Mother Africa honored by its musicians at Koroga Festival

African Jazz Legend Manu Dibango at the 12th edition of the Koroga Festival in Nairobi

African Jazz Legend Manu Dibango at the 12th edition of the Koroga Festival in Nairobi

This May, Capital FM brought the 12th edition of the Koroga Festival. The line up was impressive and despite not having gone for many before, I was quite looking forward to this one. Its not everyday that you get to watch Manu Dibango, Maurice Kirya, June Gachui and Edward Parseen all sharing a stage.

Although Koroga Festival is positioning itself as the festival for a full experience from the artists on stage to the food, the people and the vibe, for me its always about the music. As I was telling James Murua, I rarely fuss over what am wearing or who else should be going for me to decided whether its worth it or not.

I have watched June and Parseen perform before. In my article listing some of the best Kenyan Jazz musicians, the two feature quite prominently. I have also written about the past Jazz day celebrations in which they never fail to organise together with other Jazz musicians or play.

This May’s Koroga was all about Maurice Kirya and Manu Dibango. It was a chance for me to watch them live for the first time, something that I was quite looking forward to.

Sunday 8th also happened to be Mothers’ day.

I have been going for music concerts with my mum since 2006 when I took her for an Angelique Kidjo show at the Carnivore. Like me, she listens to a lot of African music (a case of the apple falling not far from the tree). It was therefore natural for me to figure out the best mother’s day gift for her.

One of the highlights from the concert was when a very emotional Maurice Kirya sang the song ‘Woyee‘ sang in Baganda. As he explained while singing, how he sang it to his mother who had been admitted in hospital and was unconscious but somehow, she later remembered him singing this song to her.

The song lyrics are loosely translated as follows

The stars are shining up in the sky
And my thoughts are pouring.
Am envious of lovers
You left me,and got someone else

Wooye(lament) give me sleep

Overseas where you are
Come back at times
And give me a pill of your love
So i can sleep

Wooye give me sleep

I pray that God gives you to me
so i can get sleep

The way in which he performed it was so emotionally pure that someone in the audience joking asked if he (Maurice) was crying.

Manu Dibango’s performance was so brief, by the time we were settling into it, he was already telling us ‘Au revoir’. His choice of songs was however a good mix with ‘Bolingo’ and ‘Aye Africa’ standing out.

I managed to sneak backstage and got a photo op with the two gentlemen. Will framing those photos be so wrong?

In July, Koroga will bring back the duo Mafikizolo as well as Uhuru. Having watched Mafikizolo twice before during their last concert in Kenya, I will probably go more for the dancing.

I fail to see how Khona will be played and some people still remain seated. Till then, learn some kwaito dance moves.

Here are some photos and videos in case you missed the event.

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