Makadem was the featured artist at the Thursday Nite Live an event that happens every Thursday at the Choices in Nairobi.
If you are ever in Nairobi and live music is your thing, Thursday Nite Live hosted every Thursday at Choices has come to define the best in our live music scene. This event run by Rashid Jibril involves a musician who knows how to play live music playing for patrons of the famous venue. Some of the best artists in the country and some from out of the region have performed at the event. The beauty about it? The punters at Choices pay nothing. This makes it probably the best free live event in town; it has also been described in some quarters as one of the best regularly running events on the continent.
On Thursday a good friend of mine had asked to join him for Thursday Nite Live at Choices and I was happy to accompany him. I hadn’t even bothered to find out who would be performing on the day as it is always hard to keep up with which act that would be performing on the day. Also all the bands on the stage were usually kick butt so it didn’t matter. So you can imagine my joy when I strolled into the place and who had just ended their set: Makadem.
Makadem is a very special fellow. He was initially a pop artist of the R&B and hip hop genre when he was in Mombasa before moving to Nairobi and changing his music genre. He fused older tradition instruments like the nyatiti the lyre of the Luo and the traditional drum with the modern guitar, keyboard and drums. This new music took a while to develop so there were many wondering why was once of the best rapper/singer changing his name and becoming Ohanglaman Makadem. It eventually worked and Makadem is one of the most sought out live acts on the European scene and on the continent where folks are looking for amazing music.
This was the act that I was to watch this evening and when I checked in he was taking a break after doing his first set. Eventually he jumped back on stage and started his second set with his anthem to Gor Mahia and the crowd started responding. As he went through his two hour set, which was increased by almost half an hour by crowd demand, the crowd would jump up and down and dance. It didn’t matter that many didn’t understand the words in his songs as they were in the Luo language as well were all getting into a frenzy as the many belted out his tunes. As he went through his set he would play a variety of instruments, the guitar, the nyatiti, the kayamba skillfully. It was his voice that most shone that Thursday evening; a powerful instrument that caressed and cajoled as well and inspired one to dance.
He was accompanied by a Uganda performer Giovanni who was also very good but this night belonged to the Ohanglaman and his band.
The beauty about Makadem is that his success has seen him at the forefront of live music in the country. He is the ultimate musician’s musician so in the audience you could see Iddi Aziz, Winyo Shipton, James Jozee of Gogosimo Band and other acts jamming to their friend’s music. It’s such a wonderful sight to see truth be told.
P.S. Makadem is one of several Kenyans up for awards at the All Africa Music Awards (Afrima) this year with a nomination for Best African Contemporary. Please vote for him. You can also check him out here.
P.P.S. Check out images from the concert here.