Open Mic
Kwani? Open Mic Reloaded July 2012

Open Mic

Kwani? Open Mic Reloaded July 2012

Featured Poet: Monaja
Featured Artist: Anto and Paragasha Band

MC: Cindy Ogana
Date: 3rd July 2012
Time: 7 -9 pm
Venue: Club Soundd
Entry: 200 Ksh

Monaja makes a return to July’s edition of Kwani? Open Mic after featuring in July last year. He has gone from living abroad to adjusting to Nairobi life then readjusting to the countryside, and cites culture shock as a significant influence on his unorthodox musical style. "I think I've picked up a lot from the places I've grown up in, and that's why my music is very content-oriented and twisted", he says. He grew up in Langata where his love for music blossomed, playing the piano while listening to Da Brat, Shaggy, The Fugees, Nas, Bone thugs n harmony and Lost Boyz. Some favourite local influences include Eric Wainaina, Shades of Black, Poxi Presha and his all-time greatest musical influence, the hip hop group K-South Flava. He began performing in 2004 and went on to feature in shows at Florida 2000 and Club Skiliza in 2005, in Nairobi.

Anto and Paragasha Band
There is a new revolution in African music and African sound and Antony Mwangi aka ANTO is one of the leading revolutionaries enchanting Kenyans and soon Africa and the world with a sound that has been described as 'The fresh export of the world'. He is presently 24 years old yet his spontaneity and sheer musical vocal brilliance is testimony to years of experience in musical performance.  "He started to sing when he was only three years old", says his mother, Mrs. Lucy N. Ndung'u "Roberta Flack's 'Killing me softly' was the first song he hummed along to." Since then Anto has performed for the former President of Kenya and even held a private performance for the late Cardinal Maurice Otunga first Kenyan to become an archbishop and a cardinal. His's performances are a showcase of a young man's pursuit of worldly truth as he churns music that demystifies love, hate, pain, joy, childhood, poverty, war, hope and more than anything else he is an ambassador of a new African and Universal Renaissance.

Backed by a 6 piece band, Anto's real world comes alive when on stage and he electrifies the atmosphere combining his unique wide vocal range with a tinge of poetry and dance moves that shake even the calmest of souls to embrace and celebrate life. No stage however big is great enough as music is the platform that unites us all and with a crowd of 2 or 20,000 people he delivers and delivers to the utmost. His musical influences is centered along music that turns an ear with a specific liking for Jazz influences including Nina Simone, Diana Krall, Norah Jones, Aretha Franklin, Herbie Hancock and African Legends; Angelique Kidjo, Salif Keita, Baaba Maal, Miriam Makeba and at home, Kenyan Carol Atemi (African Songbird.). No doubt Anto has developed a unique repertoire of musical genre. This talented young man even makes up songs on cue - on a subject of the audience's choice! His lively style of performance and audience engagement have earned him accolade both as a singer and event host.

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