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When men and music fused

By | October 7th 2010 at 00:00:00 GMT +0300


In the past Coast has fallen short in the art and music scene. Everything interesting always happened in Nairobi. To bring a theatre group, classical music, interesting plays or a concert proved too costly and no sponsors were ready to invest in this kind of art-promotion.

But things are changing. A month ago I attended a classical concert at Lawford’s Hotel sponsored by the Italian Embassy. Another was slated for Turtle Bay Hotel in Watamu.

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But nothing beats the Safaricom sponsored classical fusion concert at the Haller Park Butterfly Pavilion. The entry to Haller Park was very well demarcated and ushers, security and Bamburi Cement staff helped direct cars to a spacious parking. Big tents were set up and visitors exchanged parking ticket for a plastic tag, a perfect way to stop gatecrashers. The set up was awesome. A technical crew and two huge silent generators brought from Nairobi, a large stage build and the chairs were covered in white and green fabric.

Eric Wainaina was one of the entertainers at the event.

Racial differences

The programme started with Elizabeth Njoroge, Director of Art of Music Foundation, singing the national anthem. Elizabeth sang the lyrics in her clear soprano voice so beautifully that it brought tears to my eyes. Walking around, I was amazed by the mix of people sitting together and quite oblivious of their racial differences.

It was great to see so many young people staying throughout the concert.

The night brought a beautiful sight with trees decorated with lamps and brightly lighted stage. Not to forget the perfect sound system. This is hardly ever the case in many functions.

I had seen Eric Wainaina at Nairobi’s Club Afrique sometime ago, but here in Mombasa he put up a show of international standard. He soon managed to get the 1,000 or more people off their seats.

As for South Africa’s Soweto String Quartet, that was something different. I was expecting pure classical music. What they played was original South African music. They played on their violins in a kind of jazzy style renown in New Orleans.

After such a enthralling performance that lasted close to three hours, going home would have been a waste. My friends and I ended up at Yuls for a late dinner, a perfect ending of a perfect evening.



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