Thursday, 30 June 2016

Lahani Presents: Ythera and Ciano

I will not bore you with details, as this is not your run of the mill press release. This Saturday, 910 James Gichuru will be hosting another edition of my acoustic gig Lahani. This one features Airtel Trace finalist Ciano Maimba, as well as vocalist extraordinaire Ythera. Who knows, should my voice stop "riding roughshod over me", then I might sing as well.

Lahani is purely acoustic awesomeness and mellow magic, so bring your ears and hearts. See poster below :) Advance tickets are only KES 500, payable to Paybill number: 138090 (JK & Associates.). When you get to account number, simply type in your Mpesa name.


Friday, 20 May 2016

Music Giveth Wings to the Soul

Not many people live up to their name but Gilad Millo certainly does. Hebrew for ineffable joy, Gilad has brought mirth to all and sundry through his melodic songs and affable personality. The former diplomat and current PR head has been instrumental, in spearheading campaigns that focus on paradigm shifts among the youth and discrete communities.

A global citizen, Gilad grew up in various corners of the world. This exposed him to different cultures and shaped his worldly perspectives. This has had him in good stead, ensuring that he fits in wherever he goes. This has also ensured that he developed a knack for picking up languages wherever he goes, an endearing quality.

Gilad’s musical journey began in Israel, but it was in London that he really collided with music. He was in the choir all through his formative years. Having honed his skills, he formed a band in high school which was the stepping stone to a latter musical outfit dubbed White Donkey. He recorded an album with them dubbed ‘Country for Sale.’ Not one to shirk responsibilities that were increasing by the day, he decided to step away from music, and focus on building a career in journalism and diplomacy.

This new shift allowed him to work in different areas around the globe. His multifarious background has equipped his to move seamlessly in different career confines, merging them in a bid to create rapport with different communities. This is how Gilad has been able to merge his music career with his current career direction. Whilst in the States, Gilad was at the forefront of Hollywood campaigns that shed light on the positive work that Jewish communities were doing around Los Angeles.

Gilad’s music is centered on healing audiences and spreading joy. Dubbed “Music for the Soul”, Gilad is hell-bent on ensuring that even as his fans are transformed mentally even as they revel in his melodies. He also donates proceeds from all his concerts to charities, because he believes in creating a longer table when empowered financially as opposed to building higher walls of segregation. This has seen him immerse himself in myriad charity campaigns, as well as working with diverse artistes in Kenya.

And come Saturday 21st May, Gilad will be on stage at the Alchemist to share his gift with his adoring fans. Other acts include Njambi KoiKai and Dela Maranga. Got prior plans? Cancel them, you will be glad you did. If you are an avid YouTube ‘watcher’ like me, then be sure to watch his videos. Other duets by him feature Wendy Kimani, and Gachago. Musical influences include Bob Dylan, Bob Marley, The Beatles, Zohar Argov, Ali Kiba, Kidum, Sauti Sol and Broadway musicals.

The sky is truly the limit for this multi-lingual, multi-faceted musician, on a journey to transforming communities through music. His agricultural projects seek to teach young people sustainable long-term farming, as a source of income. Gilad is truly a son of Kenya, born in a distant land. 
Remember: Saturday 21st May 2016, at The Alchemist. Se poster below

Image Credits: Gilad (Facebook Page)

Friday, 6 May 2016

June Gachui And Maurice Kirya To Slay At Koroga Festival.

It is said that music is emotion searching for expression, and no two artistes encapsulate this better than June Gachui and Maurice Kirya. I will admit that I am not that familiar with Manu Dibango’s music, save for the songs that have been covered by other artistes. Call it a generational flaw if you will, honesty after all is the best policy no?

How does one describe June Gachui? A multi-faceted, consummate entertainer, she oozes pure awesomeness whenever she hits the stage. June sings, acts, emcees effortlessly, and slays when it comes to intellectual property. How pray tell does one breathe into words this larger than life personality?

The first time I got the privilege of watching June performing, she was requested by Mumala to come on stage and say hi to the audience. She instead decided to sing, because authentic expression is the core of June’s being. First offering was Bibanke by Asa and I kid you not the room was pungent with expectation. My heart skipped a bit as a holy stillness enveloped the air around us. It’s the way she stood, as if preparing to manifest the sublime calls for a sudden transformation.

First few notes and the entire audience were transfixed. I watched in awe as Ms June dissected herself and bled dry on that podium. By the time she was done and transitioning into En Vogue’s Don’t Let Go, I was enthralled by her rasp, vocal command and expansive range.She was belting G5’s in full voice, unrestrained, unfettered, no mean feat. There and then I knew my heart was taken.

She was a stranger then, but I am now privileged to consider her a friend. Nonetheless, my hairs rise on end whenever she sings. Twenty years under her belt, June is now ready to showcase songs penned with her own DNA. A long time coming, avid fans have been waiting with bated breath for her debut album to drop. Have you not had the pleasure of listening to some of these songs? Then Koroga Festival is definitely your opportunity to.
You will be blown away; her music transcends genres and has coalesced into soul-serenity, like rain drops intertwine to form a river that leads to your ocean (Definitely thinking about Emotions by Destiny’s Child).

Enough with waxing lyrical about June, I am also stoked that Maurice Kirya is back in town this time singing songs reeking of soul and sensuality. I had the pleasure of interacting with Maurice Kirya, back when I was part of Eric Wainaina’s camp during Maisha Superstar.
Maurice would saunter in like he owned the ground he walked on. I find such people perplexing, the ones that are unrepentant about being in the space they have been invited to. Maurice is unapologetic about music, his voice wafts like a smoke signal and draws you into his being.
Affable and unguarded, he sings like he talks; melodies pour out of him like honey from the honeycomb.

It is no secret that I love live performances. I love to watch artistes contort themselves with pleasure as they pull notes from their spirit. I love to watch emotion take over a singer visage, because it makes me envisage what was going through them as they reached into higher planes and tapped into melodies lesser mortals are oblivious to.
I am reminded of rainmakers, invoking the elements until clouds collide and a downpour ensues. And yes, it will rain on Sunday, but it will not be rain that will soak our spirits but epic melodies. Go on, purchase our tickets and come discover Edward Parseen and Manu Dibango with me. It’s an odyssey worth taking, your future self will thank you for saying yes. 

Thursday, 22 October 2015


Moyo wangu umetanda, hisia zenye uzani,
Na mawazo yanikanda, yanibinya akilini,
Nuru ipo ila kuona sioni,
Godoro kichapo wala silali asilani,
Hapa nlipo niko taabani,
Hofu ipo, tadidimisha afueni,
Kila kukicha nawaza mustakabali,
Maswali yamechacha, najihoji tawaje jabali

Natamauka, natamauka
Chemichemi lakauka,
Ndoto zangu zanyauka,
Sitaki tena rauka,
Najihisi napauka

Nakaribia mauka

Sitosheki na uhalisia,
Manake nimekisia,
Kuwa wahed tangia,
Mistwari nianze jitungia,
Napambana na hizi hisia,
Takriban miaka tisia,
Mipango kemkem mejipangia,
Ila kasri Abadan katan sijaliingia

Natamauka, natamauka
Chemichemi lakauka,
Ndoto zangu zanyauka,
Sitaki tena rauka,
Najihisi napauka

Nakaribia mauka

Nlivo tamani himaya,
Nkaanza tunga riwaya,
Maisha kayapa hidaya,
Ufanisi uwe wangu muhibati bila haya,
Ilmuradi kujiepushia mashakaya,
Sasa hayo yote hekaya,
Meyeyushiwa deraya,
Mejaziwa maya,

Kila nkilala nagwaya,
Kama mtoto anaehitai yaya,
Gizani mekuwa kaya,
Mejawa na huzuni kayaya.

nakaribia mauka. 


Mauko means death in old Swahili, and through poetic license decided to change that to Mauka denoting death of self. Shukran 

Monday, 25 May 2015


I’m a sucker for quotes, I hate to admit it. I am addicted to Berlin Art-Parasites and other similar Facebook pages because quotes that resonate with the truth I am feeding myself right now are necessary for me to grasp the transcendent, the inimitable.
I now naturally gravitate towards “truth” that mirrors or stirs up a visceral “understanding” in my soul. Being a big believer in one’s reality expanding according to one’s thoughts, I have become a conscious connoisseur of “knowledge.” I haggle with life was I make my way through the murky waters of wisdom, in search for that knowledge fountain that will quicken my metamorphosis.  

Today morning, I came across a saying by Eckhart Tolle, “if peace is what you want then you will choose peace.” As I read that, it dawned on me that everything we want for ourselves, we have to choose consciously. Because as it is said, thoughts become words that become actions that become our reality.

As I child, I remember this verse were taught in school about Jehovah placing before the Jews life and death, and asking them to choose life so that they may live. It always baffled me. So for one to live, one had to choose life? What about the ones that died yet desperately clung on to life till the last sand particle hit the hour-glass?
But now I am starting to grasp this precarious truth: conscious choice determines reality.

I have become very aware about the thoughts I think towards myself. I try my best to interrogate every single one, trying to decipher the motive and intent, its source.
I am no longer letting my “knee-jerk” thoughts ride roughshod over my mind, nachukua usukani (I am taking charge of my ship’s rudder.)

I have realized that the words that stir up in me are a clear reflection of what is going on inside me. These words give a clear picture of what I am feeling even my conscious self is too distracted to understand.
Lately I have been very angry because I have been let down by people I thought would stand at the watchtower for me. Being disappointed by the world is one thing, but being stabbed by people you considered soldiers in your quest for life is a crucible-hot mess.

So for me to see a quote like that by Eckhart Tolle, it stopped me right in my tracks. I evaluated every word the way a wine taster swirls every drop in their mouth after carefully smelling the wine and inhaling its essence.
I closed my eyes and let the words paint a melody so loud it reverberated in my being. The echoes, they brought truth to me as the rain gently pounded the trees outside. I have to choose the life I want for it to manifest.

Conscious choice, conscious actions; easier said than done. Being aware however is the first step. I am aware that I can not affect gravity, but I can slowly but surely determine the energy I let seep into my camp and the vibrations I put out.
I may not control people’s actions but I can control how I let them make me react even when every fiber of my being wants to give in to hate and basic behavior. Because choice is power, privilege, potency.

I remind myself every-time I start to expect an avalanche of bad news, that my story is neither cast in stone nor the ink drawn from the veins of men. I tell myself loudly if I must that to be afraid is one thing, but to expect a parlous outcome is unacceptable. So I slowly triumph over my fear, and every small victory sets me on the course to be the very giant I thought I’d never be.

Choose peace; choose prosperity; not just physical wealth but a thriving of the mind and soul. Choose to expand your life through pure thoughts, intent and actions. Choose to walk away from what seeks to destroy you because even destruction comes cloaked as freedom when it I just temptation.

I have chosen the growth that comes without annihilating anything in its path except mediocrity and ego. I want the best, but I want it the right way. I want to close my eyes when my race is over and not be afraid of that hell and brimstone furnace every preacher worth their tithe shouts from the mountaintops.
So I choose, and I choose deliberately and strongly. I choose peace, and I choose prosperity, because the words you speak become the house you live in, said Tabriz.
May my house be a palace inundated with joy, bursting at the seams with health. Choose. Choose.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

The Ocean and The Water-drop

Yesterday was my birthday and as is the norm, I spent most of the day indoors, ensconced in my bed away from the world. It's a ritual I have developed; sit by myself, contemplating or writing what I want this new chapter to breathe into my life. The older I grow, the more I realize I love solitude, silence, and that stock taking is such a sacred moment for me. In that moment I am my most vulnerable, naked, emotionally unbalanced and can't let anyone but myself see me like that. 

This year, I did not feel like I'd have panic attacks whilst stock-taking. I went through my mental checklist and surprisingly I was on course. I embarked on this journey a few years ago, and it seemed my trajectory was as envisaged that cold night on the floor, when I promised myself change would manifest.

I haven't posted in this blog since November 2014. I no longer feel like I have anything to tell the world. My words are no longer draped in metaphors, and laden with codes begging to be deciphered. I finally started telling myself the truth, and in return the universe made more people hear it in my voice. I finally began telling myself the things I needed to hear, and in return the universe ensured the people who speak similar words gravitated towards me. 

Two of my favorite quotes are "The words you speak become the house you live in" by Tabriz and "They tried to bury us, they did not know we were seeds". 
I have learned to speak to myself, as a priest invokes blessing in the inner sanctum of the temple. My mind is the holy of holies, and mouth will speak nothing but prophetic utterances. I have learned to bless my space when everything inside me wants to shriek and curse, wither and die. I have learned to contain my thoughts, and to consciously tell myself I have the keys to the kingdom, because the universe found convergence in me.  

I have learned to let go of the schemes conniving people weave. The floods will come, but seeds, they always germinate. I have learned to give time time, and to know when seasons are changing. I no longer chase winds, or tame rivers that want to flow.
I am the ocean and the water-drop, in each moment I am both. I am finite yet immortal, weak yet a giant, silent yet roaring, seeking yet complete. 

It sounds like gibberish when put down to words, I will not apologize for that. My life began to change the day I changed the conversations I was having with myself. The day I told myself that I am a child of God, the only one of my kind this universe will ever lay its eyes upon. 
I only have this moment, and being present is my only mission. I am a mosaic of unfolding truths, a juxtaposition of contrary philosophies, a simple being, a tapestry of wonder..

I no longer seek solace in other people, even when I am attracted to their minds and hearts like a magnet. Whatever I seek in them, I will find it if only they they mirror my soul and spirit.
I have learned many things the past few years, things that took me to the periphery of insanity and the peak of ecstasy. 
You see truth when told gently to your soul, will break you but catch your falling pieces and recreate you into a masterpiece. Truth is gentle, yet truth is a sword; truth is life when you embrace it wholeheartedly. Seek your truth, when you find it your soul will blossom. Find your bliss, when you do, the universe will open up to you like a flower to the sun.
Wear your scars like stars, because they are your constellation guiding your wandering heart under the night sky. And last but not least, say yes to you, for you are enough. 


Image: Wiki Commons

Took most of the day for these words to fully coalesce in my mind, always a relief when they do. I have tried my best to distill them so they have a modicum of sense.

Rauha. Damai. Shanti. Thayu. Salaam. Heiwa. Taika. Sidi.

Monday, 10 November 2014


The driver wonders if the chill has gotten to me,
As I blow my nose and say my sinuses have “run amok”,
I look outside and close the window gently,
I wipe it to see your silhouette, with his, and inwardly I choke,
You seem lost in the moment,
You seem oblivious to the downpour,
Here I am; my mood dismal, drowning in my torment,
Stuck in this Nairobi gridlock, gutted, dejected, sore

It was yesterday, I saw you as the rained poured furiously,
I was engrossed in my own thoughts, but somehow my eyes beheld you & I gawked surreptiously,
It was near Yaya, you were talking animatedly,
I was ensconced in that Easy taxi, clutching the seatbelt, dying silently.
Is he the one you said you would never look at?
Cause* you promised me his texts were innocuous, at that Java chat.
Now here we are, miles and distance interwoven like a mat,
Part of our tapestry; now a torn relic, discarded like a dead cat,

My soul is now a war-zone, my heart "a city decimated by Jihad",
Never thought seeing you happy would make me bleed this bad,
I wish I wasn’t angry but your memory makes me so mad,
Like the churning in my system is magma and not blood!
Maybe I should be glad,
That you saved me from bondage, but I'm just a livid lad,
That I could never mirror your dad,
That I’ll never be the best you ever had….

It feels almost silly now, admitting all this,
Just the other day I was preaching like a new proselyte about eternal bliss,
Not once did I suspect something was amiss,
Not even when you cancelled Valentines dinner for your sis.
Now I see how calculating you were,
The way you used me to get this far,
A friend I let go of, you were smitten by like Magi with Bethlehem’s star,
Oh the vengeance inside makes my mirth black like tar

I hated loving you so much that all else became vanity,
Blindly I drank, and got intoxicated by the sweet nectar
I was mesmerized so much by your entity,
Our soundtrack was Tracy Chapman’s Fast Car,
Now all I see is your shadow and silhouette,
A mirage in the desert, sarabi jangwani, mazigazi,
No more will I allow life, love's appetite to whet,
I am done being fettered with emotions that drive me crazy!


Image: Wiki Commons

Caveat: This was written as part of the Sanaa Book Club Challenge "A Taxi, an old friend and Valentine's day"