Lamu island will come alive with entertainment from next Thursday to Sunday when it hosts the annual Lamu Arts Festival.
The island has been abuzz with excitement in the build-up to the event to be held in three different venues on the island. Locals have been sprucing up hotels and restaurants in readiness of the festival, organised in partnership with the Lamu Painters Festival. This will be the festival's fourth anniversary.
Among the groups to perform at the festival will be the Nairobi-based Mangelepa band.
Speaking to the Saturday Nation on Tuesday, veteran Mangelepa band leader Kabila Kabanze said he and his group were elated have an opportunity to perform on Lamu Island for the first time. The band was formed 43 years ago.
The group is known for some of its popular songs such as “Embakasi”, “Walter” and the chart-busting “Nyako Konya”.
Kabanze will be accompanied by his long-time associates and fellow vocalists Kalenga Nzazi and Lutulu Kanicky.
“We are inviting all our fans at the coast and also those from upcountry to be join us during the festival," he said.
In the first show on Thursday, the group will perform at the Coal Mine in Maweni Village on Manda Island. This area is dominated by members of the Luo community who migrated there in the early 1980s. Most of them have a sentimental attachment to the Luo titles of Les Mangelepa’s songs, especially “Nyako Konya”. The song was composed by Badibanga wa Tshilumba, who died in 2015.
On Friday, the band will move down to the traditional square of Lamu Town, where they will alternate with the Al Noor Sunny Taarab band, a popular local outfit. The Friday show will also feature a performance by the Nairobi String Quartet and a presentation by Interactive Beach Art, which will feature a guest speaker, Augustin Noffice.
On Saturday, Les Mangelepa will be the highlight during another African music performance to be held at the Diamond Beach Village. There will also be a special presentation of “Kites and Flags in the Monsoon Kaskazi Winds" from 1pm to 5pm and a be a fabrics display at the Shela Beach.