Kwani? Open Mic Reloaded July 2010
Featuring: Anto Neo Soul and Dan No. 8
MC: Cindy Ogana
Date: 6th July
Venue: Club Soundd
Entry: 100 ksh
About The Featured Musician and Poet
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 a fresh but refined talent straight from Nairobi, Kenya ready to take on the world.
This 24 year old’s spontaneity and sheer musical vocal brilliance is testimony to many years of experience in musical performance having started singing at a tender age. He has performed for The former President of Kenya at a tender age of 12 and even held a private performance for Kenya’s sole Cardinal; Cardinal Maurice Otunga (RIP). His 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.
Anto and has a unique repertoire including his popular blues rendition of the crowd’s choice. This talented young man even makes up songs on cue – on a subject of the audience’s choice!
This blues-type rendition of (usually) issues is one of Anto’s unique selling points – his crowd engagement skills are earning him accolade as both singer and event host.
His hosting talent doubles up with witty humour and those amazing vocal abilities. His charisma and charming good looks endear him to diverse crowds – from “leafy”, up market crowds to effervescent “dark and smoky” Club Soundd in Nairobi’s vibrant city centre.
“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.” Clearly inordinately proud of his achievements, she goes on to praise him for having sung for years in her choir.
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 centred 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.)
These are some of the excerpts from journalists and how they describe this new revolution:
'From a humble background, patience, persistence and perseverance have taught this young man to share his love of Music to the world and to you especially his eager fans with music that fuses, love, deception, struggle, strength and a spice of innate passion to sing and perform! Anto is in the studio, churning a fusion of Afro, Reggae and Neo Soul sounds that will liberate you to love, protest, chant, embrace and accept us for who we are! Be ready to be entertained, detained and inspired! This is to all those who believe in Anto and it's just the beginning! "
"This young man will stalk the earth intellectually but sparkingly intuitively. He is spontaneous and unassailably brilliant"
Anto who is a 2009 MTV Africa Music Awards Nominee writes his own music which is a fusion of world music, Jazz, Afro Jazz, Reggae and NeoSoul to create new sound we can only call World Soul. With a growing cult like following comprising of multiracial, youthful, elderly and every day common man as his fans , Anto believes that it is time: (and in his own words)
“It is time that we stand up to be counted. It is time we sang a new song. A song of hope and joy. It is time we redefined our structures, our pillars our beacons. It is time I stood up and be counted to use my God given talent and not only fill the world with music, but music that travels beyond borders, languages and cultures to bring smiles and transcend those smiles to a state of joy by telling stories that are universal and that can bring change.”
His youth and versatility make him willing to tour the world with the aim of empowering the lives of women, children and poor families.
"My name is Dann Mwangi Njoroge. I am 24 years old and just completed my degree at Kenyatta University studying BA (Business Studies and Economics).
I began reciting poetry in high school (The Lenana School) in form 1 and represented the school in the national music festivals from form 1 through form 4. I was best in Nairobi in form 3 (2001). Despite this, I was not a fan of poetry; I actually thought it to be boring; I was rather indifferent about it. I began to write my own poetry in 2006. Actually, my first poem is dated 12th July 2006. I am not the "academic" or classical poet who is bound to number of stanzas, lines per stanza, use of queen's English or coastal Swahili, etc. I write as I would speak on the street. My style is heavily biased towards hiphop (I have actually been told that what I do is called "hip-poetry").
Simply put, God is my inspiration. All I do is founded on Him. My poetry is based on what I see around me, what I know, what I think, feel, go through, what other people go through, etc as it is, brought into the open through words as inspired by God in His own time and way.
I go by the stage name Number8. This is because I appreciate the fact that it is humanly impossible to be perfect, (perfection being symbolized by the number 7); Jesus urged us to be perfect (Matthew 5:48) so I'm chasing after perfection like number 8 (metaphorically speaking). This is not to say that I'm greater than God (Perfection), but rather implying that IF ever I am to become perfect, I must decrease (John 3:30 "…I must decrease").
I'm part of a ministry known as MISSION DRIVEN ( blog.missiondrivenministry.org). We are a Bible Study who are also gifted in various artistic ways. We use our artistic ability alongside other abilities to pass on the Truth that we learn from our Bible Studies and fellowship.
We perform our music live (band). We minister through hiphop &spoken-word poetry, leading worship, Bible study facilitation and discipleship. This is my mother ministry meaning that Number8 is a presentation of Mission Driven. I rap alongside phenomenal rappers, amazing singers and seasoned instrumentalists who all inspire me and teach me a lot as we are one in faith plus most of them have been in the music scene longer than I have. We are primarily based in A.I.C Ngong Road.
I recite/perform my poetry/spoken word at Poets' club at my church (A.I.C Ngong Road), NuMetro at The Junction, P.C.E.A St. Andrews' Eve of poetry, WAPI, Kwani?(Where I contested and won the slam in December 2008), Daas Restaurant during SLAM Africa (where I was 2nd in JULY 2008 and won the October 2008 SLAM competition), during our performances as Mission Driven and any other opportunity I get, like I did a piece in the movie BENTA in which I co-starred.
I was officially launched into the public eye on 8th August 2008 (08/08/08). It was a spoken word concert coupled with a pre-album concert showcasing some of the songs in our (Mission Driven) sophomore album to be released this Year(2009)"
I am currently working with SISIMKA Productions as a script-writer for some series to be aired on NTV.