The Vault: October 2012

The Vault

The past Sunday, after church, I found myself rushing to meet up a friend (hereafter referred to as “my friend”) who was supposed to take me to an event I had only heard of just 15 hours prior. When my friend explained that the event was to be at the Kenya National Archives, I gave her that look that is supposed to tell someone, “is this some kind of a joke?” I had been to the National Archives before, and I did not see how an event would be held there … well, till we got there and were ushered upstairs, where I had never been to. What welcomed us when we got to where the event was to be held was half of the people on the dance floor with Ken the DJ playing Lecrae’s More. And that was my first impression of The Vault.

 The Vault is a bi-monthly gospel hip hop event which gives a platform to up and coming artists as well as seasoned artists to perform. It is held at the Kenya National Archives from 2PM to 6PM and the first hour, dubbed the hype session is a session for the Deejays to do their thing and ensure everyone is kept on their feet. It is the brain child of Dangee, whom I had the opportunity to say hi to thanks to my friend. This is my account of the first, of many subsequent Vault events, that I attended recently.

 My friend had a role to play in the event, and as a result, I got to sit at the VIP with her, how cool. Moreover, since – not being a hip hop fan – I had no idea of the artists who were going to perform, I needed someone in the know to break it down for me and she did a great job. The hype session extended till about 3:30PM and I must say, Ken the DJ is a really really great DJ, considering I had never heard of him. The MC, Othole, a producer, also did his best to hype the crowd. Within no time, the artists started performing.

 SPAT were first on stage because they had to leave early. The event could not have asked for better artists to perform. They did a good job with songs like Don’t Listen, Change and Celebrate keeping everyone on their feet. SoReal performed Let Go – a song I was hearing for the first time, like most songs that were performed, but whose chorus is still stuck in my head. What I liked about him is that he used exactly 10 minutes, which was the allocated time per artist. H3, who I got to hear has a Masters in Finance or something performed No Turning Back (which is a very good song) and Freedom. I am waiting for his new single, Fame, coming out this week. I hope someone will hook me up.

 Other performers included Maluda, who has a Barry White kind of Bass. If there is a guy who kept everyone on their feet, it is this guy. And he did it for a whole 25 minutes. We were introduced to a new artist called Sam who performed Amaizing Grace, another song which is stuck in my head. The fact that he came after Maluda did him little justice in that with all the jumping, most people had decided to take a breather. Moreover, I thought the song was kind of slow so people would not really jump up and down. Nevertheless, it was one of the best songs performed, according to me.

 My friend and I decided to get juice from The Vault Cafe which has other snacks like Hot Dogs, Samosas and Sodas. She complained that the cocktail was not too good, and I could say the same about the passion juice I took, especially considering the price. Next time I will take a soda. Also, I hope they introduce mango juice because my friend likes mango juice. We found Dan-Gee on stage performing Not Guilty and later a remake of the popular Sunday School song “If you are happy and you know.”

 What I will remember for a long long time about this event will be the performance of Nasara. He started with beat-boxing and the guy is like super talented. I had never seen anyone do it like that. Point Black, who is a secular artist, and his friend whose name I cannot remember were invited to freestyle. Again, I think the only place I have seen anyone freestyle better was in 8 Mile and I am not exaggerating. He is that good! He free-styled two songs, Nasara beat-boxing for him, and the second song totally blew me away. Later, Nasara performed Like Christ. Unfortunately, we had to leave just before the main artists of the day, Kelele Takatifu performed.

 Perhaps I should mention the good work done by DJ Priestly and DJ Joel, who were working alongside Ken the DJ; and the event’s sponsors Christ Powered Radio, Kelele Republic, xHoodz, Epic Concerts and Try Crew.

 My parting shot is that there are a lot of positives with the event. The only downside is time management, which I think the organisers should address. The event almost started on time, but some artists took more time on stage than they were allocated. At some point, we were given questionnaires on our view of the event, which I found to be a good way of getting to know how people view the event. You can follow the event on twitter, thevault254 and on facebook. It is an event I would recommend any hip hop fan not to miss. Make it a date on Dec 2 for the next edition.

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Matatu Etiquete by Alffie

Most Kenyans have or have had many encounters with this iconic Kenyan means of transport. But like many things, they are prone to abuse & disturbing trends. The matatu operators-some not all-are incorrigible so I won’t talk of them. My focus is the passengers. This is addressed to most of us I suppose.. If you see yourself here…let me put it this way; someone is watching & not liking the view.

Do not play music on your phone (China or otherwise) on loudspeaker! We board matatus with no music for just that reason: no music = quiet! It’s not rocket science. Take the hint!

Receiving phone calls is inevitable but you can control what conversations to have where. CCK categorizes phone calls as private conversation, so please don’t torture others with your endless & LOUD calls! No one wants to know how many chicken you have at home or that you take hot showers in the evenings!!

A prelude to an annoying call is, more often than not, a just as annoying ring-tone! Worse still you let it ring for so long like you want everyone to hear it! The vibrate feature on your phone is a feature to be used.. it wasn’t just a marketing pitch!! On the off-chance that your phone doesn’t vibrate or may have valid reasons not to use it, please don’t let it ring more than 3 times or beyond the count of 10! As a side note: An “I’m a Barbie girl” ring-tone?! You are a grown man, what do you want us to think? That you are a … or a … A ring-tone says a lot about u! So choose your ring tone wisely!

Someone else’s phone is their own property and by extension, their own business so DO NOT SNOOP to find out what they are browsing or texting or posting or tweeting! I never say this but GET A LIFE!!

Worse than playing loud music from your phone is singing! Why would we want you to sing? Unless you are Mary J Blige, Cece Winans, Chrisette Michelle, Lauryn Hill, Dela, Atemi, Nanjira or the like.. PLEASE DO NOT SING…ANYTHING in a matatu!! We don’t want to hear you KILL music. Men…don’t even think about trying to sing!

When you sneeze in a matatu, please cover your mouth and open the window. After H1N1 and the likes of TB, we’d like to still be healthy when we get home. Always carry a handkerchief – a dozen costs only 200!!

You know those seat belts you see inside? They are not for aesthetic value. They are actually for your safety so use them! (Plus it’s the law to use them!) Don’t go shouting at the driver every time he hits a bump and you don’t have your seatbelt on!! *This depends on how well fitted they are so choose your matatus wisely too!

The matatu driver is doing his job.. he didn’t come to your office to tell you how to do your job so stop giving him directions as to the best & presumably shorter short cuts you think he should use!!

Do not disturb..*now in caps* DO NOT DISTURB a passenger with earphones (or headphones) with your uncanny ability to talk about the mundane details of politics, weather & of course..the road construction. They are listening to music or maybe even audio books so that they don’t chit-chat with you or people like you! So please, get your own music box or just fall back!!

You don’t have to see everything along the road you are using so stop craning your head every time the matatu stops like you want to save the day. Newsflash! That pilsner Ad on TV is just an Ad! You can’t help clear a jam like that! Plus, you use that route almost daily, what new thing can crop up along the road in 8-10hrs (time within which you are at work)..in Kenya?!!

Ask the fare cost before you board. Causing drama and throwing tantrums when the *kange gets to you when everyone else has paid the default amount doesn’t make you Rosa Parks-you are not fighting anyone’s right other than your own right…to look stupid!

The *kange is not in the least bit psychic or telepathic to know where you are to alight so inform him when you are about to reach your destination instead of sitting back and going into fits of vain rage when you are clearly to blame when the matatu doesn’t stop at your stop. Your outbursts just make you look psychotic & telepathic*

Removing your shoes, picking your nose, teeth plus all the other “Ushenzi” behavior should be a common sense thing not to be done in a matatu (among many other places).

If you like to sleep in a matatu and you can’t keep from leaning on your neighbour & even drool, get yourself a neck-brace! That should keep your head upright! Or just don’t sleep!!

Your cologne or perfume should be just enough! The point is to make sure your natural odor (read ‘sweat’) is kept at bay not to suffocate people so that they don’t get to smell your odor! Subtlety is the key in choosing the cologne/perfume for you. The other extreme is just as bad if not worse!

Learn to keep your cool, understand what a quarrel between a passenger & kange is about before you publicly display your ignorance because contrary to popular belief the customer can be wrong & often times is irrational!

So you know you are supposed to pay fare so why do you wait to be asked & give the kange a puzzled look like he’s bothering u? You didn’t think it was free did you?!!

So you board a matatu with a friend or 2.. your escapades are your own so keep your chatting A.L.A.P – As Low As Possible! Other passengers are not really interested to know!

*kange – Derived from ‘Makanga’ a variation of ‘Manamba’ which is equal to ‘conductor’ or ‘tout’ which points to the person in the matatu responsible for collecting fare from passengers, signaling the driver to stop the bus for passengers to alight & sometimes act as a co-driver.

Disclaimer: These are just what I’ve seen & experienced. I’m sure there are many many more.

 

Find More Writings by Alffie here