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Tuesday, October 13, 2015

I Got It From My Mama - Versatility with Vivo.

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My mum, Vickie, and I are like two peas in a pod. Similar in more than just our physical attributes. I never thought I would say this but I am JUST LIKE MY MUM. I even did a song about it 5 years ago. Growing up, I found myself in my mother’s closet one too many times. By the time I was 10 years old, we were pretty much wearing the same shoe size, and I was reaching into her accessories stash every so often. I know she quickly got tired of me reaching into her wardrobe, with or without her permission, to pick something to wear.

My mum, back in her college days, and my, two and a half years ago.

I then went to high school and gained a ton of weight, which to my dismay meant I could no longer fit into my mother’s clothes. Yep, that was a pretty weird time for me. It drastically affected my self esteem and I became very conservative in my dressing. Soon after high school though, I lost the weight and was quickly delving back into my mum’s closet. I remember her once calling me while I was at university, angrily asking me if I had taken a pair of trousers that she loved. I had. We’ve come a long way since then.

Nowadays, the tables have sort of turned, and whenever she visits my place, she will usually leave with a couple of clothing items from my wardrobe that she likes. I’ve also nicked a couple of pairs of shoes from her as well as a necklace here or there. The plus side is, it’s never difficult figuring out what to get my mum whenever I’m shopping while travelling, and vice versa.

I really did admire my mum’s sense of style from a pretty young age, and it’s only when I got older and started purchasing my own clothes that I realized how much her fashion sense influenced my current style choices. From clothes, to hairstyles, I see myself reliving many of her looks from her younger days. Very often we’ll meet and find ourselves dressed pretty similar, case in point a couple of weeks ago when we showed up to a shoot with Vivo in the same style of shoes and socks. 

Now, when the lovely folks at Vivo Active Wear got in touch a few weeks ago looking to collaborate on something, I instantly thought of my mum and I, and how we both look for comfort, simplicity and versatility when picking out clothes. These are qualities that I find Vivo truly embodies. Vivo is also the kind of store that my mum and I can go to and both walk out happy with our picks, some similar and others completely different. I quickly ran an idea by them and they were only too happy to oblige.

What followed was an immensely fun photo shoot with my mum. We played around with different looks, from casual, to official to elegant evening wear. It was such a treat to see my mum all dolled up by the wonderful and immensely talented make up artist, Wacuka Thimba, and to have Tatiana Karanja take our pictures. I can’t thank Wandia and Makena of Vivo enough for this lovely day.

My mum, happy that her grandchildren will someday be very well fed. :-D
Here, my mum and I both wore body con dresses in different colours. She opted to layer it with the cobalt blue top, while I wore mine on it's own.

And in this shot, my mum and I both wore the Vivo Multi-Way dress. The beauty of these gowns is that they can be worn in many different ways, over and over again. 

We ended up taking ton of pictures at the shoot, so make sure to check out my Instagram for more looks from that day. Thanks for stopping by!


100 Days Of African Music :: Day 15 - 21

Day 15.

“Wangeci” by Kenyan singer, Stan.

I have a special bias towards this song.

Wangeci is my middle name and every time I listen to this song, I imagine that it was especially written with me as Stan’s muse. Cheap thrills I tell you but the truth is, it always makes me smile.

Which is ironic because the Wangeci in this song is actually contemplating suicide, and Stan is trying to convince her not to give up on life, and that things will be better in the morning.

This song is a few years old. 6 to be exact, which makes it perfect for a #FlashBackFriday post. It remains one of my favourites by an artist who I believe was way ahead of his time. Stan was one of the original crop at the Penya Africa stable, including Sauti Sol and Dela, who were produced by Wawesh.

Although diminutive in stature, Stan is one hell of a big performer. He’s been MIA for the past couple of years but I hope that’s only because he’s working on new stuff.

Also, special mention to Jim Chuchu for directing the video to this song. It’s a nice little vignette with a little unexpected twist.

Day 16.

"Ni Wewe" by Kenyan singer, Gachago.

Gachago calls himself the loving king. He's got a lovely voice, the kind that makes me feel tender.

Today, is a pretty mellow day.

I'm exhausted, a little sad and wallowing in nostalgia. This song is making me feel some type of way. Not much to say except, enjoy. 

Day 17.

“Kitunguu” by Kenyan singer, Kalahi.

It usually takes a while for a song to grow on me. I don’t remember the last time I listened to a song and fell instantly in love with it. Even my favourite albums of all time took a few listens to grow on me. Not to say that because I don’t love it immediately I think it’s bad, it’s just that like lotion, I need repetitive stroking motions (listens, in this case), before it really sinks in. Lame analogy, I know, but it’ all I can give you right now. Bear with me.

Now, this song, on the other hand, has been playing in my head, resoundingly, since I first heard it on Friday. I had been eagerly waiting for it and I will say, it was well worth the wait. Her voice, the harmonies, the song itself, the premise….which I find hilarious.

Kalahi, in this song says that if you’re dating a guy that makes you cry, you’re dating a kitunguu. An onion. It's her very first release, produced by Polycarp Otieno of Sauti Sol.

I love it!

Day 18.

“I Wish” by Nigerian Singer, Waje. 

A few times in my life, at the tail end of certain relationships/situationships, I have been so utterly heartbroken that I have wished, for a moment, to become immune to feelings, and to live in a cloud of numbness for a while.

Waje, in this song, expresses this sentiment in the most perfect of ways. The song starts with a strong, funky baseline that usually lifts my mood immediately. I love how this song’s groove is the antithesis of what the message is. While she complains of her “achey, break heart”, which she wishes she didn’t have, and sings about preferring to have her inside filled with stone, the song just makes me dance and channels my inner strong and sexy beast.

Yes, I said sexy beast.

I think this is a great break up song, or feel good song, or stuck-in-traffic “caraoke” song, or sing-in-the-shower song. It’s brilliant. Also, Waje has a voice and a half on her. She sings so beautifully! Her voice is everything you need to feel good in whatever moment you are in. With some caramel to top it off.

Special birthday greetings to the lovely songstress! Happy Birthday Waje!

Day 19.

“Hollow” by Kenyan Artist, Jim Chuchu.

This week has been overwhelmingly busy. I’m writing this from a set, where I’m in the midst of the final week of shooting for a TV series. I wake up at 5:30 every morning, and today, we also have night scenes to shoot. It’s a wonderful time doing one of the things I absolutely love with some pretty amazing people.

It’s been pretty hectic trying to find a moment to sit down to write anything for this series, and the only reason I can right now is because it’s raining, and we can’t shoot till it stops.

If you follow my Snapchat (misskihoro) shenanigans, you’ll know I had a bit of a downer on Monday when my car radio died. Now, I’m all about “caraoke” so driving in silence is, erm, difficult. But, I remedied that with some portable speakers so all is well.

This song, “Hollow”, has been the first on my morning playlist as I drive to set. Jim’s layered harmonies, which are his signature style, swell with energy as the song progresses and have the same effect on me as a strong dose of espresso. And then there’s that moment the beat drops. Perfect if, like me, you are NOT a morning person. This song infuses me with good vibes. My skin actually tingles.

His lyrics are simple, and very blunt in their meaning. Jim speaks of being hollow inside, empty with nothing to hide, being new, free from the past, ready to make new mistakes, and being a different person from who he was before. He says that the one you knew, has gone away. It makes me think of rebirth, freedom, a new life. Something I am craving spiritually. This song really does give me life, literally and figuratively.

I have loved it for 2 and a half years, since Jim released his “Imaginary Chains” EP for a collective creativity project we were working on at the time. He released it under the pseudonym “Adeiyu”.

Jim is a former member of Just A Band, and is a creative genius of mega proportions. He is a visual artist, award winning filmmaker as well as co-founder and Creative Director at The Nest. I could go on all day about him, or you could check him out on jimchuchu.com. He is amazing, and is also releasing new music. YAY for humanity.

Day 20.

"Come To You" by Kenyan singer, KAZ.

Sometimes we need a little mischievous fun and naughty light heartedness in our lives, and this song gives me just that. I giggle every time I sing along to it. I love me some word play and this song is brimming with it!

In this jam, Kaz reminisces about the night before, singing about what transpired between her and a "friend". I'll leave it to you to listen to the song to get the gist of it.

This song has only just been released today but to be honest I heard it about a couple of years ago when Kaz mentioned that she had worked on something. The hook is so catchy that even with just that one listen, this song has been playing in my head ever since, and sometimes I find myself singing it and mashing it up with other songs.

Kaz has been holding on to this gem for a while now, waiting for the right time to share it and she couldn't have picked a better day. Her birthday!

Day 21.

“Winning In Life” by Kenyan music collective, Just A Band.

So, I really love these guys. I really do. Yaani, SO much. I have been such a fan girl for so long, since way back when Jim would be on stage with them, singing into a mic, regardless of his pretty severe stage fright, right through their evolution as a band, living together in Just A House 1 and 2, watching as new members joined, and one left, as they explored and excelled in their various solo creative spaces, and continued to create and perform more music.

Three albums later, with a highly anticipated fourth on the way, Just A Band continue to tickle mine and so many others' fancy with their unadulterated dopeness. They are just so cool. When they started out, they were rejected by mainstream media for being "ahead of their time", but they pretty much just shrugged their shoulders and said, "Ok cool", and kept on being dope. At least that's how I imagine it.

Aside from great records, they are also such enigmatic and energetic performers. Their shows, of which they have put up both locally and internationally are renowned for how much they spew good vibes. Shout out to Mbithi, Dan, Blinky, Joe, Cedar, Richie and their amazing manager, Akisa. They make a winning team.

So many of their songs have been absolute favourites of mine, and to be honest, when I started this I was going to feature another one (or 5) of their songs. I couldn't decide. But then they dropped this one two days ago and I can't stop it from playing in my head all damn day. Blinky's vocals are prominent, as usual, in this jam, with Joe Were chiming in with some pretty sweet harmonies in the chorus. Cue Owuor Arunga's horns and this song gets me into overdrive. LOVE!

So, yeah. I love this jam. It encapsulates every single thought I have had about Just A Band since they began. They are winning in life, and their music makes me feel that way too. 

You can also listen to the songs on Afrocentral, on HBR 103.5fm/hbr.co.ke every Sunday from 11am to 1pm EAT. This is my personal curation of African Musicians that I love and adore and I hope you get to discover one or two artists that you may have not known before this.

Make sure to keep up with the series daily on my InstagramTwitter and Facebook using the hashtag #100DaysOfAfricanMusic across all the platforms.


Saturday, October 10, 2015

100 Days Of African Music :: Day 8-14

Day 8.

"African Gypsy" by Ghanaian/Romanian artist, WANLOV THE KUBOLOR.

I was somewhat indisposed on this day. I had been on set in front of cameras for most of the day and I was so exhausted I could barely think. A huge party involving Neyo the previous night may also have been a part of this. ��

My friend Wanuri, who was kindly nursing me back to health, and also lives close to where I was shooting that day, kindly offered to step in. Enjoy her pick for the day. She has wonderful taste.


"Panyizzo is seriously hung over today. (Editors note, Patricia is tired from working hard). So, I’m taking over--- hehehe. Welcome to today—I have the pleasure (absolute, immense, overwhelming) pleasure of putting up my all time favourite half Ghanian musical spiritual husband, Wanlov the Kubolor. This dude is everything. The way he thinks, moves, wears skirts and walks barefoot. He was also my guide to Ghana when I went and now whenever I think of Ghana it is Wanlov stripped. Wanlov is also the co-star of one of my favourite modern African-born movies “Coz ov Money”.

“African Gypsy” is the epitome of Wanlov’s energy. This song makes me smile, shake my shoulders in a rather epileptic manner and even tap a foot all the while exclaiming, 'I love this guy!'

So if you are feeling frisky, getting tipsy, living brisky then this is the song for you. I thank the wonderful Phiona Okumu for introducing me to this man’s music (Hey Phi!!!). 

Ok, she’s awake-ish. Handing back the reigns. Thanks for entertaining my Thursday vibe.


Day 9.

“Mangulet” by Kenyan Singer, Andrew Wambua.

It’s Friday and I’m in the mood for a party, which if you know me, is not a very regular thing. It may have something to do with a midweek party that happened this week. I’m still lit.

This song is perfect if you’re in the mood for a good time tonight, or any other night. Or morning. Anytime really. It’ll give you a good vibe, regardless of whatever you might be going through.

Mangulet, is the name of a girl that Wambua is singing to in Kikamba. In English, the name is Margaret. :-D

There’s a couple of places in the song where the beat drops and my heart explodes.

Andrew teaches at the Sauti Academy in Nairobi, and judging by everyone who passes through there, he and the team are doing a great job.

Day 10.

"Pale Pale" by Kenyan artist, Trina Mungai.

This is a song about a serendipitous connection between two people. The girl doesn't know what to make of the chemistry any more, and is wondering if she should take the attraction a step further, and how to do it while keeping her cool.

This is the kind of song I would listen to if faced with the same dilemma. It's pulsating beats would definitely get me in the mood to throw caution to the wind and make the first move. Trina's voice is sultry enough to make me feel like a femme fatale, out on the town ready to stake a claim on my ultimate prize.

Trina is one of the lovely background vocalists on Coke Studio Africa, and an artist in her own right. She's gorgeous, and watching her perform on stage is a lovely treat as she is quirky, hilarious and hugely entertaining. And of course, massively talented.

The song was produced by the masterful Jaaz Odongo.

Day 11.

"Ginger Me Slowly", by Ugandan/Rwandese artist, Somi.

I spent the day with a bunch of friends slaving away at Karen Lucas's place today, helping her with some stuff around the house. And in return, she offered to do today's pick. She took her time, but that's only because she adores this artist.

Here you go.

"Somi, believe it or not, has a background in Anthropology graduating from the University of Illinois. She later went to the Tisch School of Arts for a Masters in Performance Arts, her true calling. 

I met Somi during my first trip to the US, 6 years ago. Though I have always loved and admired African Artists, those that have made headlines outside of the African continent have always made me tip my hat that much more. So my admiration for Somi was tenfold considering the headway she’d been making. 
Her master in jazz vocals shines through particularly in her hit single ‘Ingele’ and only gets better in the albums that followed. Names such as Hugh masekela, Angelique Kidjo and Common featured in Somi’s career more so after her big signing to Sony music in 2003.

An absolute African gem, the ever so talented songstress Somi continues to rise through the ranks. We wish her all the success with future endeavours and promise to keep a close eye on her exciting career. From her new album ‘The lagos Music salon’, I now present ‘Ginger me Slowly’.


Day 12.

“Helena” by Kenyan Band, Third Hand Music.

I am NOT a morning person, and the process of getting up and out of bed is an arduous one; it always has been since I was a child. Just ask my mum, who had to endure dressing me for school while I was still asleep. And now, it’s not very often I wake up with a slow, mellow song playing in my head. I usually want an energetic song to get my blood flowing and to exorcise the sleep spirits that think my head is a 24 hour motel. Today is especially difficult as I suddenly came down with something yesterday and can barely stand, let alone speak.

Today, however, this song has taken residence in my mind, and is playing so loud I can't hear my own thoughts. It’s written for a girl, Helena, by a gentleman who has the same, age old story. "I love you but I have nothing to give you except my love, and in this case, a song.” It’s emotive, but gentle, and slowly swells as it goes along. Starts with an acoustic guitar but as it progresses, certain elements make their way in. Strings, piano, then a gentle beat, some shakers, harmonies. It’s beautiful. It’s entirely in Swahili, with some wonderfully nostalgic words at the tail end, so make sure to listen to the whole song.

If you are enjoying today’s gloomy weather like I am, then this is perfect. If you aren’t, then this will warm you right up.

3HM are a band of three guys, Ken- Albert Orwa, Collins Collo Kemboi and Ikole Mwikamba Chara, based in Nairobi and describing their music as alternative.

Day 13.

“Go Go Girl” by South African singer, Ayanda Jiya.

No, this is not a song about gogo dancing.

This is an ode to self discovery and renewal. It celebrates and cheers on a young woman, letting her know that the negativity that she carries from all the hurt and pain from her past just needs to be let go.

It’s about a woman who has gone through life and it’s trials only to come out of the other side with a renewed sense of self, acknowledging that she/you deserve the happiness that you seek. The self discovery that she went through illuminated the fact that the beliefs she had before were misguided, and that she is not alone.

Ayanda reiterates that you just need to get your happy on. You deserve to dance all night long because you are worth so much more than you believe of yourself.

Day 14.

“Never Let Me Go” by DRC born artist, Tresor.

My boss sent me this song about a couple of months ago, and it was a couple of days before I actually listened to it, but when I did, I wished I had done so sooner. It’s such a feel good track. An honest declaration of feelings from one person to another. The song is simple in it’s lyrics, and melody, and the instrumentation on it gives it something really special. It’s the kind of song I listen to while I’m in the shower and dance to as though I’m at a festival. Perfect for that morning kick.

If it does sound vaguely familiar, as if you’ve heard a similar sound by someone different, then you are probably picking out elements of the band Beatenburg. Often when I’m singing along to this, I find myself drifting into the band’s “Remember You (Pluto)” track. I found out that this particular song was co-written by Beatenburg’s lead singer, Matthew Field.

Tresor was born in the DRC and is currently based in South Africa.

You can also listen to the songs on Afrocentral, on HBR 103.5fm/hbr.co.ke every Sunday from 11am to 1pm EAT. This is my personal curation of African Musicians that I love and adore and I hope you get to discover one or two artists that you may have not known before this.

Make sure to keep up with the series daily on my Instagram, Twitter and Facebook using the hashtag #100DaysOfAfricanMusic across all the platforms.


Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Developing Tiny New Habits.

I find it absolutely difficult to create new habits. Actually, let me rephrase that. I find it hard to cultivate habits that are good for me. It’s always a heavy struggle trying to incorporate things such as regularly working out, eating healthier, drinking more water and watching less reality TV. It’s almost as if our brains sabotage our efforts every time we try to consciously change our lives for the better. There’s a saying I came across the other day, “It’s funny how hard it is to drink eight glasses of water a day, but I can drink eight glasses of wine in one sitting!” A tad exaggerated, but you get the gist.

Now, when it comes to saving money, I feel the same way. (Although I have cultivated a habit of not spending beyond my means). I have always been able to prioritize my bills and necessities, so for instance, I would never take money that was meant for the rent and use it for something else. If anything, when I’m in a tight spot, it’s probably because I made sure that the bills are paid first, and was left with nothing. I will then work towards finding a gig or something to keep me afloat. I now, however, feel that it’s about time I took that to the next level: To save with goals in mind.

Now, it’s said that it takes 21 days to make something into a habit. And I guess the premise is to do something consistently for long enough, that your brain breaks past the subconscious barrier that may be in your way. I guess it’s like building mental stamina. These are some of the things I have began incorporating as I try develop new habits.

1. Writing down my goals.

Mbarikiwa, in response to my previous post, said “It’s good to have financial goals as you have mentioned, but one also needs to write them and review regularly. What gets written gets done - that’s what I believe.”

This is true. If it works for daily tasks that I need to accomplish, then I’m pretty sure it’ll work just as well for any short or long-term goals I set.

2. Consciously saving a particular amount every month without fail.

I have set an amount that I shall be putting away every month, regardless of the circumstances. It takes discipline, but I’m looking at it as though it’s a bill I’m paying. I need to pay my rent to have a place to live, and to pay my power bills to have electricity. So it’s only logical that I need to save, to achieve my financial goals, yes?

3. Saving extra money instead of “treating” myself.

You know those moments when you have some extra money, or a cheque for a gig you did a year ago finally comes through? (Very common in the entertainment world.) The first thing that usually crosses my mind is, “Yay, extra money to spend!”

So from now on, that’s changing. Extra money means more savings. Who needs an extra pair of shoes when I can get closer to the goal of owning a house? In this case, it’s the discipline to make that choice that counts. Do you also struggle with discipline?


It’s important to have someone who has knowledge or experience in finance and life skills to help on this journey. Truth be told, sometimes it can get overwhelming, and we probably don’t have all the information we need when it comes to financial options. There are so many options available to us when it comes to money and it helps to have someone who can help us navigate the vast world of finances.

What do you think I can add to this? And what are you doing to make sure saving and growing your wealth becomes a tangible priority?

Follow the Barclays Savings Challenge and discussion on Twitter and Facebook. Share your own experience by using the hashtag #AfricaSaves. Visit the Barclays website for more information about their savings account.

Connect with Barclays Africa: Facebook | Twitter | Website

Friday, August 28, 2015

Overcoming The Hurdles.

It’s amazing how despite our varied backgrounds, histories, situations and locations, we all seem to have the same desire for financial security and stability. And yet, we seem to face the same challenges when trying to achieve that. Yes, we would like to save, but at the same time, we would like to invest that savings into something that can grow our wealth. Following all the responses garnered from my post, “Changing My Mindset About Saving”, it seems the common threads are: finding the impetus to save in the first place, staying disciplined and finding an investment with low risk and high returns.

From all the feedback I received, these three are the most prevalent challenges or misconceptions when it comes to saving.

1. Not everyone can save.

Quite a number of people said they’d love to save, but unfortunately don’t have enough to do so, especially in situations where they can barely make ends meet. How do you even begin to save when you barely have enough to cater to your most basic needs? How do you make saving a priority, when your basic day-to-day requirements leave you with nothing extra to put away? I am of the opinion that no amount is too small to put away. Start small. Step by step. Find an amount you're comfortable enough to put away every week. That's step one. Cultivate that discipline and see how far you'll grow. Even if it’s 20, 100 or 500 shillings a day. Start.

2.Why save? I work hard so that I can spend. 

You put some money away, and you feel great about being responsible with your money, but then a friend calls you up with a great plan to go away for the weekend. You’ve paid all your bills, and you have money in the bank. Why deny yourself a great time? This is why you work hard in the first place, right? You’ve been so good about money lately anyway. You deserve a treat. You deserve to spend the money. Case closed.

Verna Venoury put it very succinctly on Facebook. “Saving and withdrawing, I believe I should not lack if I have cash lying somewhere.” Faize Njiru added, “I guess I believe in not making myself suffer when I got cash in the bank.”

The discipline to not spend the savings is lacking with a lot of people but some have figured out how to overcome this. By making the money inaccessible. Fabian Mwoshi said he was able to overcome this by enrolling for a saving scheme. He said, “What I intend to save gets deducted before I earn it and is remitted directly into a saving scheme.”

I believe setting goals is very important. Establish what is it you are trying to achieve – a trip, new gadget or to own a home – for the long term and for the short term. Whatever it is, set goals and assign timelines. These will help you keep to your priorities.

3. Saving doesn’t count. Invest. 

There was lots of talk about investment and growing wealth, rather than stashing money away where it does nothing. Many were of the opinion that saving money does little to build your wealth into something significant, and the best thing to do is to invest your money and establish a wide portfolio of investments so as to keep your money out of reach, and also to make it work for you.

Christine Karimi‪ chimed in with this analogy. “Let me begin by saying that money is like manure when you spread it around it helps things to grow, when you stack it all up it begins to stink. In other words money is meant to flow, so let it flow.”

I believe this is true. But saving is a good start – even if it means saving a certain amount for six months to raise enough to invest in something worthwhile. I believe this will help with building the discipline to stick to plans and to keep goals in mind. It’s a good start to a great habit.

Do these three challenges/ misconceptions ring true for you? What’s your take on them and what do you think I may have missed out on?


This article is the second in a series of sponsored posts for the Barclays Savings Challenge. You can follow the discussion on Twitter and Facebook and share your own experience by using the hashtag #AfricaSaves. Visit the Barclays website for more information about their savings account.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

100 Days Of African Music :: Day 1-7.

Day 1.
"Mirabelle" by Kenyan artist, Don Ngatia.

He is a Kenyan singer, a Berkeley Alumni and all round cool cat. First time I heard him perform in front of a crowd was at an open mic gig at some random venue near Yaya, maybe ten years ago. He sang Maxwell's 'This Woman's Work' and it was a bit of a struggle for him, I think mainly because of the nerves but he hit those high notes and I was blown away. 

I bumped into him later at USIU, with a Mohawk, exuding über coolness, I may have had a crush on him and he was always so polite. Next I heard he was off to Berkeley and it seemed a perfect fit. Every once in a while I would bump into him and say a quick hello when he was back in Kenya. 

A couple of years went by then one day a friend of mine, Wanuri, shared a link to this guy's music on Soundcloud.

Day 2.
‘Lies I Told Me’ by Kenyan artist, Prisca Ojwang'.

You wouldn’t know it by looking at her that she’s a singer, and a brilliant one at that. You know, there’s a sort of 'look' or aura that artists are “supposed" to have which should immediately let you know that the person in front of you is a creative. Some have it, most don’t.

It doesn’t matter though, because it definitely isn’t a measure of how amazing an artist is. She's a Sauti Academy alumni, a place that consistently churns out great musicians.
Prisca is the kind of person who begins to sing and you do a double take because you did not see it coming. The gentle brilliance that her voice carries sort of just finds it’s way to that soft spot you didn’t even know you were guarding so fiercely. 

Her lyrics, which she writes herself are also gentle in their honesty. I’m almost jealous of how simple she makes songwriting seem.
This song brings to mind instances of unrequited love and heartbreak, shifting the blame from the lover who didn’t want me, to myself, and acknowledging that maybe I just didn’t get it when whoever I wanted so bad just did not want me back. Selective amnesia, she calls it. I just laugh at myself whenever I listen to the song as it speaks to the small piece of crazy within. Maybe you will too when you listen to it.

Day 3.
"Mombasa Blues”, by South African artist, Mishumo Madima.

If you are or have been in Nairobi lately, you’ll know how absolutely cold and dreary it’s been. Folks have been complaining about the great freeze, which reached it’s peak a couple of weeks ago when there was a freak hail storm. I, however, happen to love it when the weather is grey and dull. This is my favourite time of year. (read, cuddle season.) 

But every once in a while over the past couple of weeks, the sun has decided to make a surprise appearance, and posts about how marvellous the sun feels on the skin have popped up here and there on my social media timelines. All that has done is make me crave the ocean, because I only truly ever enjoy the sun when the sea is lapping at my feet. 

This song speaks of how this girl from South Africa moved to Kenya looking for a fresh new start, only to find that and so much more. Healing by the shores of the Indian Ocean in Mombasa. 

Mishumo is affectionately know as "The Melodic Diplomat" from South Africa, and currently lives and works in Nairobi as just that. 
A singing, songwriting diplomat.

Day 4.
"Take My Hand" by Kenyan artist, Suzziah.

Most people don’t think of Sundays as long work days. Most people are either getting their relaxation mode in high gear, prepping for the week ahead, spending time with family or recovering from weekend debauchery. Whatever it is, it usually doesn't involve work. (For the majority, that is. If you work in the service, creative or entertainment industry then scratch everything I just said.)

I on the other hand, just got home from work and I’m exhausted. I was up till 3am last night prepping for my morning radio show, and coupled with the excitement from a massively successful work event last night, I didn’t get much sleep. Add to that an interview for a TV show that went on for a few hours, and I’m running on empty.

This song however, makes me dance, and is actually what got me to drag my behind out of the car, where I had been for about half an hour trying to figure out where to get the energy to tackle the stairs. It feels like a shot of energy that hits the spot right when you need it. The beat is infectious and Suzziah’s voice carries me to a happy place.

My cousin, Nathan, sent me this song on Whatsapp earlier this week, asking me what I thought about about it. I listened to it and 20 seconds in I was sold. I asked him to get me in touch with the artist, who it turns out is his friend’s cousin, and a couple of days later she got in touch. She’s only 18 years old, about to get into her 2nd term at Sauti Academy and is also about to join University to study Psychology.
If this is what she’s putting out at 18, I can’t wait to hear more from her!

Day 5.
“Love Song” by Nigerian artist, Timi Dakolo.

Anyone who knows me knows how much of a sucker for love I am. I’m that person who believes love resides in every situation, and can be found nestling between two of the most random strangers. I live my life rooting for love, fiercely fighting for it to always win.
This song is about a man begging his love to to come back to him and to declare their love for him. There’s no doubt when you listen to this song that this man really is at the end of his tether, and is fixated on having the love of his life return to him. I’m currently single but whenever I listen to this I forget that I'm happy, and begin longing for a lover that I don’t have.
Timi’s voice is laden with emotion, and I’m pretty sure even when he speaks about the mundane, he may just unwittingly tug at your heartstrings. The raspiness of his voice gives it a raw quality that convinces you, without a doubt, that his heart is shattered. I’m pretty sure he can put you in a state of melancholy, even if he sang about stew.
Timi Dakolo was the winner of the first ever Idols West Africa in 2007, beating vocal powerhouse, Omawumi at the finals. He is signed to Sony BMG and has two albums under his belt.

"Aparo" by Kenyan artists, Kato Change ft Lisa Noah.

I have never figured out why, but I have a particularly strong affinity to Luo music. I don't know what it is about the language but I get a little hot under the collar when I listen to it being spoken and even more so when it's in song.

Kato is a self taught genius on the guitar who disturbed my peace from the moment I met him and heard him play almost a decade ago.

I once read a poem by John Keats called "The Eve Of St. Agnes". It says that when a maiden does a couple of things before retiring to bed on the night of the 20th of January, she will dream about her future husband. On that date in 2006, I dreamt about a man called Kato. He was tall, handsome and kind, and the dream was about our wedding day. I had freaked out about something and was having a meltdown but he was charming, patient and self assured and we went on to have a lovely day. Just a dream.
A few months later, I met the real life Kato on the set of a TV show playing the guitar for Maia Von Lekow. He was the first guitarist whose playing I noticed was not only an accompaniment to vocals, but an amazing complement to a singer's voice. Him and Maia were a match made in heaven.

I started calling him "my husband" just for fun, even though he's not particularly tall, like the Kato from my dream. But he was and still is as charming, and self assured.
Nothing happened between us, but I continue to be a starstruck fan, and I may still harbour a little crush. He has gone on to become such an accomplished, sought after musician, creating such beautiful, sounds with his guitar.

As for Lisa. Well, she sings and the earth slows down on its axis to marvel. The air becomes a little lighter, and colours become brighter. Spirits are lifted, egos assuaged, hearts become full and pain, a distant memory. Everyone in her audience feels a sense of calm excitement and wonder, and for a moment, I'd like to imagine, the world is a perfect place.

She is currently at The Berkeley School of Music.
I'm glad I live in a time where these two exist.

Day 7.
“My Love, My Love” by Nigerian/German Singer, Nneka.

Another love song. Nneka, from the very start of her career established herself as a politically conscious artist, and emotively sang about social issues and a quest for justice. I remember she once said something to the effect that if there wasn’t any injustice to sing out against, then she wouldn’t sing. She's been a African voice over the years and has worked with powerhouses from across the globe. She is know best for her song, "Heartbeat."

Watching her sing live can be emotionally challenging. She once performed in Nairobi and what I had expected to be a fun night of light hearted partying turned into an evening of angst and self introspection. She was raw, and real and I think she may have been having a rough day. At some point she was crying on stage, if I remember correctly. And I cried with her.

This song is an unexpected release from her from her most recent album, "My Fairy Tales.". Even the video is a visceral show of openness and vulnerability (at some point she’s on the toilet). She’s in love, and she’s letting the world know.
She seems softer, lighter.

Make sure to keep up with the series daily on my Instagram, Twitter and Facebook using the hashtag #100DaysOfAfricanMusic across all the platforms.



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