Safaricom has released the names of Kenyan artistes set to perform on International Jazz Day, which will be held on Sunday April 30, 2017 at the Carnivore Grounds.
The concert, dubbed Kenyan Jazz All Stars Edition, will open the 2017-2018 season of the Safaricom International Jazz Festival and will be headlined by talented Kenyan jazz musicians including: Nairobi Horns Project, Shamsi Music, Mwai & The Truth, AfroSync, Edward Parseen and The Different Faces, Jacob Asiyo & Kavutha Mwanzia-Asiyo, James Gogo, Juma Tutu, Eddie Grey and Chris Bittok.
“We’re excited to be marking the 5th anniversary of the Safaricom International Jazz Festival, and we feel there is no better way to begin celebrating this milestone by kicking off with an afternoon of great performances by some of Kenya’s most well known and loved jazz artists,” said Bob Collymore, CEO, Safaricom.
Also performing at the Sunday afternoon show will be Ghetto Classics, who are quickly making a name for themselves as some of Kenya’s most musically gifted youngsters.
“Working with Ghetto Classics has really opened our eyes to the power of music, and the funds raised through the jazz festivals over the years are helping us transform over 900 young lives in Nairobi and Mombasa. This year we’re handing over a cheque of Kshs 17 million to the programme, up from Kshs 12 million raised during the 2015-2016 edition,” said Collymore.
Safaricom has been supporting the not-for-profit programme, which equips young boys and girls from underprivileged backgrounds with music skills, since 2014. Ghetto Classics is run by the Art of Music Foundation and has steadily increased its reach since its beginnings in a small church compound in Korogocho, benefitting from Kshs 37 million raised through the jazz festival over the last four years.
“We often underestimate the power of music to make a real difference to entire communities, but when you experience the Ghetto Classics performing and learn the stories behind the smiling faces you really begin to grasp why we need to keep supporting programmes such as these. I’m happy that music fans, sponsors and even the international performers who’ve come to Kenya for the jazz festival are seeing this and offering their support,” said Elizabeth Njoroge, Founder and Director, Art of Music Foundation.
Over 10,000 music fans attended the week-long celebrations held as part of the Safaricom International Jazz Festival in February this year, including the themed nights, VIP and schools shows, and the main event.
“It’s an honour to share a stage with Kenyan jazz artists and international greats and to get the opportunity to play in front of such large crowds. This jazz festival is creating opportunities for us to prove that there is great local jazz talent and contributing to the growth of jazz in Kenya,” said Shamsi Music drummer, Kenn Njoroge.
“We’re looking forward to performing on International Jazz Day because we get a chance to celebrate jazz as a universal force for peace, change and unity. We will be paying tribute to the likes of Billie Holiday, Nina Simone and John Coltrane who used Jazz as music for social change,” said Njoroge.
Tickets to the event are available at The Michael Joseph Centre, Safaricom shops and via M-Ticketing by dialing 1511.
As part of its CSR efforts, Safaricom has over the years run a portfolio of art-based brand assets and sponsorships including the Safaricom Kenya Classical Fusion and Niko na Safaricom Live, both of which were among the first large-scale entertainment events to be sponsored by the brand. The telco invests an average of Kshs 180 million each year to support the arts such as the Safaricom International Jazz Festival, Groove Awards with Safaricom, Safaricom Groove Party, Safaricom Youth Orchestra and Safaricom Choir providing multiple opportunities for Kenyans to connect through art.
In November 2011, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) officially designated April 30 as International Jazz Day in order to highlight Jazz and its diplomatic role of uniting people in all corners of the globe.
Through this united effort, International Jazz Day is the one day each year that jazz is celebrated worldwide, bringing together people of all ages, backgrounds and nationalities in 195 countries. International Jazz Day is chaired and led by Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director General, and jazz pianist and composer Herbie Hancock, who serves as a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Intercultural Dialogue and Chairman of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz. International Jazz Day is recognized on the official calendars of both the United Nations and UNESCO.