StereoSounds Countdown: Week 2 (2014)

Hello 2014!

Straight to it: We had Diamond drop a surprise track only yesterday – well, a remix actually; Abigail Arunga introduced me to a brilliant track that should gain momentum for its respect of the art in addition to being so goshdarn catchy; Blankets & Wine at 50 was a rocker of a gig, I’m told.

Here we go.

10. Dadabass ft. Owuor Arunga – Black As They Come.

Dadabass ft. Owuor Arunga – Black As They Come

First SoundCloud entry ever on this list. I simply couldn’t pass it up. Dadabass’ sound is that of a powerhouse rapper – she is, after all, a poet and storyteller. [Kenyan, FYI. Living in Seattle, Washington.] She could easily give Muthoni DQ and Joey a run for their money.

You’ll very soon be hearing a lot more of this one.

9. Just-A-Band – Dunia Ina Mambo (ft Stan, Octopizzo).

Yes, they were at Blankets and Wine at 50. Of course they rocked.

“Thank you for the love last night Nairobi! And big up @mdqbauslady.” – Mbithi

8. Mafikizolo ft. Uhuru – Khona

I just thought I’d mention: This is not Mafikizolo’s only track. There’s this one featuring May D, as well as this one featuring Uhuru. Just thought I’d throw that in there.

Also, a love note from Adelle Onyango of Kiss 100:

7. Mi Casa – Jika

Good afternoon, J Something. Thought I’d leave this here for you, in case you missed it:

6. The Villagers Band – Be Your Fool

Themetrack to the wedding perhaps?

5. Muthoni DQ – Feelin’ it

It’s easy to forget, with the resounding success of Blankets and Wine, that she also spends a lot of time in the studio serving such out.

4. Sarabi – Sheria (ft. Juliani)

Commentary on present-day Kenya. It’s one that will have you singing along, and Juliani (as always) KILLS IT!

“Wapi Kidero when you need to slap somebody?!”

3. Sauti Sol – Soma Kijana

One of the finest tracks these lads have ever released. I hear they are just about set to release another album.

2. Keko – See Ya

One of only two new entrants to this list – she sent me this track, and it took me just one listen for it to stick. Expect this on heavy rotation on pan-african music stations. Certified hit. I’ll post a review of this one next week.

1. Diamond ft. Davido – Number One Remix

Ey! We’ve been warming up to this one! Diamond has struck a formula that works for him and he’s MILKING it!

Courtesy wasafii.blogspot.com.

It’s simple: Tell a story. A love story. Make it fast-paced & energetic, instead of the usual sappy stuff. Release a killer dance video.  You find yourself dancing and singing along before you even realise he’s roped you in. Chief, well played.

“Ngololo, ah, Skelewu…”

Of Foot-Paths, Lanes and Flight Paths: Our Mombasa Trip

The future Mrs. and I went on a little excursion last week.

We got to Serena Beach Hotel and Spa with a view of having ourselves a rocking time. Which didn’t happen, as you’ll read here.

A few things:
1. This post is actually heavily “censored” – a lot of what happened is not included here. I’ve chosen to here what the hotel management has to say. I’m still contemplating revealing more, in the interest of opening up their accountability as well as, perhaps, my own therapy.
2. We visited Serena Beach Hotel and Spa looking to evaluate it as a possible honeymoon destination. I’m afraid we’ve been completely put off by the treatment we received, as well as the profiling we were subjected to.
3. The General Manager, one Mr. Tuva, just called, promising to look into it. We’re waiting for his findings on the same.

Here’s a little peek into our [mis]adventures at the Serena Beach Hotel and Spa.

The Real Truth about ‘Boring’ Men — and the Women who Live with Them: Redefining Boring

So not every guy proposes with lip syncingrolling cameras, and a choreographed entourage.

Yeah —  so what if  your Dad didn’t?

He just pulled that beat-up Volkswagon Rabbit of his over in front of Murray Reesor’s hundred acre farm right there where Grey Township meets Elma Township, pulled out a little red velvet box, and whispered it in the snowy dark: “Marry me?”

“He didn’t even get down on one knee or anything?”

You boys ask it incredulous, like there’s some kind of manual for this kind of holy.

And I’ve got no qualms in telling you no. No, he didn’t even get down on one knee – it was just a box, a glint of gold in the dark, two hallowed words and a question mark.

“Boring.”

I know. When you’ve watched a few dozen mastermind proposals on youtube, shared them with their rolling credits on Facebook, marvelling at how real romance has an imagination like that.

Can I tell you something, sons?

Romance isn’t measured by how viral your proposal goes. The internet age may try to sell you something different, but don’t ever forget that viral is closely associated with sickness – so don’t ever make being viral your goal.

Your goal is always to make your Christ-focus contagious – to just one person.

It’s more than just imagining some romantic proposal.

It’s a man who imagines washing puked-on sheets at 2:30 am, plunging out a full and plugged toilet for the third time this week, and then scraping out the crud in the bottom screen of the dishwasher — every single night for the next 37 years without any cameras rolling or soundtrack playing — that’s imagining true romance.

The man who imagines slipping his arm around his wife’s soft, thickening middle age waistline and whispering that he couldn’t love her more…. who imagines the manliness of standing bold and unashamed in the express checkout line with only maxi pads and tampons because someone he loves is having an unexpected Saturday morning emergency.

The man who imagines the coming decades of a fluid life – her leaking milky circles through a dress at Aunt Ruth’s birthday party, her wearing thick diaper-like Depends for soggy weeks after pushing a whole human being out through her inch-wide cervix, her bleeding through sheets and gushing amniotic oceans across the bathroom floor and the unexpected beauty of her crossing her legs everytime she jumps on the trampoline with the kids.

The real romantics imagine greying and sagging and wrinkling as the deepening of something sacred.

Because get this, kids — How a man proposes isn’t what makes him romantic. It’s how a man purposes to lay down his life that makes him romantic.

And a man begins being romantic years before any ring – romance begins with only having eyes for one woman now – so you don’t go giving your eyes away to cheap porn. Your dad will say it sometimes to me, a leaning over – “I am glad that there’s always only been you.” Not some bare, plastic-surgeon-scalpel-enhanced pixels ballooning on a screen, not some tempting flesh clicked on in the dark, not some photo-shopped figment of cultural beauty that’s basically a lie.

The real romantics know that stretchmarks are beauty marks and that different shaped women fit into the different shapes of men souls and that real romance is really sacrifice.

I know – you’re thinking, “Boring.”

Can you see it again – how your grandfather stood over your grandmother’s grave and brushed away his heart leaking without a sound down his cheeks?

50 boring years. 50 unfilmed years of milking 70 cows, raising 6 boys and 3 girls, getting ready for sermon every Sunday morning, him helping her with her zipper. 50 boring years of arguing in Dutch and making up in touching in the dark, 50 boring years of planting potatoes and weeding rows on humid July afternoons, 50 boring years of washing the white Corel dishes and turning out the light on the mess – till he finally carried her in and out of the tub and helped her pull up her Depends.

Don’t ever forget it:

The real romantics are the boring ones — they let another heart bore a hole deep into theirs.

Be one of the boring ones. Pray to be one who get 50 boring years of marriage – 50 years to let her heart bore a hole deep into yours.

Let everyone do their talking about 50 shades of grey, but don’t let anyone talk you out of it: committment is pretty much black and white. Because the truth is, real love will always make you suffer. Simply commit:Who am I willing to suffer for?

Who am I willing to take the reeking garbage out for and clean out the gross muck ponding at the bottom of the fridge? Who am I willing to listen to instead of talk at? Who am I willing to hold as they grow older and realer? Who am I willing to die a bit more for every day? Who am I willing to make heart-boring years with? Who am I willing to let bore a hole into my heart?

Get it: Life – and marriage proposals — isn’t not about one up-manship — it’s about one down-manship.It’s about the heart-boring years of sacrifice and going lower and serving. It’s not about how well you perform your proposal. It’s about how well you let Christ perform your life.

Sure, go ahead, have fun, make a ridiculously good memory and we’ll cheer loud: propose creatively — but never forget that what wows a woman and woos her is you how you purpose to live your life.

I’m praying, boys — be Men. Be one of the ‘boring” men – and let your heart be bore into. And know there are women who love that kind of man.

The kind of man whose romance isn’t flashy – because love is gritty.
The kind of man whose romance isn’t about cameras — because it’s about Christ.
The kind of man whose romance doesn’t have to go viral — because it’s going eternal.

No, your dad did not get down on one knee when he proposed – because the romantic men know it’s about living your whole life on your knees.

There are Fridays. And the quiet romantics who will take out the garbage without fanfare. There will be the unimaginative calendar by the fridge, with all it’s scribbled squares of two lives being made one. The toilet seat will be left predictably up. The sink will be resigned to its load of last night’s dishes.

And there is now and the beautiful boring, the way two lives touch and go deeper into time with each other.

The clock ticking passionately into decades.

*-*-*

[This is a reblog. The original is here. I loved it for its honesty, and blatant regard for reality.

Me and mine are on a journey of our own, and we’re also discovering certain truths along the way. Want more from her perspective on our Journey To One? Find it right here.]

Journey to One: “Let my people go…”

“On that night I will pass through the land of Egypt and strike down every firstborn son and firstborn male animal in the land of Egypt. I will execute judgment against all the gods of Egypt, for I am the LORD!
But the blood on your doorposts will serve as a sign, marking the houses where you are staying. When I see the blood, I will pass over you. This plague of death will not touch you when I strike the land of Egypt.
This is a day to remember. Each year, from generation to generation, you must celebrate it as a special festival to the LORD. This is a law for all time.”
– Exodus 12:12-14.

Just one tiny detail to note though: “Let my people go, so they can worship me.
That was His message to Pharaoh.
Note the phrase: “Let my people go, so they can worship me.

It wasn’t: “Let my people go, so they can be free and live happy.
Or: “Let my people go, so they can enjoy milk and honey.
The rest were fringe benefits of their freedom.

Neither was it simply: “Let my people go.
It was freedom with a purpose: “Let my people go, so they can worship me.

Which made me rethink my prayer life. As Raata and I move closer to the date (126 days to go – but who’s counting?), we’ve encountered roadblocks in magnitudes and intensities that would otherwise be crippling. Between trying to lock down the funds needed (which are, quite simply, not there) and related matters, there are times I’ve looked up to Jesus and asked Him: “Ala! Kwani you don’t want this journey to bring glory to You? Why the roadblocks? Sort us out, yoh!
My prayers have actually been something akin to hostage negotiation: “Free me, that I may do great things and bring honour to Your name.
Or: “Free me, that I achieve XYZ and praise you more.

It’s a very simple premise really: In all things and in all moments, I’m meant to praise and worship Him. Anything He does for me is that I may worship Him. It’s not a “Terms & Conditions apply” situation.

He set us free that we may worship Him.
Nothing more.
Not that we may perform magnificent feats and say, “Oh my gosh! It’s the God in us!
He set us free that we may worship Him. In this journey, in all our life.
Yes, this is as much as I’m far from perfect. Because it’s only then that His might manifests itself in our lives as well as to those around us.
And it’s not just about the freedom: His power is in THE PROCESS of setting us free.

Let my people go, so they can worship me.
He set me free that I may worship Him. He set us free that we may worship Him.

Simple.

Image by Wamuyu Kiragu

Image by Wamuyu Kiragu

Twakutukuza: 2013 Twa Choir in Concert

Stunning weekend this one was.

I’ve never made a secret of my love for one Doris Mayoli ever since I met her. I detest the word “survivor” – I see her as a victor. A cancer victor.

So when I first heard of Twa, I didn’t hesitate to offer my help in whatever capacity I could.

The 2012 edition of the Twa Choir in Concert saw me cover the event a mere 5 weeks into my foray into photography – which explains my surprise when she called me saying that my images were the best of the lot, and the committee had elected to use my images for the poster.

Zuhri Images had the honour of partnering with Twa this year, and here’s a sample of the fulfilling experience that was the 2013 Twa Choir in Concert, this past weekend at the Braeburn Theatre.

2013 Twa Choir in Concert. © Zuhri Images 2013  2013 Twa Choir in Concert. © Zuhri Images 2013  2013 Twa Choir in Concert. © Zuhri Images 2013  2013 Twa Choir in Concert. © Zuhri Images 2013  2013 Twa Choir in Concert. © Zuhri Images 2013  2013 Twa Choir in Concert. © Zuhri Images 2013  2013 Twa Choir in Concert. © Zuhri Images 2013  2013 Twa Choir in Concert. © Zuhri Images 2013  2013 Twa Choir in Concert. © Zuhri Images 2013  2013 Twa Choir in Concert. © Zuhri Images 2013  2013 Twa Choir in Concert. © Zuhri Images 2013  2013 Twa Choir in Concert. © Zuhri Images 2013  2013 Twa Choir in Concert. © Zuhri Images 2013  2013 Twa Choir in Concert. © Zuhri Images 2013  2013 Twa Choir in Concert. © Zuhri Images 2013  2013 Twa Choir in Concert. © Zuhri Images 2013  2013 Twa Choir in Concert. © Zuhri Images 2013  2013 Twa Choir in Concert. © Zuhri Images 2013  2013 Twa Choir in Concert. © Zuhri Images 2013  2013 Twa Choir in Concert. © Zuhri Images 2013  2013 Twa Choir in Concert. © Zuhri Images 2013  2013 Twa Choir in Concert. © Zuhri Images 2013  2013 Twa Choir in Concert. © Zuhri Images 2013  2013 Twa Choir in Concert. © Zuhri Images 2013  2013 Twa Choir in Concert. © Zuhri Images 2013  2013 Twa Choir in Concert. © Zuhri Images 2013  2013 Twa Choir in Concert. © Zuhri Images 2013  2013 Twa Choir in Concert. © Zuhri Images 2013  2013 Twa Choir in Concert. © Zuhri Images 2013  2013 Twa Choir in Concert. © Zuhri Images 2013  2013 Twa Choir in Concert. © Zuhri Images 2013  2013 Twa Choir in Concert. © Zuhri Images 2013  2013 Twa Choir in Concert. © Zuhri Images 2013  2013 Twa Choir in Concert. © Zuhri Images 2013  2013 Twa Choir in Concert. © Zuhri Images 2013  2013 Twa Choir in Concert. © Zuhri Images 2013  2013 Twa Choir in Concert. © Zuhri Images 2013
2013 Twa Choir in Concert. © Zuhri Images 2013 
2013 Twa Choir in Concert. © Zuhri Images 2013  2013 Twa Choir in Concert. © Zuhri Images 2013

Story of a ring finger…

Meet Righa: “Christian Rapper-Singer, Songwriter, Recording & Performing Artiste.”

You probably know him from this, this, or [my personal favourite] this.

Charles Righa

Meet Saiton: “At the intersection of tech, business, fashion & music. Thankful to be incredibly & amazingly blessed. Kenyan-Ghanaian :)”

Saiton

I’m glad to have Righa as a brother. We’ve walked through fire together, helped each other up during tougher times, and plenty other brother stuff. So when he told me exactly 8 days ago that he was about to pop the big question smack in the middle of the 9am service at Mavuno Church, I recognised that look of nervous excitement as soon as he uttered the words.

Yes: He proposed to his beloved in front of a church of over 600 people. Gentlemen, I know you’re staring at your Man Card and wondering whether you’re worthy.

How exactly did he do it? How did he ask? What did she say? Did she cry? What happened? Tell me! Tell me!

You could always ask anyone that came to church that morning.

But weren’t you there?

Yes I was. But that’s not the point of this post.

Moving right along.

I caught up with the beautiful couple at Braeburn yesterday, where Righa was one of the singers at the 2013 edition of the annual “Twa Choir in Concert”.

I couldn’t pass up the chance at an engagement shoot of the newly engaged couple.

What follows is the result of a 5-minute blitz, before Righa had to head back to the stage.

Once upon a time, there was a girl...

Once upon a time, there was a girl…

She had a delightful smile, and she loved to show it off to the world...

She had a delightful smile, and she loved to show it off to the world…

Then a boy noticed that stunning smile...

Then a boy noticed that stunning smile…

...and decided to swing by to have a closer look!

…and decided to swing by to have a closer look!

He was intrigued by her - wanted to know so much more about her...

He was intrigued by her – wanted to know so much more about her…

Then he tapped into that poetic side of him...

Then he tapped into his poetic side…

...and she liked his style...

…and she liked his style…

But it wasn't just his flow - he looked at her like she was the most precious thing on earth...

But it wasn’t just his flow – he looked at her like she was the most precious thing on earth…

...and yes: In the end, he won her over. And not once did he ever fail to show it.

…and yes: In the end, he won her over. And not once did he ever fail to show it.

Once again: Congratulations, Righa and Saiton!

Righa: I’m proud of you, brother. Guys don’t get to hear this enough, and having been there, you deserve every last pat on the back. I salute you, sir. And I hereby present you with a gold-status Man Card.

[Seeing as I can only offer Righa my best man-to-man, how about YOU offer Saiton your congratulations via the comment section? Go on… 🙂 )

*-*-*

Bonus: Then this one showed up…

Hello Gathoni!

Hello Gathoni!

And of course I had to do them the honours!

Ahem: Noel, note that you've appeared on a post about an engagement. I'm just saying.

Ahem: Noel, note that you’ve appeared on a post about an engagement. I’m just saying.