Yesterday was the 29th edition of Blankets and Wine, an event that was started by Muthoni Donga back in 2008.
It is a monthly event that brings together artist from Kenya and other African Countries with their fans every 1st Sunday of the month at the Mamba Village in Karen Nairobi.
Mafikizolo, a group from South Africa known for their hit ‘Ndihamba Nawe’ were the highlight of yesterday’s event which also say Kenyan acts like Maia Von Lekow, Aziza and Muthoni (Drummer Queen).
I arrived at Mamba Village slightly late though just in time to catch Maia. Muthoni and the boy band Aziza had already performed. The place was quite parked with more vehicles still streaming in forming a convoy right from the main road turn off to the Mamba gate. Parking was a challenge and one had to exercise their legs abit to cover the distance.
Then I saw it, what has come to be the trademark in the event and what some will use to conclude that the event has now become elitist with most attending to be seen or to show off their vintage/fine wines. Well, I will not get into that debate for now.
Revelers were strewn all over the vast field, some under tents, some basking in the sun and others milling around food and drink stands.
The sunny afternoon slowly started changing as dark clouds gathered, this did not seem to move Maia as she encouraged the crowd to sing the rain away. However, this did not change much. The torrent drained off the sound just after her performance and for almost 2 hrs, we sat hurdled next to each other trying to get some warmth and shield from the rain that seemed hellbent on ruining the day.
Finally, the sound technicians were able to sort out the sound and Muthoni who was also the day’s MC informed the drenched mob that Mafikizolo were ready to get us up and dancing. True to their word, when they got on stage, they got everyone to their feet with most going to the dancing space just below the stage.
They started off with a fast paced song and then went on to sing one of my favourite tracks Emlanjeni. The group performed for almost 3 hours late into the night giving Kenyans a true concert experience. The duo was accompanied by 3 of their dancers who seemed as though they had no bones in their bodies! They performed various songs from their albums; Nisixotshelani, Kwela, Guga’thandayo, Udakwa Njalo(which we were informed meant, ‘you drink too much’), Masithokoze, Marabi and the Kenyan Favourite, Ndihambanawe among others.
This song, Ndihambanawe is what shot them to the limelight and it remains the most requested song. It went on to win the ‘Song of Decade’ award in South Africa last year. The always ingenous Kenyans decided to start the shuffle routine and soon everyone was doing the shuffle prompting the group to repeat the song and ask that everyone do the shuffle.
As I left the place at some minutes past seven which had by now become one fine mud mess, the duo were still up on stage evidently giving their fans value for their money and thanking them for withstanding the rain.
Reaching the main gate was a huge challenge as it was quite muddy but after getting home, I found myself quietly humming “I will meet you by the river, I will meet you by the river”.
It was worth it though I didn’t get to sit on a blanket.