Thanks everyone for sharing the information about the diferent Jazz nights in Nairobi. Last weekend I was on a mission to experience a couple of them. I intended to fika Psys on Thursday night, but the heavy rain coupled with mechanical problems, plus the fact that it coincided with Methu’s birthday bash at the Carnivore meant that I couldn’t make it! I also missed the Carni plan (pole bro, I’ll be there for your 1021st birthday next year!)

Sunday night found me calling Modo to ask whether he’d be there for Jazz night at Tamasha (since he raised the idea on my comments page) but he was somewhere detoxing after the long weekend. Unyc had informed me that she’d be there so we made a plan to link up.

9:45pm found me walking into Tamasha, and I was quite surprised that the place was packed! I didn’t know that jazz nights are this big in Nairobi. I expected to find a chilled out joint, considering the fact that it was Sunday night and people have work to attend on Monday morning. But I also know that Nairobians love to enjoy their weekends right up to the very last minute. But the crowd up in there was relatively mature, mostly guys in their mid 20s to late thirties. No tois in belts masquerading as miniskirts, others looking like a cross between Chingy/50Cent and R. Kelly jumping up and down to silly hip hop music. This is quite a plan if you want to enjoy yourself with a mature crowd.

Trying to find Unyc was quite a task, until she sent me a text telling me to look out for “a lady in beige sitting at the bar looking pretty and very lonely.” That was the easy part since her description was right on point. I’m surprised that there were no hawks swooping around! Chic, kwani did you tell them that you’re a divorced, feminist mother of three? I know fewer words that would send Kenyan men scampering for safety. Divorced? FEMINIST!? Three kids? Nice meeting ya! Goodbye.

I spent the next few hours trying to convince, coerce, cajole, sweet-talk, seduce, implore, katia, inveigle, palaver, coax (and many other big words that I’m yet to learn) Unyc to gimme a good role in her new Riverwood blockbuster (since there are some malicious characters trying to convince her otherwise!) But it seems that our minds were not in sync so hapo niliambulia patupu! The cow has refyOOOOOzed! 

Ok back to the music. The jazz was really good, but the mood of the place was a bit too uptempo for the music, you’d have thought that this was Saturday night at Buffet Park just hapo in the backyard. The live band came on for the second time (I’d missed their first rao) but they were quickly hijacked by some guys who sang happy birthday (the full kyuk version – complete with instrumental) for their pal. Everyone in the pub joined in and that made for quite a comical moment right there. I’m sure you all know the version I’m talking about, sivyo?

Happe baaaaaaathidei dear Maikooo, (HAAAAAAAAAPPE!!!) Happe baaaaaaathidei dear MaaaaiiiikOOOOO  May you haaaaaaave many many mooooooooore (MEEEENEEEEE!!!)May you have menemenemOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

Punde si punde jazz night was turned into Karaoke night. Actually, it was turned into KARIUKI night as several kyuk numbers were played mfululizo, and it was left for the out-numbered non kyuks in the house such as myself and my buddy to look so out of place, clapping along like Biwott at a church function.  The highlight of the night was when Carol Atemi took to the stage and did a jazz rendition of several songs (I can’t remember them all by name coz by that time I was already under the influence – a few beers on an empty stomach is definitely not a good idea!) But I do remember her doing “My boy lollipop” by Millie Smalls. And trust people to chuck a Kenyanized remix

“My mboy rorripop, you make my heart ngOOOOO ngeedyup! You set my heart on FAIIIIIIIYAA! You AAA my wan ndizaIIIIIIYAAAAAA!”

Good times (Movie Buff 2006) I tell you!  

But I digress. Carol’s singing was fantabulous, backed up by Chris Bitok and his band on the instrumentals. I must admit that the first time I heard about Carol Atemi was the same Sunday afternoon when Capital played a neo-soul track of hers, fused with some kiswahili….that song is too beautiful! I don’t know the name of the song though. I asked her about it, she told me (I forgot…again!) But she says she has an album coming out in September this year. Best believe I’m a buy that! Look out for it.

A couple of other “celebs” were around, Edward Kwach ensconced in a corner looking very depressed. Dude has a big head I tell you. Very large, you’d think it’s a watermelon. DNA the one hit wonder (for now) was there feeling all hot with his “stunners”…I’ll never understand what it is with “celebs” wearing shades at NIGHT….INSIDE A BUILDING!! That’s just being a shagzmodo!!

There are a lot of other details about the night that I’ve left out, (inebriated, remember?) But I know that somehow Kariuki night became old school night.

Kui had suggested that I check out a certain venue at the Village Market that has a live band on occasion, usually on Fridays. I thought you meant The Cork (my second local, sadly it closed down some time last year) they used to have a very good live band on Sunday evenings.

There’s Dormans Rhythm Bar that has Jazz nights every Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings. (Kui, is that the one you had in mind?) Dormans is a very cosy uptown pub/coffee shop, very tastefully furnished. It looks like something straight out of Jo’burg or Cape Town. I lack the words to do any justice to the decor, so just check out this sample photo that I took at the stairs.

Rag at Dormans

You get the idea, no?

I’m no EGM or Mocha or (lately) Aegeus so forgive the picture quality. That’s 0.3 megapixel photography courtesy of my rusty Nokia 6600. Just aim and shoot. Hiyo tu. Dormans have Double Take band (Chris Bitok and Mwai) performing there every Friday from 9pm, and they have other invited bands who perform on Saturday and Sunday nights from 8pm.

The down side to Dormans is that it usually closes quite early on most days, (yesterday they were closing at 7pm!) maybe their prices are not too welcoming. (150 bob for a beer!!) So it’s not the kind of place where you can check into for a cup of coffee after work on your way home. It’s also quite snobbish, well, it’s got to be if their main clientele includes expatriates and UN employees. Not a place for the common middle class mwananchi. You only go there if you’ve got some serious cash to blow (i.e two beers, pushed veeeeery slowly!)

So now you know where to find me on Sunday nights, ama?

What’s on my Playlist? 

Only the loot – R. Kelly