Nina in Nairobi
Meet Nina Ogot, the talented Afro-acoustic singer who graced the R&S stage early this year. Her easy going persona and professionalism goes hand in glove with her talent. A gifted singer, songwriter and performer whose songs like Chokora and African Angel are proof that creativity does indeed live in Nairobi.
What inspired your album title Ninairobi?
My album title Ninairobi, simply means Nina-in-Nairobi. Its about me, a woman born and bred in Nairobi sharing her experiences with humanity through her music. I call this music ‘Afro-acoustic’.
What of the amazing song African Angel?
Thank you! I’m glad you like the song because it has a lot of meaning for me. I wrote it at a time when I was still a student in France and struggling with my identity as an African Woman. I sometimes felt that although I was in the country of my dreams, I still didn’t quite fit in that society. After a lot of introspection, I came to understand that I was living in a cold environment where people craved for love and warmth. That is when I realised I wanted to supply Love and Warmth to those who wanted to receive it, just like an angel. So, it was then that I ceased to be just an African woman and was transformed into an African Angel.
You sing in French and even Lingala where did you learn these languages?
I learnt French all through high school and university and even taught at the Alliance Française in Nairobi. As for Lingala, I don’t speak it but I can sing in it thanks to a good Congolese friend of mine that I met in France.
When did you realise you had a talent for singing?
I knew I could sing by the age of 8, but the funny thing is that knowing you can do something is not enough to get you started in any venture, i think you need divine revelation which lights a fire in your heart and gives you the extra courage you need to get going. My divine revelation came in 2005.
What support have you received from family since then?
My family has always been extremely supportive. I feel extremely blessed in that sense because they have never been an obstacle. They are my ‘stepping stones’.
Did you enjoy performing at Rhythm & Spoken and would you consider adding poetry to some of your music?
I loved performing at Rhythm & Spoken. I actually do include poetry in my performances; poetry is so profound!
You write and compose most of your music, what kind of creative space do you have to be in to do so?
Wow! thats a beautiful question. My creative space is in the midst of silence because in silence, God speaks. When I close my doors to noise and open my heart to the stillness of my heart, creativity is born.
What do you do when you’re not performing?
When I’m not performing on stage, then I’m preparing to perform. I am currently in training with the theatre company. They don’t claim that they can teach you to be an artist, but they constantly put you in an environment where you can create and train your mind, body and spirit. Also, I work on Radio France International as a Presenter and producer of the show Bonjour Culture.
Where can we catch you next?
Catch me next at the Sawa Sawa festival at the Sarakasi Dome in Ngara this Friday the 29th of May 7pm and on the 31st of May 4pm same venue. can’t wait to see you thereI