Festivals are great places for seeing a wide variety of performing artists, painters, sculptors, musicians and multimedia artists of all types.
One of the most refreshing groups to perform at the recent Lamu Arts Festival was the Nairobi String Quartet featuring young Kenyan musicians, David Ralak, Emmanuel Nacheri and Bernadette Muthoni along with the group’s founder Alexandra Stapells.
Invited by Festival patron Herbert Menzer, the quartet performed everywhere from the Lamu Fort to the Baraka Gallery, accompanying one world premiere of “Maweni Carriers” sculptures and one gallery opening of paintings and photography by Helen Feiler and Corrie Wingate respectively. The quartet played everything from works by Mozart, Bach and Vivaldi to Handel and Cesar Franck.
In contrast, the African Nouveau Festival which is opening next weekend at Ngong Race Course is featuring not only music but films, fashion, installations and virtual reality gaming. With a theme like “Africans and Outer Worldly Beings, one can expect a wide range of Afro-futuristic displays.
There will be filmmakers showing sci-fi films like Njeri Karago’s Kui, Mark Maina’s Neophobia and Vaoline Ogutu’ Viral to name a few. There will also be virtual reality games made by David Waweru Kamunyu, Nadoya Adhiambo Oluoch-Olunya and Evans and Salim Busuru to name a few more.
Also lined up are installation artists like Meshack Oiro and Peter Walala working with students from University of Nairobi’s School of Architecture and several British artists to perform an “extreme make-over” on the venue to create a utopian world for visitors to come play, shop, listen and investigate.
The biggest shopping arena is likely to be where the 25 vendors will be showing and selling their fashions. But if fashion will be a major attraction to many, it will be mainly music that will occupy the two stages set up for musicians from all over Africa and parts of Europe.