February 23, 2010 – Opera, Classical tunes and ballet. Add some string-instrument talent in the sufuria and pepper it with a vibrant audience. That, my friends, is the sound of the Kijani Kenya 2010 Music Festival – at least according to the tit-bits that were showcased at the press conference on Friday morning.
Kijani is going to be in town again this weekend and the next, depending on where you live. First stop is at the Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club on February 26 in the form of a Classical Concert (clap clap), second is the next day at the same venue but this time an Opera Gala.
Both events will be hosted by Operaplayhouse, a small-scale opera theatre company specialising in intimate, unique and highly theatrical projects and performances. This group will be accompanied by Lesley-Ann Sammons and the Guildhall Strings.
On March 6, the festival moves to the Bomas of Kenya, where there is space enough for a Ballet Gala. World-renowned ballet performer Alexander Zaitzev will be back in Kenya for the festivities.
And in the spirit of name-dropping, Kenya’s MMAN Dance Company in all their contemporary splendour will also be performing. Their strengths (read Mike, Mark, Neema and Adam) include classical, Afro-fusion, cabaret, hip-hop and salsa.
The Pamoja Dance Group, which includes persons with disabilities that churn out remarkable contemporary manoeuvres, will not be left out.
Tickets, depending on the event, range from Sh1,500 to Sh5,000 and proceeds from the sales will be split between local projects (in the locality of the concert venue) and other national charities.
The annual Festival, which is in its sixth year, is organised by the Kijani Kenya Trust. The money collected from tickets sales goes to finance projects that support HIV/Aids, conservation and education. In fact since 2004, the Trust has managed to raise Sh20 million, which has gone to various hospitals and orphanages, among other institutions.
This year’s sponsors include Capital FM, CFC Stanbic, Fairmont, Kenya Tourist Board (KTB), Abercrombie and Kent, GM Motors, Holiday Inn, McNoughton, Coca Cola and the Austrian Embassy, where officials describe art as a way of life in Austria.
KTB says its sponsorship is in line with its effort to promote entertainment tourism.
“The event will also open up ways for multi-culturism as a tourism product,” according to the MD Muriithi Ndegwa.
PS: the best way to enjoy opera is to be completely still within yourself and let the energy from the powerful singing evoke yours. That’s step one. After that, just go with the flow…