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  • M2wa2 9:56 am on March 17, 2015 Permalink
    Tags: , , , Anniversary, , Band, Cat, Catwalk, , Defense, , , , Fashion show, February, festival, Galaxy, , , Malaikalette, Mary, , Romance, Samba, Tour, Valentine   

    No Valentines, Please, We are Malaikalettes! 

    Patrick Mwaeba on Saxophone, accompanied by other colleagues perform ‘Malaika’ during a past Malaika Festival Gig in Nairobi

     

    The decision to hold Malaika Festival 2015 on Saturday, February 14 may, on the surface, appear benign and a complementary, submissive act of support for Valentines Day-that great, cyclic force of true and false Love celebrated in many parts of the World on February 14 each year.

    Mary Ndunda (left), with other models during the latest malaika Festival 2015 at Galaxy Resort Voi on Sat. Feb 14.

     

    Miss Mary Ndunda (left) donning the ‘Malaikalette’ sash during rehearsals for Malaika Festival 2015.

    Usually, save for the Festival’s 7-year hiatus in Nairobi between 2004 and 2010, the organisers of the now ‘devolved’ Festival have had the option of celebrating Malaika Festival Day in honor of Fadhili William of  ‘Malaika ’ song fame either strictly on 11th of every February, irrespective of the day of the week, to mark his death anniversary-even if the anniversary fell  mid-week on a normal working day. The better if it fell on a Saturday, or Sunday, as it would create more excitement and definetely attract  more Party-goers and entusiasts.

    At a consultative, planning forum held earlier in Nairobi in 2004 to prepare the Malaika Festival Gig where it all started, a well-wisher, noting its proximity to Valentines had naughtily but, light-heartedly opined and, prophesied that the Festival should in future strive to ‘drown out’ Valentines Day,  whose irresistible commercial appeal appeared to drown out the true romantic sense and purpose of the moment.  The Forum’s agenda then was, among other things, to identify a suitable day to mark Fadhili’ William’s 3rd anniversary. Fadhili William, in whose honor Malaika Festival is predicated, died in Nairobi on Sunday, February 11, 2001 after an illustrious music career spanning over 50 years. That year, the Organizers picked on the supervening Saturday, February 14, 2004, which coincided with Valentines!

    The CS for Defense Miss Raychelle Omamo (middle, holding a Fadhili William Souvenir Program), Duncan Mwanyumba (left) and Mohamed Juma of Mombasa Roots (right) during a past Malaika Festival event in Nairobi.

     

    In reality, however, the seemingly harmless prophesy would only   be practically fulfilled, if the Festival were regularly held in 2004, 2009, 2015, 2026 or in 2032, i.e, after  intervals of  5,6, 11 and 7 years, respectively, when Valentines Day would fall squarely on Saturdays in the  years in question.

    Fast forward to Saturday, February 14, 2015 when Madam Hope Mruttu, wife of Taita Taveta Governor Engineer John Mtuta Mruttu, acting out her role  as the Festival’s Chief Guest, observed,  that “…Curiously, Fadhili William, who sang throughout his life for lovers and promoted the language and message of peace, met his death when the World Lovers’ Day-Valentines, was just around the corner…”.

    But, unknown to the Chief Guest, the lethal prophesy still lay inchoate beneath the Festival’s warm  and affable surface, ready to strangle the local romantic gains ever made over the decades through  observance of Valentines Day, which purports to celebrate Love only once-a-year, instead of, all year round!

    Enter Miss Mary Ndunda, the youthful and pretty Taita  pageant who, earlier in August 2014, came perilously close to clinching the ‘Miss Kenya Taita Taveta Beauty Peargeant’ held at Voi Wildlife Lodge and whose near-collapse was averted by Hon. Joyce Wanjallah Lay-the Women Representative in the Kenya National Assembly- in what was billed as ‘a Rescue Package’ due to the Taita Taveta County Government’s reticence.

    Donning a bold, red-coloured ‘Miss Malaika’ sash across her waist, Miss Ndunda led a bevy of other modelers into the Malaika Festival 2015 Night at Galaxy Resort Voi, after briefly careening across Voi Stadium earlier in the day to cheer and witness the finals of the two-week ‘Malaika Football Tournament’ held as part of the  commemorative activities. Miss Ndunda’s companions too wore sashes of their own emblazoned with the words ‘Malaikalette’ across their gutful torsos.

    The late Fadhili William (middle, in blue jacket), the late John Ngereza (left) and Samba Mapangala during a past musical American tour.

    Judging from the standing ovations and enthusiasm with which ‘Miss Malaika’ and ‘Malaikalettes’ were met at both Voi Stadium and, at Galaxy Resort Voi, the naughty prophesy may well nigh be fulfilled in the fullness of time, with Malaika Festival anticipated to grow out  big in future to  challenge Valentines Day as the only Day full of all cultural expressions, including Love, local delicacies, drinks and dances that ought to be promoted and preserved as part of our Kenyan heritage, without  necessarily however having to roll back, reduce or, shun Valentines Day. Long Live Romance, and Long Live Malaikalettes!

    By: Duncan Mwanyumba.

     
  • M2wa2 10:26 pm on April 28, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: , angel, , , , , , city, , , , , dam, dancers, Dancun Mwanyumba, drums, , echo, echo-friendly, echo-tourism, , , , , , festival, , , geography, , , , , , kidemu, Kighombo dam, kimanga, kipunde, , madio, , matumbo, mkango, , Mshuru, , mwanyamboSec, mwazindika, ngange, njugha, Rong'e, , Taita Hills, , , , trditional, , urwasi, , , , ,   

    Malaika Fest 

    Logo

    ‘Malaika Fest’ Set to become a Kenyan Brand?
    The residents of Rong’e Juu Location and Taita Taveta  County in general
    are bracing themselves for  a major ‘Mwazindika  dance’ and a heartfelt
    rendition  of Fadhili William ballads come Saturday, May 25th, 2013 to
    mark the late music icon’s 12th Anniversary since his demise.

    Fadhili William, to whom the  Kenyan ‘Malaika Festival’ is a tribute, is
    the acclaimed author-composer of the World-famous song ‘Malaika’ whose
    original composition the late South African songstress Miriam Makeba
    erroneously and, unfortunately, attributed to a Tanzanian. Other
    Artistes, like Benin’s Angelique Kidjo, also, have  unwittingly repeated
    Makeba’s original ‘sin’. Starting with ‘Ukifika Taita’-arguably Fadhili’s
    most evergreen Kiswahili song in praise of Taita Hills and their lush
    pastures that is gradually becoming one of the Festival’s signature tunes
    besides ‘Malaika’, the fete promises to deliver  aesthetic, sound and
    culinary tastes that  have so far characterized  the  growing Malaika
    Festival.

    In  February 2011, although  curious  revelers at the Grand event  were
    initially at pains  to comprehend the real meaning of the unfolding
    cultural event being held in Rong’e Juu, Taita Taveta County after  a
    seven-year hiatus since its last performance in Nairobi City, the sheer
    sound of  ‘Malaika’ the song and  the unmistakable voice of the late
    Fadhili William, served to  re-kindle old memories of the departed
    songster who caused ripples in Kenya, East Africa and beyond from the late
    50s to the mid-seventies. But, the presence of ‘banana chapatis’, Kimanga,
    Kipunde, Mkango, the  local Taita brew ‘M’bangara’  and ‘Mwasina’ and, the
    eminent  ‘Mwazindika’  Drums and ‘Kishawi’ dances  all went a long way to
    convince the patrons of  the  sustained blend of Fadhili William’s legacy
    and  faltering  Taita cultural practices  which serve as a reminder not
    only of  Fadhili William’s rich music legacy but, also, of  his  deep
    Taita roots.

    Strangely though, at first, some local Christians had thought of
    ‘Malaika Fest’  as  a form of  the long-forgotten ”ancestor worship’
    among the Taita, before they could  safely conclude that the event was no
    more than a pure celebration of the life and music times of their own
    departed son, whose remains they wished they had interred in his Rong’e
    ancestral home, instead of  far away in  Nairobi’s Cosmopolitan Kariokor
    Cemetery.

    Fadhili William had grown up and settled in the Eastland’s side of
    Nairobi, before moving to the United States of America in 1983, where he
    was to remain for thirteen years.In his younger days, the late Fadhili
    composed lyrics and sang in his Taita language, besides Kiswahili and
    English. ‘Niko Kireti’, ‘Ngamba Niagesha Wasi’,  and ‘Munilaguye Saru’ for
    instance, are some of his Taita songs whose rendition caused  even aging
    nostalgic female fans to gyrate and sweat out at the height of the last
    event which is gradually gaining local acceptance and,  fanatics. Last
    year’s event attracted a huge crowd, both young and old, with host School
    Mwanyambo Secondary School students leading the way   through  their
    scintillating drama, songs and dancing styles performed in their
    multi-colored School uniforms. To cap it all, even aspiring politicians,
    including  Taita Taveta Governor aspirant Engineer John Mtuta Mruttu,
    Women Representatives Joyce  Wanjala Lay  and Anna  Nyambu, got pulled
    away from another social event held  nearby, to throbbing Malaika Festival
    sounds and Mwazindika Drums.

    In the unfolding ‘branding’ of  Malaika Festival, Kenyan style,  whose
    Fadhili William image is, singularly, its most conspicuous  mark besides
    the red, cream and pink colors associated with the late musician, the
    sounds, traditional foods, dances and surrounding scenic beauty of the
    Taita Hills  closely resembling the Swiss Alps, all combine to create
    what is fast becoming the  Kenyan ‘Malaika Fest’  brand promise with all
    its trappings!

    “It is not complete without first slaughtering a Bull for us to feast
    on!”, says an old Fadhili William fan during the climax of last year’s
    festivity. Although he alone openly voiced his concern, this apparently,
    was the general feeling  of most fans of the celebratory occasion. “This
    will be in keeping with the old customs of remembering our departed
    souls!”, added  Mzee Silvano Nyambu, a retired police officer from Rong’e
    Juu who also plays the Mwazindika Drums as a pastime. But, will this too,
    become  a future expectation?

    As a pointer of better things to come, the Organising  Team of the
    forthcoming Third edition of the County Festival has given notice, through
    the aptly-framed  theme of ‘Promoting Peace & National Cohesion through
    Music”, of the full Kenyan  brand potential comprised in appealing
    patriotic songs  like ‘Kenya Nchi Yangu’ and ”Harambe Harambe’  in which
    Fadhili contributed both lyrics and guitar works, and dances by various
    groups from across the cosmopolitan Taita Taveta  County representing “the
    face of Kenya”, spiced, of course,  by the everlasting  ‘Malaika’ song,
    if the  Festival Team’s appeal to  local Corporate sponsors including
    Kenya Commercial Bank, Silent Guest Resort and Wildlife Works, bears more
    fruit.

    Needless to say, however, guarantees of peace and security, besides the
    availability of  traditional  Taita foods, drinks, and Mwazindika Drums
    and Taveta Uruasi dances and foods, as well as, possibly, other Kenyan
    sounds,  will be uppermost as “givens” or “cravings in the minds of
    tourists, both foreign and local expected at the Fete, which was
    initially held in Nairobi but subsequently “devolved” to  Taita Taveta
    County three years ago where it is set  to be anchored in more fertile
    ground. Ironically, although the event’s devolution to Taita Taveta
    County was aimed at boosting the County’s potentially rich cultural
    profile, it may very well, fortuitously, become a ‘Kenyan Brand’ whose
    popular ‘malaika.co.ke’ website domain already reflects its future trend.

    Duncan Mwanyumba

    Festival Convener,

    Voi City, Saturday, January 12, 2013

     
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