A Celebration of Live Music
The monthly GoDown Gig was a highly anticipated live music performance platform which ran between 2013 and February 2019. The event, which was a staple on Nairobi’s social events calendar, was designed to showcase local talent at its best.
There was no cover charge making it accessible and a melting pot for music enthusiasts from diverse backgrounds from Nairobi and its environs.
Each Gig event staged three musical acts and was open to performers of diverse styles of music including Afro-Fusion, Benga, Genge and Afro-Jazz. The Gig offered new artists the exposure to live audiences that they needed in the development of their performance craft. It was an important platform in the careers of successful musical acts such as Suzanna Owiyo, Jua Kali, Sarabi, Hart –The Band, Nazizi, Juliani, Kidum, Makadem among many others.
The Magic of Live Band Performance – Reflecting on The GoDown Gig and the Live Performance Culture
Between 2013 and January of 2019, The GoDown ran a monthly live band showcase known as The GoDown Gig. The event was a staple of Nairobi’s arts scene and drew musicians and music lovers from far and wide. Each event featured three musical acts each month, overall presenting a robust variety of talent to suit different tastes; from Afro-Fusion,to Benga, Genge and Afro-Jazz. It was an important platform in the careers of successful musical acts such as Suzanna Owiyo, Jua Kali, Sarabi, Hart –The Band, Nazizi, Juliani, Kidum, Makadem, among many others.
One might easily dismiss this as simply another event on the music scene. But its inclusion in The GoDown’s programming calendar was deliberate and strategic – a key component of our organizational mission to inspire and enrich lives through arts, culture, and creativity. One of our goals is to facilitate the development of diverse art forms and the emergence of independent artists. As a space for creativity, with a focus on performing and visual arts, live band performance literally has its place centre stage at The GoDown.
Music scholar Prof. Emily Achieng Akuno of The Cooperative University of Kenya states that “music is more than a body of sounds. It is a concept, and object of art and an event of socio-cultural significance.” She posits that “Music as a work of art has a dual function – recreation and ritual. It serves physical and emotional needs while addressing and cementing psychosocial and spiritual relationships.” A musical gig is so much more than its name suggests. “Because of the intricate way in which music is woven into human existence, it embodies the essence of a people, portraying and constructing their identity.” (Akuno 2005, 2008)