Iconic African jazz musician Manu Dibango is expected in Nairobi in on May 1, to headline Safaricom’s International Jazz Day celebrations.
This will be Dibango’s maiden performance on the Safaricom Jazz stage, at a concert that will launch the 2017-2018 Safaricom International Jazz Festival calendar and highlight the role of jazz in uniting people across the globe.
Born in Douala, Cameroon in 1933, Dibango is most well-known for his Grammy Award-winning track Soul Makossa.
The song topped the charts in 1973 and went on to be sampled by various musicians including the late King of Pop, Michael Jackson, and US-based popstar Rihanna.
With a catalogue of over 40 albums and several film soundtracks to his name, Dibango has enjoyed a music career spanning several continents over five decades, during which he has worked with artists such as Herbie Hancock, Bootsy Collins, Bernie Worrel and the late, great, Grammy Award nominee – and Safaricom Jazz veteran – the late Hugh Masekela.
“It’s a privilege and a dream come true for us to host Manu Dibango as we kick off the events that will lead up to the 6th edition of the Safaricom International Jazz Festival next year. Not only is he well known and loved world over, he brings to our stage an energy and fire that has been well stoked through a lifetime of passion for jazz, and puts us in the same league as some of the biggest jazz festivals on the continent,” said Bob Collymore, festival founder and Safaricom chief executive.
Dibango will be joined by his band, the Soul Makossa Gang, and a line-up of Kenyan jazz artistes; Mwai & The Truth, Afrosync and Edward, Parseen & The Different Faces Band, James Gogo, Swahili Jazz Band, Chris Bittok and Eddie Grey.
Also set to perform are husband and wife duo Jacob & Kavutha Asiyo, Shamsi Music, Limericks, Mambo Tribe, Ghetto Classics and Nairobi Horns Project, who will be performing with Africa Plus from South Africa.
“This will be a celebration of local jazz talent and an opportunity for us to honour all the Kenyan bands that have been a part of the Safaricom International Jazz Festival on one stage. They have played a big role in making this event what it is today, so it’s only fitting that we celebrate them in this way,” said Collymore.
Last month the company marked the 5th anniversary of the Safaricom International Jazz Festival.