Jazz Attitude 2.5 – Sekou “Kora” Kouyate

It’s the 27th day of August, 2017 and I’m strong. Strong as the drinks I mix, the tables I dance on and the friends I party with (because, what other thing to be when you have a series of jazz events to attend in the future and this is only the second one? Gotta be strong for the dance floor and of course, the beautiful melodies!). Duty calls – Jazz Attitude o’clock!!

It was yet another session of greatness and The Alchemist Bar , as always, wasn’t disappointing in the presentation set up. Simplicity laced with a touch of African grace welcomed the funky bourgeoisie peeps who all came in style. There was a continental selection of meals from a variety of  The Alchemist Bar food vendors and special offers at reduced prices on select drinks. It was Jazz Attitude the 2.5!!

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The Alchemist Bar, Westlands.

“Nonsense, Nkt!” – that’s how you know the muse, Tetu Shani  is in the buil’. He was the opening act and his mellow sounds had no inkling of nonsense in them but strumming through our systems into serenity. All over sudden, “Nonsense!” and a click disturbed the tranquility he’d set. My mind didn’t know what to do with itself at first, seeing as he’s been my favorite Jazz Attitude act. Boy now you got my attention and it’s soooo on! This one here was born for the stage and this is the perfect prescription meant to calm down and wind up my month. He was so good with song covers and as well as his guitar. I especially liked when he channeled a bit of Nigeria’s Ketchup with the “pam pam panana panapanana pan pananana!”

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Tetu Shani on stage.

The guitar by the Yellow Light Machine  couldn’t be better. Instruments here were played with military precision I could literally feel their fingers all over me with the gift of their musical sounds. Music vibes with the ability of transcending one sense into the other. Frankly, I had never heard of them before so I thought they’d not match the pace that Tetu had started off with. Truth is, these guys poured their soul into the works. I took a moment to glance at the crowd and every soul was captivated paying attention like their lives depended on the keys that were speaking into their souls. Amazing was the ambiance Yellow Light Machine band had managed to set up.

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Yellow Light Machine Band.

We could barely notice when they exited the stage in our personal trance-like moods only to be sprung up our seats by Shamsi Music . My people and I went up to the dance floor to witness all this firsthand. Swahili should be declared as the official love language. Yellow Light Machine set the mood up and Shamsi Music put on the love glove (not the one you’re thinking of, though). You had to love the vibes Shamsi Music came through with. First performance was their lovely track ‘Mama’. This was Afro jazz personified, they went deep local. Then their next track to frenzied the crowd into their feet. I could see some ‘odieros’  mumbling and singing along to the tunes of “Murata”, which is Kikuyu for ‘Friend’. Then my favorite performance of the day was when they hit the sounds of my home and performed “Wiiwata” , which is Kamba for “How do you feel?”.  See what love does? It’s unbounded by culture and dialect. We all feel it!

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Getting down to the sounds of my home, ‘Wiiwata’ and ‘Nasyaiwe Superstar’.
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Shamsi Music on stage.

Hats off  for The Alchemist Bar resident DJs for playing my African Hits. From “Loi” by Koffi Olomide to “Nasyaiwe superstar” by Boneless, we were wiggling to the African beats feeling like the stars we are, I personally think once a month and 5 hours is too damn little to contain all this vibe. I was already high on so much and I doubt it was the mild Margarita I’d had. I was yet to have a taste of the main act, get to feel the sounds of the Kora.  I couldn’t wait for Sekou Kouyate . Until then, the Dj’s got me by the soles of my feet jamming to their jazzy house vibes.

Here’s a story of how I got to appreciate African music more, of how Guinean artist Sekou Kouyate got me so in love with what he did with the Electric Kora instrument. He started off with “Dela” which was the highlight of my day. He sang calmly and hit notes and notes with the Kora. His music is an elegant mix of funky jazz and West African music. His face was a perfect expression of the all feels that his songs brought to him and he transferred this to the crowd. Very powerful rapport! Music, indeed, is powerful.

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Sekou Kouyate on stage.
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Sekou Kouyate

Jazz Attitude 2.5 was a perfect mix of feels,

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Dance,

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Laughter, joy and friends,

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And of course,

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…..Smiles!

 See you there next time, Get your dancing shoes in order!

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