Monday, January 22, 2007

Friday Night in Nairobi - WSF 2007 Cultural Events!

Friday night was my first taste of Nairobi’s night life, venturing outside of the radius of my safe Y. At 7:15pm, Veronique, Hoodo and I jumped into a cab for 200 ksh and cruised over to the Alliance Francaise, between Utalii and Monrovia Street near Loita. It felt like you had to manoveur into a little side street to get there and in front were loads of guests gathered at the front. It is a nice window-laden buildling and inside you find a small gallery of local sculptures (wood and metal) and some paintings by African artists. On the second floor, one will find a fairly extensive bibliotheque (library) and a display of World Press photography from around Africa. We walked back down to enter the area of the concert stage to see Eric Wainaina, Kenyan musician, now there for his CD release. The stage was set up in the AF’s garden with the steps now made as sitting area. We found a place on the ground near the stage. Eric seems to have formed quite the following with Kenyans singing to his lyrics and getting the crowd into the physical actions to the song, “Sawa sawa” from his first album. Various musicians would also join Eric on stage such as the German ambassador on piano and a the wonderful sounds of Sarah. Not only stunning voice and white dress to dazzle the all-embracing crowd. Just as Eric’s band took over for a few more upbeat sounds, the rain started to pour and those not under the coverage were dancing and smiling in the rain. It did not seem to damper their spirits at all; in fact, it may be re-energizing for many looking for some dancing room. The packed crowd, stoked atmosphere, and well-staged concert gives Eric and Alliance Francaise a wonderful build blocks to the future for culture and the arts in the Nairobi scene.

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