Just A Band

The story of Just A Band begins on February 7th, 2003. Dan had just returned to Kenya from three years of travelling with a Touareg caravan led by Hazim Barghai, the 17th Mendicant Designate of Nubia (now deceased). He had long resolved to join the Brotherhood of the Nubia, and one day become a Designate, but a mishap during a routine exorcism (the massive crater thus formed remains a tourist site) left him hankering for peace and normalcy. While trying to settle back in Nairobi, he found work restoring old comics at the Azim Used Books Store.

Bill had no idea where he came from, having spent 13 years of his life under hypnosis. He came to his senses sometime in 2002, finding himself living in an abandoned convent in Limuru. All he had with him was his Ibanez, which he found he could play really well. Armed with his guitar, he discovered the Nairobi music scene and quickly became a fixture, playing sessions with various funk bands like Digibell Ku’damm and Conga-O-Matik.

Bill was rushing to The Astra for a performance on that fateful day, when he ran over Dan’s foot with his bright red Volkswagen van, leaving a permanent tire-tread shaped scar on Dan’s left foot. Bill drove Dan to the hospital in exchange for not having the police called in. It was during the ensuing hospital visits that Bill discovered that Dan was a skillful Misenkora player – Dan having learnt how to play the six-stringed desert lyre while on his travels with the Touareg caravan. The Misenkora is used to tame the Gora’In, a giant she-lizard which preys on the caravans of the Sahara.

Bill had always wanted to create a vintage acoustic-funk band, so he recruited Dan for his as-yet-untitled group. Dan then found a keyboardist for the group near his home in Ngummo: Jim. Jim spent many years of his youth serving Arabic coffee in the coffee and opium dens of Kilgoris. Having mastered the ancient Abyssinian coffee brewing techniques at an early age, he gained incredible prowess in creating much-desired flagons of Soulassengar – the ultimate Abyssinian beverage.

It was in these dens that Jim met and cultivated friendship with Daoussa Déby, an analogue synthesizer enthusiast who showed Jim the secret sound synthesis techniques of the Apatite Vecant, a pygmy tribe in Central Africa. Their friendship was short-lived, however, as Daoussa was killed in a freak accident involving carnivorous pigs.

Traumatised by the loss, Jim moved to Nairobi, finding respite in the city sewers (“Great acoustics”, he has been quoted as saying). It was from these sewers that the sounds of Jim’s music wafted up to Dan’s window. Dan clambered down into the sewers, and after much difficulty evading a tribe of subterranean herdsmen, he followed the sub-bass pulses that led him to Jim who was wedged in an air duct.

The three fellows met and hit it off immediately. At that point, all the boys needed was a name for their group. They visited a medium called Suqi (who Dan was dating at the time) who started off by warning Bill that his van was possessed by a 3,000 year old spirit who loved funk but had probably caused Bill to run over Dan’s foot. Asked if she could visualize what name they should adopt, Suqi spoke a single word in Dholuo to the astonished boys, which could only be loosely translated as “just one band”.

The boys sold Bill’s van to a Volkswagen enthusiast known as Buda (who was since involved in a random accident with the van), and used the money to buy a couple of instruments – little knowing that they were on their way to forming a little band known as Just A Band.

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