Cameroonian jazz artist Manu Dibango will jet into the country in a few weeks time to lead Safaricom’s International Jazz Day celebrations in Nairobi on May 1.
The act will be Dibango’s maiden performance on the Safaricom Jazz stage, at a concert that will launch the 2017-2018 Safaricom International Jazz Festival calendar and advocate the role of jazz in uniting people across the globe.
The 84-year-old musician is famous for his Grammy Award-winning track Soul Makossa. The song topped the charts in 1973 and went on to be sampled by various musicians including Michael Jackson and Rihanna.
He boasts a catalog of more than 40 albums and many film soundtracks. Dibango has enjoyed a music career spanning several continents over five decades, during which he has associated acts with artists like Fania All-Stars, Fela Kuti, Herbie Hancock, Bill Laswell, Bernie Worrell, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, the late Grammy Award nominee – and Safaricom Jazz alum – Hugh Masekela and many more.
“It’s a privilege and a dream come true for us to host Manu Dibango as we kick off the events that will lead up to the 6th edition of the Safaricom International Jazz Festival next year. Not only is he well known and loved the world over, he brings to our stage an energy and fire that has been well stoked through a lifetime of passion for jazz and puts us in the same league as some of the biggest jazz festivals on the continent,” said Bob Collymore, Festival Founder and C.E.O. – Safaricom.
The musician will be joined by his band – the Soul Makossa Gang – and a sterling line-up of Kenyan jazz artists including Mwai & The Truth, Afrosync, Edward, Parseen & The Different Faces Band, James Gogo, Swahili Jazz Band, Chris Bittok and Eddie Grey.
Also set to perform are husband and wife duo Jacob & Kavutha Asiyo, Shamsi Music, Limericks, Mambo Tribe, Ghetto Classics and Nairobi Horns Project, who will be performing with Africa Plus from South Africa.
“This will be a celebration of local jazz talent and an opportunity for us to honor all the Kenyan bands that have been a part of the Safaricom International Jazz Festival on one stage. They have played a big role in making this event what it is today, so it’s only fitting that we celebrate them in this way,” said Mr. Collymore.
Safaricom has a rich history of supporting local music talent over the last 17 years, having invested hundreds of millions of shillings in the industry through concerts, sponsorships, collaborations and more recently, with the launch of its music streaming app SONGA By Safaricom.
Safaricom International Jazz Festival since its inception in 2014 has donated close to KES 40 million shillings in proceeds from the event to the Ghetto Classics music program. The funds have been used to expand the music program in low-income neighborhoods in Nairobi and Mombasa, teaching music skills to over 1400 young boys and girls with the aim of nurturing talent and providing them with an alternative source of recreation and income.