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Mankind. Photo by CJ Pixels.

This Is What the First Edition of the 'Hand-Forged in Kenya' Music Series Looked Like

'Hand-Forged in Kenya' kicked off to an epic start in Nairobi.

OkayAfrica, Bateleur Brewery and The Alchemist Bar joined forces to launch a new live music series, Hand-Forged in Kenya, that is focused on showcasing rising Kenyan talent to fans both locally and globally.

The first edition took place on Saturday, April 6, at The Alchemist Bar in Nairobi and it was a night to remember. Nairobians showed up in the hundreds to support their local talent and it was a beautiful scene to witness.


Songstress Ru.BY kicked off the night, which was curated by our Nairobi-based contributor Camille Storm, with an incredibly lively performance that included throwback Kenyan classics as well songs from her latest Hey There EP. Her captivating stage presence had many rushing to the dance floor in no time and she set the pace for the rest of the night.

Fox Elijah and his band, BLK GLD RPLK, later enthralled the audience with a mind-blowing hip-hop-meets-reggae fusion set. Alternative-pop duo Mankind shut the house down when they performed their hit single "Take and Go" for fans that had been yearning to see the duo play live for the first time.

It was difficult to leave the dance floor once Mix Master Lenny took over the decks—and he kept the party going 'til the early morning. What an epic start to what is looking to be a very exciting music series. All video and photography by Craig Mumo Kilili (CJ Pixels).

Check out how it all went down in the clip below!


Ru.BY. Photo by CJ Pixels.

Ru.BY. Photo by CJ Pixels.

Fox Elijah. Photo by CJ Pixels.

Fox Elijah. Photo by CJ Pixels.

Mankind. Photo by CJ Pixels.

Mankind. Photo by CJ Pixels.

Mankind. Photo by CJ Pixels.

Music
Photo by Don Paulsen/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Hugh Masekela's New York City Legacy

A look back at the South African legend's time in New York City and his enduring presence in the Big Apple.

In Questlove's magnificent documentary, Summer of Soul, he captures a forgotten part of Black American music history. But in telling the tale of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, the longtime musician and first-time filmmaker also captures a part of lost South African music history too.

Among the line-up of blossoming all-stars who played the Harlem festival, from a 19-year-old Stevie Wonder to a transcendent Mavis Staples, was a young Hugh Masekela. 30 years old at the time, he was riding the wave of success that came from releasing Grazing in the Grass the year before. To watch Masekela in that moment on that stage is to see him at the height of his time in New York City — a firecracker musician who entertained his audiences as much as he educated them about the political situation in his home country of South Africa.

The legacy Masekela sowed in New York City during the 1960s remains in the walls of the venues where he played, and in the dust of those that are no longer standing. It's in the records he made in studios and jazz clubs, and on the Manhattan streets where he once posed with a giant stuffed zebra for an album cover. It's a legacy that still lives on in tangible form, too, in the Hugh Masekela Heritage Scholarship at the Manhattan School of Music.

The school is the place where Masekela received his education and met some of the people that would go on to be life-long bandmates and friends, from Larry Willis (who, as the story goes, Masekela convinced to give up opera for piano) to Morris Goldberg, Herbie Hancock and Stewart Levine, "his brother and musical compadre," as Mabusha Masekela, Bra Hugh's nephew says.

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