Roberto Fonseca, Fatoumata Diawara and Shamsi Music Enthrall Fans at Safaricom Jazz Lounge
Cuban pianist Roberto Fonseca, Malian musician Fatoumata Diawara and Kenyan jazz band Shamsi Music were live in Nairobi on Saturday November 5th at Uhuru Gardens for Safaricom Jazz Lounge, which is part of the series that culminates in the Safaricom International Jazz Festival.
Doors opened at 6.30pm and the concert started on time at 8pm. One of the things I have appreciated over the years is the excellent timekeeping by the Safaricom Jazz team. Kenyan jazz band, Shamsi Music, were the opening act and they got everyone warmed up with their energetic performance. I especially enjoyed their ‘Elephant Song’.
After a brief intermission, Roberto Fonseca got on stage with his band, Ramses “Dynamite” Rodriguez on drums, Yandy Martinez on bass and Adel Gozalez on percussion, and immediately impressed with his piano skills. I believe he’s the first pianist to headline Safaricom Jazz. It was a welcome change of pace and took me back to my piano days. Yes, I studied piano as a child but unfortunately, didn’t stay the course. Sometimes, I wonder if the direction of my life would have been different had I stuck with it. Roberto Fonseca clearly stuck with it as he has been performing for a solid 3 decades since his debut at the age of 15.
Fatoumata Diawara joined Fonseca on stage amid cheers from the audience, the loudest ones probably from me. I am huge fan of hers and was beside myself when I found out she would be part of the show. I actually found out about Fonseca through his collaboration with Fatoumata on their critically acclaimed album, ‘At Home (Live in Marciac)’. Fatoumata lit up the stage and I had to take a moment to simply soak it all in. She’s the total package: fantastic style, electric persona and amazing talent. She performed all my faves including Sowa, Bissa and Clandestin. The most powerful part was her speches between performances where she called on Africa to take care of its people and to unite for the benefit of all. It was lovely to see Fatoumata and Fonseca collaborate in the spirit of African togetherness as though they are from Mali and Cuba respectively, they share a similar heritage. Music has the ability to unite and they reminded us of that through their outstanding perfrormance.
As always, the security was on point and there was transport available from the parking at Carnivore to Uhuru Gardens. The set-up was brilliant and I was especially impressed by the artwork in the backgrounds. Sound was seamless and the screens worked well. There was also plenty of food and drinks at various stalls with the added convenience of waiters that took drink orders.
All the proceeds go to Ghetto classics, a community programme under The Art of Music Foundation that offers music education to over 650 children in Korogocho slums. Safaricom Jazz keeps growing from strength to strength and I cannot wait to see who will be on the festival circuit next year.http://www.mwendengao.com/2016/11/10/roberto-fonseca-fatoumata-diawara-and-shamsi-music-enthrall-fans-at-safaricom-jazz-lounge/EventsMusicFatoumata Diawara,Ghetto Classics,Kenya,Roberto Fonseca,Safaricom Jazz,Shamsi Music