Kenyan rock band set out on a quest to find where Kenyan talent comes from. While you can always argue that it is inborn in all of us, there are those place that nurture it. So KRB has been up and about, magnifying glass in hand, wearing reliable boots and those khaki shorts. You know the ones game hunters used to wear?
First stop was the Kenyan Poets Lounge. The place is so inconspicuous you would not think it mattered much. A tiny sign post points to what looks like an average office building. Nestled in Nairobi’s Milimani suburbs off statehouse road, Pawa 254 is a place awash with Kenyan artistic talent.
A story is told of how the idea came to life. Fatuma is a 50-year-old woman who has been dumb all her life. Dumb meaning she cannot speak. Because of this, she cannot easily communicate and express herself. Luckily, people have come to her rescue. Her friends help Fatuma express herself by voicing what she cannot and they do this without expecting anything in return.
This story explains what Pawa 254 and its parent organization, Fatuma’s voice, are about. Organizers intended it to be a platform for young people to express themselves; talk about what is affecting society and possible solutions to these problems. This is art with a conscience. This art is conscious. Pawa 254 gives poets, musicians and spoken word artists a platform to share their work with each other and the world. Each week has a different theme which artists follow in coming up with their various works. The sessions start with a lively debate on the topic at hand.
|the pawa 254 audience discussing importance of literacy|
If you are worried about the calibre of performers you will find their, don’t. This is no kindergarten recital. The poets especially were very impressive and so were musicians. One, Acouslyk impressed thoroughly at the beginning of September with his fingerstyle guitar.
Of course, some artists struggle. Pawa has been the debut event for several new Kenyan artists and the crowd is forgiving of the occasional blunder. These performers are often just beginning to find their way in the industry. It provides a way of networking and experimenting with sounds and ideas. Hart the Band is one act this place has helped to develop and they intend to help more.
Pawa goes down every Saturday from 5.30 pm. Damage is 100 bob. Check it out sometime.