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Erykah Badu set to thrill her Kenyan fans this week

Erykah Badu is set to perform at the Tusker Lite Experience taking place on December 11, 2012 at the Carnivore Grounds. Photo/Correspondent
Erykah Badu is set to perform at the Tusker Lite Experience taking place on December 11, 2012 at the Carnivore Grounds. Photo/Correspondent 

There have been so many real and imagined music events bandied about lately by fans on social media sites that it can get very frustrating for those who cannot verify some of this information.

Just this month, the excitement after Keri Hilson announced on twitter that she would be performing in Kenya and Tanzania, was dealt a blow after the cancellation of the shows, for unexplained reasons.

However, Nairobi will still be an exciting place to be as the December holidays start with what has been a much-anticipated performance by one of the most outstanding R&B singer-songwriters of the present generation.

Erykah Badu comes to town for the final Tusker Lite Experience of the year, taking place on December 11 at the Carnivore Grounds.

The 42-year-old is credited as the singer who defined neo-soul as a genre by combining strong lyrical content with elements of classical soul, jazz and hip-hop.

Borrowing from a range of influences, like Jimi Hendrix to Stevie Wonder, Chaka Khan to Earth, Wind and Fire, she created a new market for music that was essentially viewed as old-fashioned. Badu was at the forefront of a late 1990s surge of artistes with a similar style including Macy Gray, Jill Scott, Lauryn Hill, D’Angelo and Maxwell.

Grammy Awards

In 1997, when she was 25, she recorded her breakthrough album “Baduizm” and the first single “On and on.”

The album sold 3 million copies, won three Grammy Awards and drew comparisons between her and iconic black female singers like Billie Holliday, Diana Ross and Chaka Khan.

The industry anointed her as the Queen of neo-soul, which is a title she now resents claiming it boxed her into a category and creates an expectation about her music.

Badu’s love for Afro wigs and flamboyant head wraps has made her one of the most recognisable figures in entertainment.

Her first venture in high fashion came when designer Tom Ford launched his White Patchouli fragrance in 2009, using her as the face of the brand in a series of classy black and white photographs.

Her personal life has often found its way into the headlines. A relationship with rapper Andre 3000 of the group Outkast was the subject of much gossip especially when she released the single “Tyrone” criticising a selfish and inattentive boyfriend.

A film career has seen her appear in movies like “Blues Brothers” in 2000, “The Cider House Rules” in 1999 and her next role is in “They die by dawn” alongside big Hollywood names like Idris Elba and Giancarlo Esposito.

Her “New Amerykah, Part II: Return of the Ankh” finds her “more free and full of life” unlike its overtly politically and socially charged predecessor of 2008.

The album’s rhythmic and poetic flow is in many ways reminiscent of her debut “Baduizm” of 1997 which is the album that best represents who she is artistically.

Due to her bold nature, Erykah also seems to attract her fair share of controversy. In February this year, Malaysia banned a planned concert by her after a photograph appeared in a newspaper showing her with the Arabic word for Allah written on her body.

The incident involving her that drew the biggest headlines occurred while shooting the video for the single “Window Seat” two years ago. The singer stripped off her and acted out being shot by an unseen assassin at the spot where U.S. President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963.She was charged with a misdemeanour, fined and served a 6-month probation sentence for the incident.

Despite all the record sales, industry awards and adulation of fans around the world, being a mother to her three children remains her main preoccupation.

Tickets for the concert are on sale at Sh7,500 for VIP and Sh4,000 for ordinary tickets available at Nakumatt branches (Westgate, Junction, Mega, Village Market) and Dorman’s Coffee House.

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