#MyArtistWish – A Campaign for Kenyan Festivals

Mali’s Legendary singer Baaba Maal

New concerts and Festivals are springing up in Kenya like never before. This has been heavily attributed to the growing middle-class that are looking for fun and exciting things to do on weekends other than having Nyama-Choma and booze (these are Kenyan’s favourite past times).

A trend has been developing, one that has now come to be referred to as the Blankets & Wine ( BnW ) style. This is following a concept adopted by the organisers of the Blankets and Wine Festival where revellers are asked to come with their own Maasai shukas (Blankets) and their own Wine. With time, the concept was corrupted with all manner of variations mainly on the Wine part which most took to mean any alcohol. This is the style that various other festivals such as the Safaricom International Jazz Festival, the Hakuna Matata, Koroga and the Rift Valley Festivals.

Another growing trend is on the choice of international artists. Many, if not most, of the international artist that have performed at BnW since its inception have been from South Africa, at one point artists such as Mafikizolo and Mi-Casa gave repeat performances . The inaugural Koroga Festival also brought the South African group Freshly Ground though they soon decided to surprise us by bringing the legendary Baaba Maal.

This seems to be a reflection of the music preference by the Nairobi Club scene which will either play music from South Africa or West Africa (Nigeria & Ghana predominantly). Recently, during the after-party of a corporate event I had attended, the DJ started us off with some slow music from Zahara and eventually build it up to the Afrobeat. At some point, we started giving guessing predictions as to the next song since the playlist had become predictable (it has to have some Uhuru, Davido, WizKid, Mafikizolo etc)

I realized that we are not discovering any music and it now seems like only South African’s and Nigerians are producing music. I am compiling a wish list from all true Kenyan Music Fans on which artists the numerous festivals should consider hearing as the number of festivals grow and the need for diversity becomes a necessity.

The hashtag for this wish list will be #MyArtistWish, I encourage you to tag the various event organisers. Based on the tweets sent out using the hashtag, we will compile an Artist wish list for future Festivals.

Lets get started.

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