburi Cement on the Nguu Tatu Hills; the amazing sanctuary is the home to many species. Including Giraffes, elands, oryx, waterbucks, ostriches and many species of birds have made Nguuni their home. Large Doum Palm crowned by Leopard Orchids are scattered in the grassland.

Nguuni offers a beautiful location to view the sunset, also caters to weddings, camps and barbecue sundowners. At sunset Giraffes make their way to the picnic area for feeding. You can experience feeding the giraffes without gates or barriers, an exquisite experience only at Nguuni.

I had the privilege of visiting Nguuni during a sunset and the experience was magical and enchanting, I had the experience to feed the giraffes who made their way to the picnic area, as the sunset the giraffes made their way back to the grassland. The backdrop of the landscape and giraffes walking away was very beautiful and delightful.

Below are photos from the trip.


Duka La Abdalla Leso

Located in the heart of Biashara Street, Duka ya Abdallah under the Kaderdina Hajee Essak Ltd have been around since the forties of the nineteenth century. Mali ya Abdalla Leso has become a household name in Mombasa and other parts of the world.

The leso is a rectangular piece of material made of pure cotton. It measures approximately 150 x 110 cm, and is wide enough to cover a person from the neck to knees or from breast to toe. All lesos have fairly broad borders (pindo) all around and are printed in bold designs and bright colours. Lesos are bought in pairs – a pair is known as a gora – and are most attractive and useful as a pair. A gora of lesos is joined along the width of the fabric when bought. The buyer then cuts along the width and hems each of the two pieces of lesos to prevent fraying of the sides of the fabric. The leso is also known as the Khanga – the names are interchangeable. – Duka Ya Abdalla

The saying is the crucial part of the leso, it sends a message, and it tells a story to others. Others are made for gifts to newlyweds, to new parents and etc. Once you step into the shop you look for two things in the leso- the saying and colour patterns of the leso. Choosing a name depends on the occasion of the purchase of the leso. If it is for a newlywed, one with beautiful colours and congratulatory words will be ideal.   A tradition that used to be common in Mombasa is when neighbors quarrel they just argue through sayings of the leso, one will wear a Leso with a saying that indicates hate to the other. Duka Ya Abdalla gets the sayings from anyone who gives them suggestion, they accept from the general public.

So if you are in Mombasa, take a walk to Biashara street to Duka ya Abdalla shop and peruse through the different patterns and colours of the lesos showcased.

In the meantime here are some samples from my visit to Duka ya Abdalla shop.


Beach Life

Our beautiful coastline In Kenya is our major asset for tourist attraction, a walk at the white sandy beach is the most picturesque appeal. With our recent insecurities many hotels along the coastal cities are suffering due to the low visitor turn out. Many hotels have closed and others are barely making it. Now the only way to survive is to appeal to local tourist, creating packages that will cater to coast residents and other Kenyans.

Most hotels have special packages from Nairobi, some even include transportation from Nairobi. The only way to survive is to find a small incentive from other hotels to stand out. But a trend that has emerged that appeal to coastal residents is lunch buffet (Inclusive of swimming) at a minimum fee and unlimited swimming time. The price range start from kshs 1200 to kshs 2100 lunch buffet and swimming. This deal caters to family who want to spend an afternoon swimming and enjoy a good meal. All the deals are always for Saturday and Sunday only.

So if you ever find yourself with no Sunday plans call your nearest hotel and ask them for Sunday special deal. You will be surprised by the good deal you get.

Sights and Sounds of the beach :