Chris Adwar on the Villagers Band and Nofork Hotel

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Chris Adwar

It is the 27th of December 2009, Atemi and the Villagers Band are on stage, doing what they do best, live entertainment.  Chizi is also in the house. The venue is packed with no sitting spaces in sight.
The Villager’s Band has been playing for the last six years. They launched their debut album, Nofork Hotel, late 2009.

Capital Lifestyle caught up with the band’s lead singer, music director and producer, Chris Adwar during this gig. In this exclusive, he talks about the new album, afrofusion and 2010. 

Who are the Villagers Band?
We are a ten-piece band, nine musicians and the band manager. We consider the band manager a member of the band. This is a unique thing; most bands do not. The band has transitioned in the last six years and now we have a group now that is going to last for a long time. The sound that we have has only just come together now. We also work with other musicians including Atemi, Allan Rimbui, Chizi among others.

That is a big band. How do you manage costs?

One of the reasons the Villager’s Band does not play very regularly is because it is very expensive for us to set up a gig. It costs us between Ksh60,000 – 70,000 to put a gig together. Bands that play regularly in pubs, get Ksh20,000 per gig. It would be pointless to play a regular gig. How we manage cost is we pace our gigs. We also now have a CD, Nofork Hotel, and we are going to promote that CD as much as possible.Villagers Band


What genre of music does the Villagers Band play?

The genre of music we do, I dare say, is Afrofusion. People say that Afrofusion is an ambiguous term. However out there in the world, what we call Afrofusion here is called World music there. Even what we call Genge here is categorised as World music out there. If Kenyan music is World music and Chinese music is World music at the same time then what is World music? It is a more ambiguous term. Kenyans artists need to embrace the term Afrofusion.

Tell us about your album, the Nofork Hotel?
Norfork Hotel has 16 tracks, two of them are interludes and it is done in Swahili, English and Luo. Our title track the Nofork Hotel is about a guy who has lied to his wife that he is a manager at the Nofork Hotel. He leaves home every morning in a manager’s uniform but goes and lounges at a kiosk all day. He dreams of being a manager but does nothing about it. Another track Liar 2012 talks about how politicians lie every election year. The theme that recurs in the album is about people being fake.

Have you shot any videos yet?

We are going to shoot videos for the album the first four days of January 2010 at the Nairobi School.

How long have you worked on Nofork Hotel?
We have worked on it for close to four years. Not recording but building the music. What I believe is that for songs to become music they need to, for lack of a better word, marinate. By that, I mean the musician has to play it repeatedly until he gets a sound that he is very comfortable with. That is how the best records, in my opinion, come up.

Chizi performing with the Villagers Band Atemi and the Villager's Band

Where can we get a copy of the Nofork Hotel?
The album will be in stores in about two weeks.  Meanwhile, we are doing delivery on order in Nairobi. For more details call: 0721 536001 or 0722 393506

What plans do you have for the 2010 entertainment scene?
Things have changed quite a bit. Kenyans are now big on live music. People turn up in large numbers to events so we are looking at more local and international gigs.

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