Blankets and Wine had been on a break for a long while. I remember asking Muthoni Drummer Queen, the brains behind the event what happened but she said that the break was necessary so she could concentrate on making music and when she re-launches, it would be in a big way.
Then came the announcement that Aloe Blacc would be performing at the next event which would be happening at Ngong Racecourse. I think I saw the poster in December. I’m a fan of Blankets and Wine (BnW). The whole picnic idea vibe while listening to music, chilling with friends while trying to make new ones appeals to me. I wasn’t necessarily a fan of Aloe Blacc and before you attack me for it, you need to chill and wait for me to finish the story.
I watched Aloe’s interview on The Trend with Larry on NTV. Yes, I know I said I’m not a fan but I do try to expose myself to different sounds and I’m super curious. Never mind a certain cat was killed. That doesn’t apply to me because I’m human, aren’t I? Work with me. I’m taking things literally.
That’s besides the point so back to the interview.
Watching it, I actually wanted to know more about the artist. The way he answered the questions? The knowledge he impacted while at it? His humility? That really impressed me. I agreed with most of what he said so I knew for a fact that there was no way I was going to attend BnW and not allow myself to be exposed to new music. New Aloe Blacc music to be more specific. He performed last but I think I’m going to start with his performance since I’m already talking about him anyway.
Aloe Blacc, clad in all black, no he really was, put up a good show. His set had me reminiscing about the music of the 90s with some of his disco funk tracks and the soul in it. He told stories in between and had the crowd on its feet. His vocals with the drummers, the saxophonists, guitarists and background vocalists came together so beautifully to give such a dope performance. So dope was this performance he got an encore. His hour was up but he had the people jumping so much the crowd asked for him back on the stand. Maybe it’s because he involved the audience and said that it wasn’t a “spectator sport” but he’d rather everyone got involved It was that good!
Before Aloe Blacc performed, Muthoni Drummer Queen was on stage. She introduced another side of her I had never seen. I’m sure many others too! She had dancers on stage and she participated too! Balancing the dancing and the singing. Aside from that, she surprised many when she brought out Khaligraph Jones during her performance of their song, Turn On The Lights that also included Nigerian rapper, M.I.
That’s not the only cat she had hidden in the bag though, after performing a couple solo records, she said, “I want to bring my brother out, a friend of mine who we’ve recorded a song together…” I thought she was talking about Aloe Blacc and I remember being shocked that they recorded a track and it’s all ready for a live performance? Her next statements after that are what let me know that she was talking about Kagwe Mungai not Blacc. It was an interesting performance with the whole dance battle theme going. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Did you know that their jam Hot This Year was actually recorded in July last year but only put out this year? Yep, I got to find out from Kagwe that they were both having so much happening in their individual careers so they had to wait for a point where they were both in sync to release the track. The video, he says, is coming real soon so we’ll wait on that.
I’m pretty sure plenty of people were crying after the Just A Band performance which was their very last as a unit. Blinky had tweeted the news out to fans last week that they were going their different ways but would be releasing solo projects so he asked that we embrace each of them. After a fiery performance on stage, he said that they would “still be releasing stuff” that it wasn’t the end of making the music. He didn’t let us know if he meant as a group or as individuals. The song “Ha-He” the track that introduced us to Makmende had everyone on their feet. Makmende himself joined them on stage for that send off.
And the person who opened up the performances was the beautiful and talented Mayonde. As much as most of her music is about this guy who doesn’t notice her or like her back, make no mistake, Mayonde is married and has been for a while. She met her husband when she was 18 so she doesn’t understand the struggle of trying to get a guy’s attention or the pain of a heartbreak. Beautiful, talented and lucky! I didn’t catch much of the performance because “traffic in Nairobi is no joke” Aloe Blacc even noticed.
At the end of all the performances,before Muthoni started speaking she called Prezzo on stage to say a word or two. In his state, he must have been the one who insisted to get up on stage though. Prezzo who is becoming a repeat offender in the “I should embarrass myself every chance I get” case that I just created was visibly drunk and refused to get off stage even after the mic was taken from him. It was really weird, having him up there, staring at Muthoni as she said thank you to those who had turned up (must have been a crowd of more than 1500) and the sponsors for the support. He did get off eventually. That was a sight!
If you’re asking, BnW is back with a bang! It’ll be happening four times a year so I guess the next one will be going down in August. Every quarter. MDQ said that they are going to try their best to bring the Drakes and Chris Browns to Kenya because Nairobi is the New York of Africa and we deserve the best. Hooraaaayyy!
She also urged every Kenyan artist to step up their game saying that after Lupita won the Grammy, somebody needs to bring the Grammy home and she needs to work with Timbaland as soon as possible.
It was a good show. I had a blast and hopefully you really feel bad about missing it. Oh, I’m now a fan of Aloe Blacc. This week will be dedicated to searching for all of his music.