Tag - tembea kenya

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:


The Beauty of Heena

Every Eid and during weddings women in Mombasa adorn their hands with floral henna patterns, some with the black dye and others natural henna.

In Mombasa, there are henna artist who do the henna designs around town but the most common place is called Bin Sidiq center on Bawazir Lane. There are few salons located inside the shopping arcade that primarily do henna art. In addition, you can find a few on Facebook where you can see samples of their work before you visit them and book online.

 

The designs depend on status, for little girls normally a small simple design pattern suffices. For a single girl, the art goes just up to the wrist of the hand whereas for married women it is not restricted.

It is believed that a woman must always adorn her hands with henna to look beautiful for her husband so that whenever she is with him, he sees the beautiful and colourful artwork.

The price starts at 300 kshs for a smaller design i.e to the wrist and the higher the design on the hand it goes the higher the price.  Bridal designs are different from the other designs because it is the bride’s first night with her husband she has to look extra beautiful.

Different cultures have specific designs; you can Indian design Mehndi or United Arab Emirates Khaleeji style, also Sudanese black dye style.

The process includes mixing the henna powder with water, and the designer puts the wet henna in a cone which is used to draw with. Once the henna is applied on your skin, you wait for about forty five minutes to one hour for it to dry.After that, you just peel off the dried henna and normally you are advised not to touch water for 6-8 hours so the henna can darken preferably overnight. These days henna is mixed with a thinner which speeds up the process of drying.

The Craft Market at City Mall

Every Wednesday and Thursday, City Mall Nyali dedicates part of the parking lot for the craft market which promotes local curio businesses. The market was first introduced two years ago by craft producers and was registered as Craft Market.

On display at the craft market are various items such as hanging ornaments, kitchen wares, bedding, clothing, sandals and wearable accessories. The price ranges cost as low as kshs 100 to over kshs 5000, depending on your purchase.

Most vendors also design the accessories, adding a twist to make their pieces different and unique.

Each accessory produced represents some of the craftsman’s personality, making the items exquisite in every aspect.

Looking for quality and locally made crafts? The craft market makes it easier for you to be trendy on a low budget. The items sold there are diverse in colour, texture, design and material to cater for all ages and genders. There is something for everyone.

The organization is open to curio/crafts sellers and supports all kinds of groups. Youth and women groups who would like to join to promote their work are welcome.

So next time you are at City-Mall on a Wednesday or Thursday stop by between 8am and 8pm for the beautiful souvenirs.

Below are pictures from The craft Market at City-Mall.

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 :


Jina langu ni Abdulrahman Ndegwa

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Abdulrahman blogging.

Your name and what do you do?

My name is Abdulrahman Ndegwa and I use the pen name Abu Amirah in all my blogs. I write but work as an Admin at an Islamic information centre to pay the bills! Currently am running two blogs, a weekly column right here at LIM and also part of a pioneering group of writers representing the Coast under the banner tendi.org.

Tell us more about your move to Mombasa?

I moved here in the fall of ’07 right after the elections. My move wasn’t because of the PEV violence but it was a calling of sorts because I felt Mombasa, with its distinguished Islamic signature and identity would be the right place for me since I had embraced Islam that same year. I really wanted somewhere I could start over as Abdulrahman as compared to being in Nairobi where everyone knew me as Dennis.

What made you revert to Islam?

I would say it was because I was at a critical stage in my life when I was trying to come into terms with my spirituality and purpose in life. I considered Rastafarianism because it really advocated for peace and humility but there never was a significant difference between it and the outlawed Mungiki so I shun the idea. Up to then, I had never considered Islam or even researched about it. One Saturday evening my young bro came with a piece of paper some Muslims had dished out in the bus. On it was the shahada (declaration of faith) in Arabic and Kiswahili and for some reason the phrase just ignited something in me and on Sunday morning I walked into the local Masjid and became a Muslim!

Have you faced any difficulties after accepting Islam?
Well, nothing major to write home about because my family has been very supportive and we respect each other’s religious identities. Am the only Muslim in my family and it gives me a lot of joy when am with my folks and little cousins and they are using “In Sha Allah” and “Masha Allah” and making light jokes about my beard (a note to Uncle Kenny: ndevu ishafika kifuani!). I mean, it’s a blessing to have such a wonderful family. I meet New Muslims every day in our centre and some of their stories are very moving, with some even getting chased away from home just because they embraced Islam.

The way I see it, if someone goes home and tells his family that he has joined the freemason, he stands a higher chance of getting accepted than when he becomes a Muslim. Sad but true.

Why do you write?

I write because it’s a God given talent. Because it is through writing that am able to adequately reconcile the voices in my head to put their heads together (tadaaa!) and come up with something readable and fascinating. Because it is through the written word that History is preserved for future generations.

I write because the process of coming up with characters and putting them down in a story gives me immeasurable gratification when I see them assume lives of their own which resonates with the reader’s own experiences. I write because I love to and if this was a drug then I would be a desperate junkie!

What does it mean to be a writer in Mombasa?

Being a writer in Mombasa is an immense challenge because we write from the back drop of a rich cultural history which was the impetus of our National language and needs to be preserved well. The minor challenge is writing or re-writing this history without losing its meaning and the major issue is writing to a generation and society that has a dismal reading culture. A writer in Mombasa has to compete for attention amongst people who prefer listening and watching to reading. Getting the point across such an obstacle is not easy.

What motivates you to write?

I am motivated by real life stories and a myriad of other things in nature. For a writer, anything, however vaguely mundane it may seem, is enough to motivate and inspire one to write. My wife too is a huge motivation because she is my biggest fan and critic. She reads my stories (she read ‘my ideal woman’ in my blog before I married her) and offers very beneficial input. If I was to write for her I would do every passage a thousand times over!

Any artist will tell you that the biggest motivation is having a spouse/partner who supports and appreciates what you do because talent is innate and even if everything is stripped from you, it will always remain intact and true! An artist and his trade are inseparable.

Mombasa is diverse city do you feel that tribalism present in Mombasa?

Tribalism is rampant everywhere and Mombasa is not an exception especially because we are ardent political debaters and the issue of tribe is wont to rise in our conversations.

In its diversity, Mombasa is still rising from the ashes of marginalization and the only thing that suppresses tribalism talk is the commodious ethno-lingual culture which tends to be very welcoming, and the youth of today are using it to combat this tribal vice.

Tell us something personal about you people may be surprised to know?

Haha, this is hard. Ummmm, I don’t know, I guess it is classified info, ‘for her eyes/ears only’ and I may have to literally shoot you if I tell you. (Copied from a movie I watched kitambo). But yenyewe I don’t think I have anything surprising enough to make your heart skip a beat, am simple like that!

Parting shot
My parting shot is to all artists (writers, bloggers, photographers, poets, et al) in Mombasa. We are faced with a crisis of putting across the right message to our audience. We have to work together to create credible, fascinating and entertaining content that is appropriate for all audiences and age groups.

Jamila is doing a great job uniting artists in Mombasa and we can use this to create more awareness and appreciation for our content. Let us stop this ‘art drain’ where artists from the Coast have to relocate to places like Nairobi to be appreciated. Ni hayo tu kwa sasa!