Tandawazi,’ stands for ‘limitless’ in Swahili and is a one of a kind event on Nairobi’s social scene. Embrace yourself for an exhilarating combination of dance, music and martial arts, at this year’s edition, which will be at the National Museum of Kenya on December1st. One of the highlights at the festival is the Brazilian dance and martial arts form, Capoeira, with global masters of the art bracing themselves to showcase skill and finesse before a multicultural gathering. Of Afro-Caribbean origins, Capoeira is a graceful blend of dance, music and martial arts.
African slaves in Brazilian and Caribbean plantations practised Capoiera for entertainment and self-defence starting from the 16th century onwards. Participants sing and play instruments while those on stage respond in agile combinations of acrobatic stunts and martial arts. Brian Owango, the event facilitator is also a dance instructor and Capoeira tutor in Huruma, Nairobi. “The beauty of Capoiera in Kenya is that it cuts across social classes and ages. Children living in slums as well as corporates attend my classes,” says Brian who uses a car garage as his classroom. “Tandawazi,” he clarifies, “is not a charity event but an empowerment initiative.”
The event aims at raising funds for Project Baraza; to build and refurbish community youth centres in under privileged neighbourhoods. He considers this a means of fostering self-reliance. “I keep fit, busy and get entertained by Capoeira,” attests Ayub D’Coasta, a Dandora resident. “Capoeira has become my way of life. Besides acrobatics, I also used to teach dancing at Hillcrest School and got income thanks to Capoeira classes,” he enthuses. Kenyan art forms, Owango says, are increasingly dependent on corporate recognition. “If they [corporates] keep giving art the nod as they are now, then arts will go places.” He mentions Kenya Airways having engaged Capoeira performers at the launch of their maiden direct flight to Angola on August 17th 2010. Previous support has also come from the Brazilian Embassy, Heineken, Java House and Absolut Vodka among others.
Brian Owango looks up to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland (largest world arts festival) and aims to model Tandawazi after it. Great acts expected at the festival are; Mestre Ediandro, Capoeira master from Banzo de Senzala Barcelona, Spain, Jody Schroeder, expert dancer from London and Gabriel Limaverde, Brazilian Berimbau (musical bow) maker. Afro-Indian fusion will witness classical Indian dancer Vishaka Shah getting down with contemporary dancers, drummers and a dhol player to deliver exciting music promoting coexistence. From the Kenyan front we will see songstress Kaz leading Kenyan divas in a blazing concert that will rock the party. Chalo T, Wakake, The Slum Drummers and Shabani Musyoka will also shower us with a percussion avalanche.
Tandawazi Coastal versions are also held in Malindi in April covering cuisine sampling, fashion and art experiences. Proceeds from this event will specifically go towards building a dance studio in Huruma. “Empowerment,” says Owango, “is what the young people need to avoid the vicious cycle depicted in the film, Nairobi Half Life which, unfortunately is the reality here.” To exercise your flexibility and expand your horizon, attend a Capoeira workshop at the National Museum prior to the festival from 26th to 30th November. Advance tickets retail at kes 800 while door tickets cost kes 1000.
|< Prev||Next >|
By Mark Namaswa