Njoroge redefines jazz at Guvnor

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It is a no-brainer that the jazz genre has made commendable inroads into Uganda’s entertainment scene. The category is undoubtedly on the rise, looking at the number of jazz events taking place recently.

Fans dance to Njoroge's jazz tunes during the Johnnie Walker Jazz Night
Fans dance to Njoroge’s jazz tunes during the Johnnie Walker Jazz Night

The genre is mostly looked at as a ‘laid back’ sort of entertainment where most of the audience sips away at their expensive drinks as they relax in a serene environment. To an extent, that is true.
However, Kiracho Njoroge seems to have redefined the genre. On Thursday September 1, 2016, he headlined the third edition of the Johnnie Walker sponsored Jazz Night at Guvnor.

Elijah Kitaka (2ndR) and David Oguttu keenly follow Njoroge's performance during the Johnnie Walker Jazz Night
Elijah Kitaka (2ndR) and David Oguttu keenly follow Njoroge’s performance during the Johnnie Walker Jazz Night

The audience that attends jazz events is one that views at itself as sophisticated and classy. When it comes to time keeping, they are on point, dress code; basically appearances matter. Everything has to be impeccable.

Njoroge Kiracho performing at Guvnor during the Johnnie Walker Jazz Night
Njoroge Kiracho performing at Guvnor during the Johnnie Walker Jazz Night

Little wonder therefore that by 7pm, Guvnor’s main section was already packed. Johnnie Walker as is the norm served free ‘Johnnie Ginger’ (cocktail of Red Label, Stoney and ice).

Guests purchase Njoroge's music CDs during the Johnnie Walker Jazz Night at Guvnor
Guests purchase Njoroge’s music CDs during the Johnnie Walker Jazz Night at Guvnor

By the time Njoroge stepped on stage, it was a non-stop mix of the best live band action. He teamed up with his former colleague at Qwela Band, Joe Kahirimbanyi, kicking off his performance with songs like I’m local, African smile, Great is thy faith, Eastern Bull, It’s alright before inviting Mo-Roots, a multi-instrumentalist who is also a member of Qwela Band.

Jazz isn't necessarily a laid back genre. Njoroge's performance kept guests on their feet
Jazz isn’t necessarily a laid back genre. Njoroge’s performance kept guests on their feet

By this time of course, the myth that jazz is a boring, laid back genre had either been demystified or Njoroge had added a new touch to it. What else would explain the dance floor that was now jammed with a cocktail of dance moves?
With Mo-Roots playing the Saxophone, Njoroge continued belting out sweet melodies from his bass guitar. Then just as guests thought they had danced enough, Charmat Mushaga, an acclaimed guitarist added spice. He strums at his guitar adding ‘lingala’ vibes to the jazzy event.

Njoroge (L) performing at the Johnnie Walker Jazz Night
Njoroge (L) performing at the Johnnie Walker Jazz Night

Songs like ‘Just thought I would say, Wettin’ A’ Do, with a West African vibe to it, kept the audience dancing. Then he slowed it down with a single, ‘Angel’ that he dedicated to his wife. To conclude the night’s proceedings, the audience requested for a replay of ‘I’m local.’
Speaking prior to the event, Lois Aber, the Johnnie Walker Brand Manager said that the Jazz Night is an event that aims at promoting local jazz artistes.
“Jazz has a huge following in Uganda. However, the fact that the artistes that are appreciated most are not the local ones, we have decided to promote our local talent with this night,” she explained.
The next Jazz Night with Johnnie Walker and 106.1 Jazz FM is scheduled for November 3, 2016 at the same venue.

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