Salif Keita speaks out on Albinism at a concert in Kenya at the Carnivore with Omar as his Curtain raiser

He came and with him, brought the message ‘Despite his condition as an Albino, he had beaten all odds to become the Golden Voice of Africa receiving international acclaim’

That is why, we had all flocked the Carnivore restaurant on the 14th October evening from 8pm to experience his music live from this world renown African artist – Salif Keita.

As he informed us later during a media conference just after his superb performance, his visit of the East African countries had been prompted by the recent events involving killing of people with Albinism mainly in Tanzania, a trend that was slowly spreading to the other East African countries.

This was also the driving force behind his latest album ‘La Difference’. It was the first time that Salif Keita was coming out and speaking openly about his condition and the things that affect him and others with a similar condition.

The evening was full of surprises. It was revealed by one of the event sponsors, Capital FM that Omar – a UK based Nu-Soul artist who has been in the country, would also be performing at the Salif Keita concert. This was great news to many like me who had missed his earlier performance. He was the first act of the night at about 9pm.

His is the kind of music that takes a life of its own when performed live! It has elements of Jazz, RnB, and soul in them and the band seemed to make every song richer. His song ‘There’s nothing like this’ seemed to sum up my experience of his performance, “There was simply nothing like it”.

Sauti Sol and Iddi Achieng who had facilitated Salif’s travel and concert also performed.

12pm was the time the show was to end, it turned out to be the actual start time as that is when Salif Keita finally came on Stage.

By then, the place was so full that the Simba Salon dance floor had  fans seated all over it. As if on que, immediately Salif stepped on stage, everyone got up on their feet ready to dance. This was despite a hitch with the sound equipment that saw the band take over 30 minutes to hook up their equipment to. The sound quality did affect the quality of the show in the course of the night, a pure embarrassment I must say.

The biggest faux paus was forgetting to avail a microphone for ….. not the backup singers, not the instrumentalists……wait for it…….  for Salif Keita……I thought I was dreaming. As if that was not enough, the backupsingers’ microphones were still muted and thus no one could hear them.

Maqbul, the event MC finally did give Salif his cordless microphone and the sound controller also realized he needed to adjust the volume for the backup singers.

This did not dampen Salif’s spirit as he went on to perform songs from his latest album as well as his older ones.
Songs like ‘La Difference’, Mandjou, Moussoulou, Africa and many others seemed to turn the place from carnivore to Timbuktu.

He later gave a media conference on the reasons for his visit which is actually a tour in  a bid to educate people on the rights of people with the condition of Albinism through his Foundation, The Salif Keita Global Foundation.

He was set to perform in Uganda the following day and later on in Sudan. He had just come into Nairobi from a show in Tanzania, a country that  has been hitting headlines for the killing and mutilation of Albino’s for witchcraft purposes.

Those who had thought they’d buy Salif’s CDs or Omar’s were hugely disappointed as the organizers had not thought about stocking even 1 album with only cds by Sauti Sol and Iddi available for sale. Talk about poor event organizing!

For those who missed it, below are some photos as well as a short clip of the event.

About Kenyan Poet

Showcasing the best in Kenyan Arts;Music,writing,Poetry,fine art and art reviews as well as info on emerging art trends. “Art is not about thinking something up. It is the opposite…getting something down.”