- Written by Peace Loise Mbae
Safaricom will this year mark the 5th anniversary of the Safaricom International Jazz Festival with a galactic celebration at the Kasarani Training Grounds on Sunday 25th February.
Headlining the show will be the highly acclaimed American jazz trio BWB, which is comprised of guitarist Norman Brown, saxophonist Kirk Whalum and trumpeter Rick Braun. While this will be Braun’s maiden visit to Kenya Grammy Award winners Whalum and Brown are no strangers to the jazz festival, having performed alongside Gerald Albright and Sheléa Frazier at the Safaricom Jazz Lounges in Nairobi and Mombasa in December 2016.
BWB is expected to perform a wide selection from its massively popular Human Nature album. The album was released in 2013 and earned the group great reviews for its adaptation and arrangement of some of pop legend Michael Jackson’s greatest hits, including eponymous track Human Nature, Billie Jean, Man in the Mirror and The Way You Make Me Feel, among others.
“This edition of the Safaricom International Jazz Festival has a special place in our hearts for many reasons. Not only are we celebrating five years of great live jazz performances from world renown and locally admired musicians, we are also celebrating the social impact we’ve created through funds raised from the Festival,” said Bob Collymore, Safaricom CEO and the brains behind the jazz festival.
“The whole idea of the festival is to make jazz music more accessible and inclusive, and to use this to break down barriers and create opportunities for talented Kenyan artistes to play alongside international stars and appeal to a larger local audience,” added Mr. Collymore.
Safaricom has donated over KES 37 million from proceeds of the jazz festival since it was first held in February 2014, enabling the Art of Music Foundation to scale up its Ghetto Classics programme and expand it to Mombasa, with plans to branch out to Kisumu in the next year.
Today over 1400 boys and girls aged below 18 years are benefitting from the programme, which is using the funds raised to purchase music instruments, provide training and finance basic needs such as school fees and shelter for the children and their families.
This year Safaricom Jazz hopes to raise a further KES 20 million for Ghetto Classics who will be performing alongside Jimek, a Polish composer and music producer known for his wildly popular History of Hip Hop composition. Fans can also expect electric performances from Kenyan favourites Mambo Tribe and Limericks, as well as The Betty Bears (Israel), Lean (Belgium), Joya Wendt (Germany) and Gloria Bosman (South Africa).
Tickets go on sale on 2nd February, at KES 10,000 per person and KES 150,000 per corporate table for the VIP show to be held on Friday 23rd February; and KES 2,000 and KES 500 for regular and student tickets respectively for the main show.