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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Spending my savings – the smart way.

So, five months in and I’m excited to say that I’m feeling really good about this savings challenge. The last two months were riddled with bad vibes, but they were not enough to deter me. I’m still saving, despite the bad luck. Maybe even more so because of it. And, I’ve been doing lots of research on how to make the money I’m saving work for me.

There’s something powerful about taking control of something that previously had power over you. Before, it feels as though I had an almost Love/Hate relationship with money. Money has always been good to have, and it’s been important for bills and responsibilities and such. But even after paying these off, I don’t think I have ever in my life felt financially secure, no matter how much money I had in my account. (Kind of like that feeling of never being completely happy with how you look, regardless of how much exercise you do or healthy food you eat.) And one of the ways this has adversely affected me is that I usually feel a sense of guilt whenever I spend money on myself for a treat. But that’s the thing. I feel as though spending money on things that are not bills or essentials, are somewhat, unnecessary treats.

But now, with all the options in the market, I feel confident about my financial future. I’m not quite there yet, (Okay I’m kinda far from where I want to be), but I’m confident that I’m on the right path. I also feel as though I can finally fully enjoy those instances when I treat myself, without feeling bad about it.

These are some of the ways I’m going to spend the money I’ve saved and anticipate on saving in the future.

On myself.
Now, let me clarify. I don’t mean to spend it all on myself. This is what I mean. I am an entertainer, and I feel it’s about time I stop waiting for gigs or shows to find me. I can create them myself. Two years ago, I staged my first solo stage show, “Life in the Single Lane” and it was wildly successful. I ended up doing it six times over the course of six months and it sold out every single time. That experience showed me that I am great at creating entertaining content, and all I need to do is believe in myself enough, and invest in my creative capabilities to do even bigger and better shows. This means registering a company, investing in the basics when it comes to equipment and hiring a couple of people to help me create this empire that I envision. Right now, I’m doing everything by myself and this can be detrimental.

One of my ideas is to invest money into this asset. Whether it's land to be developed for resale or, land for farming or even buying an apartment, if the options are right and fit my budget, I’m going in.

Investment portfolio.
There are a lot of financial advisors who can help to demystify the world of the finance. I believe this is one of the ways I can diversify my financial capabilities.

30th Birthday.
I’m turning 30 in about a month and a half and I have never thrown myself a birthday party or really done something special for myself on my birthday. So, I am going to throw a party. Yep. I said it. This will be my one splurge and I can’t wait to do it.

Life Insurance.
This is a great way to help protect my loved ones from any financial worries they could face if I passed on. High medical bills and funeral costs can be financially debilitating for families when a loved one is diagnosed with a terminal illness or passes on. Life Insurance is one way to alleviate this crippling cost and even an opportunity to leave my family with something substantial after I’m gone. At the moment, I have no dependents, but my close family consists of my parents and two younger brothers. Hopefully, I have many more years to live but if not, I would want to make sure my family have a soft landing.

Have you been participating in the #AfricaSaves challenge? How do you plan on spending your savings?


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.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Curl Talk - Let's talk Natural Hair!

So there's something fantastic happening in Nairobi this weekend that I am so excited about that I can't wait to attend. Have you heard of Felicia Leatherwood? I hadn't really until a few weeks ago when I saw her name doing the rounds on some Natural hair groups on Facebook. Turns out she is a celebrated natural hair stylist from LA, California, known to many as "The Hair Whisperer" and is a miracle worker when it comes to hair. She has styled the hair of personalities such as Viola Davis, Jill Scott, Nicole Ari Parker, Teyonah Paris, Ava DuVernay as well as men such as Will Smith, Terrence Howard and Hill Harper to name a few, for red carpet and magazine cover looks. Her work has appeared in Essence, InStyle, People Magazines, as well as television and film.

Now before I get into the event details, which I'll be emceeing as well as participating in as a panel member, I 'd like to give you a little back story to my natural hair journey and why I'm excited about this weekend. Funny enough, it's not as serious or deliberate as many would think. It feels as though everything that has happened with my hair over they years has just been in the realm of "Oh, okay cool."

I did my first “Big Chop” when I was 9 years old. It wasn’t because I had relaxed hair that I wanted to get rid of but more because I saw a caucasian character on a TV show with a nice tapered pixie cut, and thought all I had to do was tell Jasper the barber that I wanted a “box" and all would be good. Suffice it to say I cried myself to sleep that night because I could not believe what had just happened. All my hair was gone. Before the cut I had long, natural hair that cascaded down my back and now I looked like a boy. Even my mum was shocked, albeit a little amused.

But, I quickly got over it, as kids usually do and soon enough, as my hair began to grow out, the hair relaxer ads started to flood our screens. Cue “Style and Bounce”, ( I loved that song), “Satin Sheen” and “Dark and Lovely”. I begged my mum to let me relax my hair since everyone around me was doing it, and I really wanted my hair to look straight and silky when I went swimming, you know, like the white folk. Of course, there was also the notion that caucasian like hair and skin was better so I did everything I could to try be like that, including sitting in the sun with soap on my face, and putting all my mum's hair products in my hair. Sorry mum! (I once almost put Veet on my scalp.) Eventually, 6 months after the big chop, my mum relented and got my aunt to relax my hair at her house. In my mind, my hair was going to be as long and straight as Mariah Carey’s in about 2 years and I was so ready for it! (I wanted to be Mariah so bad, in every way, singing and looks included.)

My hair care regimen was simple. Swim (which I did pretty much every minute of every day), dry my hair under the ladies room hand dryer, slather on Vaseline and go. I would retouch my hair at home when needed using “Beautiful Beginnings”. In fact, the girl on the box was my hair idol. In a huge way. I wonder what her name is and where she is now.

Obviously, my hair didn’t really grow as I expected it to and it just remained in this weird length all through out high school. Also, yo, have I come a long way or what?

Fast forward to a couple of years after high school, some time in 2004, I was in the bathroom, trying to figure out how to style my hair for a party. I got frustrated, asked my mum to cut off my hair and she refused. I then just did it myself. My first Big Chop. Just like that. That was my look as I joined University, weight loss included.

Now, the thing with me is that if I wake up and I feel I want to do something different with my hair, I go ahead and do it. So of course my Uni days were tempered with lot's of different hairstyles. I would do my own braids, regular tiny ones as well as yarn braids, cornrows, texturizers, colour, relaxers again, even weaves during Project Fame. Everything that came to mind, I did. It wasn't too healthy for my hair but to be honest that wasn't my biggest concern.

This continued up until early 2010, a few months after Project Fame, when I then decided to chop off my hair again after a nasty debacle with tangled braids and beach sand. Same thing; my bathroom, a pair of scissors and my gut.

February 2010 

At about this time I met the lovely ladies of Kurly Kichana who introduced me to the world of healthy, natural hair. I then decided to finally, intentionally care for my hair, and remain natural for the rest of my life. I decided I wanted a Big Ass Afro and that was it. The new, healthy hair journey commenced! I was all on my way to a BAA. Length chasing, as many call it. 

I was really enjoying this time with my hair, but then I got cast in a 3 month long tour that would have me singing and dancing on stage, 6 nights a week in Europe in the middle of the winter. Now, I loved my fro but caring for it during that time would be a huge hassle. So I made the decision to shave off the sides, (because sleeping with a fro usually results in one flat side, so annoying). As much as I still wanted to have my hair as long as possible, it really didn't make sense at the time. I figured this worked best, and my hair would be okay as I would be able to wash and go every day and have it hassle free. That is how the tapered cut came to life for me in August 2012.

Since then, well, I've had some fun with different styles including braids of all sizes, a very short shave, I even relaxed it again, installed DIY crotchet braids, made a crochet wig (which my friend has since claimed), and I know I'll keep trying new things as I go along. The point for me is to be comfortable with your hair, in whatever way you choose to wear it. It's not about saying one way is bad, or another way is better, but finding a balance and loving yourself as you are, naturally curly haired or not.

DIY Crotchet braids earlier this year.

A DIY crotchet wig I made about 3 months ago with Marley braids.
Let me just take this moment to should out my mum, who happens to be my hair crush, locks and all. Most of what I've done with my hair she did when she was younger, from the fro to the tapered cuts and even the almost bald look with intricate designs on the back. She did my hair a lot when I was younger, from braiding it, cornrows, relaxing it...she pretty much passed on that DIY attitude to me.

I always find myself returning to the tapered cut as it's the most convenient. I play around with different designs at the back, like my mum used to do when I was younger. This is something that my barber, Mogaks (0722 102 848), is always happy to experiment with. I only settled with him this year after years of going round to different random barbers with pictures of what I want. It seemed to work well enough for me then, but now I'm really happy I found him. He's based in Hurlingham so if you do go to him, tell him I referred you to him :-) He's the sweetest.

This is Porgie, a good friend, not boyfriend, or lover or fiancé or husband! Lol!

I also feel that with my lifestyle, I was able to let go of the length chasing notion which many do carry when we first go natural. Now, there's nothing wrong with wanting length, I support anyone who is on that path but for me, I've found I can get that length by getting a natural hair weave. The folks at Amadiva Beauty are right on the money with this and I can't wait to try it out. Have you seen what they did with Sharon? She doesn't wear her hair natural, but after following her snapsand hearing what she had to say about this hair do, I can't wait to hear what she says about possibly transitioning in the future. I feel that this kid of weave can also let you, if you aren't natural yet, gauge for yourself if it's something worth trying. Check out her blog post to check out how amazing she looks.

These are all weaves, guys. I would love to try out the one on the bottom right.

There's so many different Big Ass Afros you can explore with Amadiva, as seen in the image above, even just to get to experience what it would be like when your hair finally gets there. You feel me?

Now, back to this weekend. The lovely folks at Naturals In Nairobi which was started by the gorgeous, and super sweet Ayanna James, have brought Felicia to Nairobi for an intimate talk on all things natural hair care. If you wear your hair natural, are thinking about going natural, have locks, have a short crop, a huge fro, have relaxed hair, you will definitely benefit from this. Simply put, everyone is welcome.

Ayanna James, Sharon Mundia and Felicia Leatherwood earlier today.

Felicia, aside form being a hair stylist, is an inspirational beauty speaker who has helped thousands of women all over the world to understand and love their natural hair no matter what state its in. I also feel that this is an important weekend, as we shall be able to speak about issues that go beyond hair. Topics such as self acceptance and self love, because yes, the issue of how we choose to wear our hair is sometimes nuanced by so many things that go very deep.

She will be conducting two hair care workshops tomorrow the 14th at The Sankara Hotel and on Sunday the 15th November at The Dusit Hotel. She will also host a more technical masterclass on the 17th November at Amadiva Beauty located at 14 Riverside. There will be panel discussions of which I shall be a panel member.

I shall be the emcee of the event as well.

Join other naturalistas for an intimate talk with Felicia where she will share expert advice on everything from transitioning to natural, determining your hair type, which product ingredients to look for and to avoid, and all other basics of natural hair care while answering all of your burning questions.

Tickets are available on Ticketsasa at the following prices. http://bit.ly/1LMmRYK (Early bird tickets are over.)
2,500/- for general seating.
3,000/- for VIP seating. (Front row seats plus up close and personal chat with Felicia before event starts.)
3,000/- At the door for general seating.

The ticket price includes food and refreshments as well as gift bags with amazing Beautiful Textures and African Pride products. (Extra goodies for VIP ticket holders.) You also get to check out some amazing products by local vendors who will be present such as Keyara, Zanzi Naturals, Ajani Handmade, Marini Naturals and more. And finally, you get to have a great time mingling and meeting with other amazing women like yourself who will be in attendance!

Time: 1-5pm
Program:1-1:30 Greetings and Introduction
1:30-2:30 Panel Discussion with Felicia (Q & A)
2:30-4:30 Felicia expert advice presentation (Q & A)
4:30-5:00 Wrap up. There will be some great vendors on site so be sure to visit them.

The dress code is Kitenge/Ankara. (Photographers will be present to capture all the beautiful natural crowns in attendance so look fab!)


I hope to see you there!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Showcasing Results.

Obstacles will not stop my savings. Somebody say AMEN!

The last couple of months have been interesting. Remember when I said it’s as though the universe conspires to stop you from cultivating good habits? Well, don’t I have a story to tell you… It really does seem as though that’s been the case – on overdrive.

So, one of the things I had committed to doing in order to save some coins was to cycle more. I bought a bicycle just over a year ago to take my fitness up a notch, but, more often than not, I found an excuse not to use it. But this year, in keeping with the Barclays savings challenge, I figured I could cycle more and save money on fuel, as well as keep fit without having to join a gym or practice Bikram yoga, which I was doing for a few months earlier this year, but found to be quite costly.

Well, my bicycle got stolen. Just as I was getting into the habit of cycling more, someone helped themselves to it. And then, as if that was not enough, a few weeks later, my cell phone got pick pocketed from my purse at a music festival that I was working at. Like they say, when it rains, it pours.

What I should have done.

Despite all that, I have managed to keep my balance, and still continue on my savings journey. As much as I did have to dip into my savings to replace what was stolen, I have not fallen off the savings wagon. One of the reasons for this is the habit of writing down my goals. I would say this has been the most effective habit so far. Knowing what it is that I am working towards and breaking down the steps with which to get there has been an eye opener. That way, even though unexpected eventualities have occurred, I didn’t just throw in the towel. If anything, I was able to handle the thefts quite well and this is because I didn’t lose sight of what it is I want for the future. My goal is not to have material things, but to benefit mentally and emotionally from the satisfaction of having the security of being able to provide for myself the home and sustenance that I desire.

I definitely shall be continuing with this savings journey, regardless, as I am learning that I am way more capable of being disciplined than I had given myself credit for. I am still putting aside money every month, without fail, even though I do sometimes have to fight the urge to “gift” myself when I feel as though I have worked particularly hard or I feel I deserve a break. This is another habit that actually makes me feel more empowered to continue. Every time I put some money away, I pat myself on the back and look forward to the next deposit.

I am excited to finally discover some investment options and develop an investment portfolio with my savings so that I can grow my little nest egg, which in turn will go towards my goal of fully owning my own home within the next five years. In the mean time, I have found some wonderful savings account options at Barclays, which have really encouraged my savings habits. I think I can finally say I feel somewhat in control of my financial future.

Thanks for reading!


Follow the Barclays Savings Challenge and discussion on Twitter and Facebook. Share your own experience by using the hashtag #AfricaSaves. For more information about Barclays savings account CLICK HERE

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.



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