Rhythm & Spoken October 10th

Good Music, poetry and some cake…

Last months Rhythm & Spoken was on Moi day but we still got a great turnout. And a cool show with poets Mike Kwambo, Barabara,Obaladan, Njeri,Sol, Cheboi, and Kule among other gracing the stage. Featured singer Della aka Adel did a great job with her soon to be hit Nairobi.

Della Belts it out

Della Belts it out

We also got perfomances from upcoming afrosoul singer Stan and past featured bands Elani and Aziza. Her are some pictures from those events. The neo-soul selection was ofcourse on point. One of Elani’s vocalists had a surprise arranged for her by her sister who presented her with her birthday cake after her perfomance.

Barabara the french swahili poet

Barabara the French/Fans of R&S

Fans at the event

Fans of R&S

Fans of R&S

Mike Kwambo does his thing.

Mike Kwambo

Mike Kwambo

The one and only Njeri Wangari performs crowd favourite-"hiphop consumes me like strawberry blues" “Hip hop consumes me like strawberry blues”

And the after party… ok some of it

 party over here

party over here


Featured Poet- Sandra Mushi

Sandra Mushi
Writer/Poet/Interior design architect
“By the way I don’t see myself as a poet. I see myself more as a writer, no, more like a creative person. If I am a poet, then I see myself as more of a neo-soul poet.”
Sandra Mushi

Sandra Mushi

What were you doing five minutes ago?

Hmmm … designing, replying e-mails and reading – all at the same time. I’m quite impatient, you see, and can be quite restless – I always have to be busy.

Interior design architecture and poetry, is there a connection?

Yup, they are both arts. You have to have that creative niche to be able to do either.
What can I expect when I pick up Rhythm Of My Rhyme? What’s unique about it?

Someone who has already read it said and I quote “I am sure it will receive acclaim from those it speaks volumes to and create sufficient amount of discomfort to those it is meant to unsettle.” She couldn’t have said it better.

Do you have a favourite poem in Rhythm Of My Rhyme?

I think I have two – I Am Not Alone and I Keep On Loving.

Who is your all time favourite poet?

I’d say Jill Scott – to me she is a poet extraordinaire. Her music speaks volumes. She is so soulful and passionate.

You also write short stories, what comes easier poetry or prose?

Prose, Lol. I don’t have to think as much – about the flow etc and I hate thinking, LoL.

What’s your creative process?

Hmmm … if its poetry I prefer to have some music in the background, particularly neo soul. Actually, even with prose. Music moves me. Interesting though I get most of my ideas when it’s totally quiet – when I’m sleeping, that is.

Do you think that the East African poetic experience is the same all through or do you sense some differences between Tanzanian, Kenyan and Ugandan poets?

I think it’s different. In the sense that when it comes to reading as a whole I know Kenyans are really into reading and I think the same goes for Uganda; Tanzanians are slowly getting there. But when it comes to poetry, it depends – we have the spoken word poetry, which we hear through music etc, with this I would say the experience is the same throughout the three countries; however, when it comes to written poetry, then I would say what I said about the reading culture in the three countries.

Being from TZ where Swahili sanifu is the lingua franca why did you choose to write in English? Haaa haaa! Swahili is so hard to write, especially Swahili sanifu! It’s such a rich and beautiful language that you just can’t afford to mess up even a bit. If I can’t do something I never attempt it. Writing Swahili will be like committing suicide – it’s that hard!

Have any personal experiences ever found their way into your work?

I write what I see, what I hear and sometimes what I experience. I’d say most of the poems under The Great Orgasm are my experience.

What’s on your playlist? What kind of music do you find particularly inspiring?

It varies – in my studio Jill Scott, Jill Scott, Jill Scott, LoL! … And some Heather Headley, India Arie; in my car – house music (I love the loudness and aliveness, LoL!); in my lounge some Jill Scott,Keith Sweat etc

What would you like to be written on your epitaph?
Lol! Here smiles (NOT lies!) the crazy (my friends believe I am) person who lived life and didn’t let life live her.

Sandra Mushi is a Tanzanian writer/ poet and architect. She recently published her poetry anthology Rhythm Of My Rhyme this year. The book launched in Dar Es Salaam wil soon be available locally. If you would like to get your Kenyan copy contact Erica on 0721-622697
You can read more on Sandra on her blogg www.saharasoulfood.wordpress.com

Playlist 101

Since we began Rhythm & Spoken early last year we have featured a diverse neo-soul/ raregroove playlist with the recent addition of African music. We usually get inquiries from the audience regarding songs that we play during and after performances. Here are the recent most popular inquiries…


Of Nigerian and German heritage, Ayo’s music is the kind that creeps up and envelopes you in warmth. Her videos are even more interesting with African scenes form the 70s or modern day Lagos. www.myspace.com/ayo

Album Review-Ayo

Ayo’s album is an eye opener. Her falsetto and guitar strums seem innocent at first listen but on further inspection reveal a lot on pain, love and laughter. She is playful in Life is real and loving in Only you. A sure hit Help is coming is a hopeful ode to struggle. Life is real is my current favourite, the video is simple but fun, set in Lagos it shows the singer dancing in the streets with children and women and the break down: “”Me I be Ayo ogunmakin fear no foe I am real from head to toe just like my heart and like my soul” always makes me smile.

Asa (pron. Asha)

Nigerian singer whose music has garnered a popular following in Africa and the diaspora. She is without doubt a gifted vocalist whose music can soften even the hardest of souls.

Album review

Asa sings in English, pidgin and a her native Yoruba. Popular songs include Jailer, Bi Banke and Fire on the Mountain. Her self titled debut album is really good, it’s the kind of music to play on a sunny sunday afternoon while enjoying a glass of chilled wine. I have also discovered it reduces road rage.

My current favourite is SubwayI have come from far away/ To see this go down the drain/ I have waited patiently and this is what I get/ Emotionally failing me /My whole wide world is caving in/ I’m not so free to express myself /The woman in me Wo wo wo don’t fade away ” Simply amazing. you can read more on Asa at: http://kenyanpoet.blogspot.com/2008/08/asaasha-lights-fire-on-mountain-at-dass.html

Freshly Ground

Freshly Ground are a South African band whose video – Pot belly, caught my eye. They are creative in a way that is very subtle and their music is self assured and fresh. It still has the tell-tell South African rhythms but their amazing fusion of african drums guiter, jazz, pop and dance offset by lead singer Zo’s distinct voice really sets them apart. Albums Ma Cherie, Nomvula and Jik Jika are must have cds for Afro-soul/folk lovers.

Album review-Ma Cherie

This is my current favourite of all their albums. I am biased because it contains Pot belly of course. Its thoughtful, fun and kind of sexy in its on home grown, Freshly Ground way.

Baby Tonight is a nice mid tempo track with echoes of Paul Simon. Fired up is the coolest. I am still absorbing this album but I must assure you it does not disappoint. Check them out on http://www.freshlyground.com/

Featured Upcoming Band- Aziza

August 08 poster

Aziza are an Afrosoul band made of four member Sequira Mogere, Joshua Simani,Maurice Manani and Enos Olik. They write and compose their own music. Their harmonies are accompanied by violin and classic guitar. They featured at Rhythm and Spoken Friday August 8th 2008. Though the group have not recorded any of their music they have already written ten songs which they performed at the event. The response was quite something and you can be sure they will be coming back to grace the stage in between poetry. The four began as an acapella quartet and later added the guitar and violin as they went along. This probably explains their strong vocal arrangement. Should they begin recording, we will be sure to post a sample for you to listen to and judge for yourself. Until then you will just have to catch them on stage and enjoy the moment.