Kwani? Open Mic Reloaded June 2010

Featuring: Winyo, Wanjiku Mwaura, Mstari wa Nnne, Kennet B
MC: Cindy Ogana
Date: 8th June
Time: 7 PM
Venue: Club Soundd
100 Ksh

About The Featured Poets and Musician
Formed in November 2008, the group is a quintet comprising of Njeri Wangari, Dennis “Grand Master Masese” Mosiere , Leon “The Chairman” Kiptum, Maik "Shoes" Kwambo and Dennis Inkwa. All seasoned poets in their own right.The Name “Mstari Wa Nne”, Swahili for the fourth line, was coined at the group’s inception when four poets decided to work together.

Group membership has since grown to five, but they have opted to retain the name.They have individually honed their skills at various poetry forums such the Kwani? Open Mic at Club Soundd, WAPI at the British Council and Rhythm and Spoken at the Daas Ethiopian Restaurant. Mstari Wa Nne has a vision of diversity in poetry, literary arts, music and culture, making their work quite unique.

Born Shiphton Onyango, Winyo adopted his artistic name ‘Winyo’, which is a Luo word (a tribe from the Lake Victoria region of Western Kenya) for “a bird”. The reason for this becomes apparent once you hear him sing. His voice has been likened to that of a singing bird. Winyo is a singer/songwriter of great sensitivity and an acoustic guitar player, backed by his 5piece band of accomplished musicians, Winyo derives his music and musical strength from his fore fathers whose African music was rich in melody and traditional harmonies. His musical style ranges from traditional Luo melodies infused with witty story lines, afro fusion and afro jazz, to a contemporary interpretation of Benga, transformed into an authentic acoustic sound. His powerful yet mellow vocals are the icing on the cake that makes listening to Winyo, an almost heavenly experience. Winyo sings in his paternal language of Dholuo, and Swahili with a smattering of English. His stories address a myriad of social issues ranging from the plight of homeless children to courtship and love stories.

“Spontaneity is my middle name and being a dreamer is a strength I have.

I hail from central Kenya born was raised there!

Poetry…? I like thinking a lot… the special thing about my thinking is that I like thinking in short sentences. And the best way to put that down is through poetry. Poetry is a way of relaying a message through in short and precise and sometimes intense manner.

How did we get started…Poetry and I, go back a long way. As a kid, I would go for solo verses but there, I only experienced a prescribed form of the art, where I did as was asked and but not as I would have wanted. However, being on stage for poetry stopped for the four years I was in high school though I was composing poems, more of a way to express my self than for performance.

Premier show: It started as a favour for a friend who needed a poem for scrutiny and I performed for the people present and Wham!!! A Eureka kind of feeling engulfed me and I realized that I had to keep at it…. Or lose it (the talent) for life. Since then I normally have a poem for every occasion.

Inspiration: I get deep warm feeling that provokes me to write every time, from different things in life like an experience, a person I have met, a social vice or simply a good feeling from within. Also from neo-soul artists and other poets like Thea Monyee, Georgia me, among others who have contributed to an expansion in my poetic horizon. That also explains why I normally carry a note book with me… Coz I never know when the inspiration will strike.

Aspirations: I always dreamt of being an astronaut…There was something out of this world (literally and not literally) I felt, as I envisioned myself up on space. Now the dream has changed to an innate desire to express myself as eloquently as I can, through the spoken word! And that is just a comeback from my past which I am pursuing.

Achievements: There is an inner satisfaction that comes with being able to follow through with your dream and that is the first achievement I have. Others include sharing a platform with great poets like Pepe Haze, Wanjeri Gakuru, the Kenyan poet, and many more great poets, and doing the spoken word in motivational forums in the city.

Last word: There is so much simplicity in life if only we would learn to see it, revel in it and indulge in it!”

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