I love my country Bermuda and my fellow Bermudians. We're friendly people. Beautiful people of all shapes, sizes and colours. But one thing that always gets on my nerves without fail when I return are some of the really dumb questions that I'm often asked. It's true, we Bermudians love to make conversation and most of the time we don't really listen to what we're saying when we say things.
I've thought of a list of questions that I'd most likely be asked upon returning to Bermuda for the holidays. If you, your granny, your aunty or well-meaning uncle feel the urge to ask any of these questions please refrain from asking and refer to the list of 8 questions below:
List of Questions that I really do not wished to be asked upon return to Bermuda. Answers provided.
1. Do you have cars in Africa?
A. There are millions more cars in Kenya than Bermuda will ever have.
2. You look like you're eating well. Isn't everyone starving over there?
A. Umm...no. Actually it's pretty easy to stay fed in Kenya. There's always maze, bananas and beans around. Let's drop the stereotype of starvation across the African continent please.
3. Do your children speak African?
A. The language that is spoken here is called Kiswahili. The nationality is Kenyan.
4. How was it when you were up in that mall with all those terrorist?
A. So you're telling me that you want me to recall the worst day of my life while standing on the corner of Reid Street chatting?? Seriously?
5. Have you changed your religion?
A. Ummm..last time I checked no. Have you changed yours? .
6. Are you home for good?
A. What does that even mean? Sounds like a prison sentence to me.
7. Weren't you afraid to move to Africa?
A. First of all, do you refer to Bermuda as North America? Can we name the country for starters? The answer is 'No.'
8. How come you just came from Afri..I mean Kenya and you don't have a tan? Isn't it always hot over there in Afri..I mean Kenya?
A. Nairobi never gets as warm as Bermuda because of the altitude plus the seasons are switched. Today I'm wearing a scarf and a sweater.
So to my beloved family and friends in Bermuda. Feel free to refer to this list upon encountering me and my family in Bermuda this December. Even if you feel the urge...a strong urge to ask one of the questions on the list. Please, please DO NOT ASK ME THESE QUESTIONS!!
P.S. Somebody just asked me, "And if I do?"
Friday, 29 November 2013
Wednesday, 6 November 2013
Every life has a story. Every music video has a story. Here's mine...
My first music video called ‘Chiziqa’ launched last week at Tribeka in downtown Nairobi. Willy Tuva, the host said was said that it was the most well-attended launch they had ever seen with press, media personalities, dancers, fans and friends in attendance. Most people here in Kenya didn’t know that I sing and were not even sure if I could dance since mostly they see me sitting behind a desk critiquing dance crews rather than actually dancing myself.
|Launching Chiziqa at Tribeka October 29th|
It started at the beginning of this year. For a while I’d been wanting to enter into the Kenyan music industry but I didn’t know where to begin. In between filming I’d ask my fellow judges questions. They were very helpful with suggestions and ideas but the crux of the work was still up to me to find a producer.
Whenever I was at a music event and someone was introduced as a producer I would try to make conversation and tell them about my aspirations however the response was always the same. They’d look at me with a smug look on their faces as if to say, “Oh such a cute girl. Now she thinks that she can sing…”
Finally I met someone who said that they wanted to work with me. This was in April of this year. I would drive all the way to the Industrial Area from Limuru to record in the studio. I felt happy. We would shoot the music video in a month’s time. After a while I noticed that the producer would disappear on long trips and not contact me for a while. The reason was always the same; lost phones, family problems and other gigs.
I thought this was strange that the project was being delayed and began to realize that this person was only about taking money from me rather than seriously working on a project. I felt sad, misused and deceived.
I had heard about Grandpa Records and their reputation for producing hits all across East Africa. I assumed that they were an exclusive club of sorts and that I would be treated in the same patronizing manner that other Kenyan producers has shown me. I was surprised when I asked to meet with them that they gave me an address in Kibera. For one of the largest production houses in East Africa I expected differently. But my past experiences here have also taught me that the simplest of locations can produce beautiful work and industry without having the ‘look’ of a typical place of business.
When we met it was all about business and acceptance. I asked him if my being not Kenyan was a problem since I had also had problems with that in the past. He laughed. A week later I was in the studio with Vesita working on what would later be called, Chiziqa. I had typed the song in my phone a while back and hadn’t had a chance to use it. It was one night while out with some very special girlfriends of mine where the inspiration came. We laughed and joked about ‘winding from your waist’ while enjoying the Afro-jazz and dancehall tunes of the live performances at Choices. I had jokingly promised in a bit of a tipsy state to produce a song called “Wind from your Waist.”
Vesita assisted me with parts of the song as the beat was coming together. While we were listening to the first verse and the chorus Refigah, the President of Grandpa Records ran up the stairs and said, “I hear magic coming from this studio. Let’s shoot the video in a week and a half.”
Of course I said, “Yeah!” It was only a few hours later that I realized the significance of what I had agreed to and the preparations that were needed to make this video happen.
The day of the shoot was a whirlwind. My car was in the shop getting the engine repaired. We had stopped for gas on the way home a couple nights before and the attendant put diesel into our petrol engine. Of course the rest was history…
The car that was sent for me was 4 hours late. When he finally arrived I was seething mad and told the driver off Bermuda style only to find out later that he had been arrested on the way to pick me up and the police wanted a bribe. One of my dancers was pregnant during the shoot so she was extra hungry. I thought that we were headed to Thika but at the last minute the videographer got an artistic idea to film at a car garage instead. The dancers were complaining about dust and the makeup artist couldn't find the location.
When we finally got started everything began to flow like magic. I danced my heart out. We sweated, and danced some more and sang. The whole day I felt so free as if my singing, dancing and song writing had come together beautifully in one moment for all of the world to see. The word from the producers and camera men was that they had never seen a female artist in East-Africa dance like I did in their own music video.
The day was soon over. We waited. The video was edited. Then Westgate happened and I was glad for the six-week buffer between filming to launching so that I could begin to heal and create a new normal within myself after the narrow escape.
Now Chiziqa is out and is being received well by both Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Bermuda. Now that you know the story behind Chiziqa, have a look at the video and let me know what you think:)