Safaricom has officially unveiled the 2016/2017 edition of the Safaricom International Jazz Festival, at a launch event held yesterday designed to showcase local talent.
Now entering its fourth year, the Festival will comprise of a series of events that will begin with monthly Safaricom Jazz nights in July 2016, leading to two Safaricom Jazz Lounge events in August and November 2016 respectively and culminating in a star-studded day-long event in February 2017.
Yesterday, Safaricom also unveiled the bands that will play alongside celebrated South African jazz phenomenon Hugh Masekela at the Safaricom Jazz Lounge slated for 12th August at Uhuru Gardens.
Opening for the two-time Grammy Nominee will be two of the most prolific bands on Kenya’s nascent jazz scene: Nairobi Horns Project and Mwai & The Truth.
“We believe in building local talent and as the Festival continues to grow, we expect that the two local acts as well as the children of Ghetto Classics will benefit from playing the stage alongside some of the best artists in the world,” Bob Collymore, CEO, Safaricom and Festival Founder.
The Nairobi Horns Project is a collective of eight instrumentalists comprising of The Horns (Mackinlay Mutsembi, saxophonist Rabai Mokua and trombonist Victor Kinama), and a five-piece supporting band.
“We are overwhelmed by the support from the organisers of the Safaricom International Jazz Festival, who have chosen to showcase and develop this art and in the process make our dreams – and those of the Ghetto Classics – come true,” said Mackinlay Musembi, a trumpeter with Nairobi Horns Project.
Sharing the stage with them will be Mwai & The Truth, an established five-member jazz outfit that has entertained jazz lovers all over the country for the last six years.
The two bands gave guests a sneak peak into what fans can expect come August, and will be joined on stage by Shamsi Music – who are scheduled to play at the Safaricom Jazz Lounge in November.
The Safaricom International Jazz Festival was launched in February 2014 to great acclaim by jazz lovers, and has quickly grown to become the biggest live music festival of its kind in East and Central Africa.
The theme of the 2016/2017 Festival is Music That Moves, a nod to the performances that get fans dancing while at the same time positively impacting the lives of over 650 youth each week through Ghetto Classics.
“We are grateful to have found such a strong partner in Safaricom, which has donated over Sh19 million to Ghetto Classics since 2014 and is truly pursuing its vision of transforming lives through music,” said Elizabeth Njoroge, Founder – Ghetto Classics.
Ghetto Classics is a not-for-profit programme that is using music to change the lives of musically gifted yet economically disadvantaged pre-teens and teens in Nairobi’s Korogocho, Mukuru kwa Reuben, Huruma and Dandora low income settlements. The programme plans to expand to Coast and Nyanza regions with the hope that more talented young Kenyans can have a better chance at a brighter future.