Highly acclaimed jazz maestro Manu Dibango will be the star guest performer during Safaricom’s International Jazz Day slated for May 1 at the Carnivore Grounds in Nairobi.
International Jazz Day was declared by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) in 2011 to highlight jazz and its diplomatic role of uniting people in all corners of the globe.
The day is celebrated annually on April 30 and is the brainchild of jazz pianist and Unesco Goodwill Ambassador Herbie Hancock.
The celebration is recognised on the calendars of both Unesco and the United Nations.
Safaricom Jazz, not to be left out in the global celebration, decided to have their festival on May 1— just a day after to enable Kenyan jazz fans to be part of this celebration since it will be a holiday here in Kenya.
Cameroonian born Dibango will make his maiden performance at the jazz festival.
Born in Douala, in 1933, Dibango is well-known for his Grammy Award-winning track Soul Makossa.
The song topped the charts in 1973 and went on to be sampled by various musicians, including the late King of Pop, Michael Jackson, and US-based Bajan star Rihanna.
With a catalogue of over 40 albums and several film soundtracks to his name, Dibango has enjoyed a music career spanning over five decades, during which he has worked with artistes such as Herbie Hancock, Bootsy Collins, Bernie Worrel and the late Grammy Award nominee Hugh Masekela.
Dibango will be joined by his band, the Soul Makossa Gang, and a sterling line-up of Kenyan jazz artistes— including Mwai and The Truth, Afrosync, Edward Parseen and The Different Faces Band, James Gogo, Swahili Jazz Band, Chris Bittok and Eddie Grey.
Also set to perform are husband and wife duo Jacob and Kavutha Asiyo, Shamsi Music, Limericks, Mambo Tribe, Ghetto Classics and Nairobi Horns Project, who will be performing with Africa Plus from South Africa.
Safaricom has in the last five years donated over Sh37 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 next year.
Ghetto Classics is a community-based programme that aims to transform the lives of over 1,400 children in low-income areas in Nairobi and Mombasa counties.
The programme uses music education to provide the youth with opportunities to better themselves and their communities, equipping them with skills in live music performance as a means of breaking the cycle of poverty that many of them are born into.
The programme also provides them with income generating opportunities and has been supported by proceeds from the Safaricom International Jazz Festival since 2014.