Boa Mistura promoting Made In Kibera

After touring around Barcelona, Zaragoza, Valladolid, Granada and Santander, Boa Mistura, these five street artists from Spain arrived to Kibera to develop an intervention that none of us will ever forget. 

Boa Mistura and Made in Kibera artists shared many days in the public square Laini Saba, were the painting was done. At the end, the atmosphere of friendship was fantastic and they became the first to demand a request for the project!

This is the result, enjoy it!

The story of Wikedest

Wikedest works part time in the laundry department of one of the public hospitals of Nairobi. He has a wife and two kids and, although he is not from Kibera, he moved in several years ago. Back then he discovered a secret, that Kibera is a beautiful place to live, and now he is its best ambassador, talking and singing its virtues and inviting the people to come visit.

Music has accompanied Wikedest all his life. He recalls the day he and his classmates realized he could sing. It was 1999 and Shaggy´s Bombastic song was a hype. He memorized it and came to class to share it with his mates. They were astonished, “you can sing!” they said, and he believed them.

He recognizes music is a difficult industry and talent alone is not enough, marketing is essential too. Although now radios and TVs are spreading around Kenya, it is still a challenge for artist because the well-established artists try to shout down upcoming ones. However, Wikedest is not going to give up and keeps singing and walking around Kibera with a smile in his face, greeting people from in and out the slum.

The story of Philip Oyoo

Philip Oyoo, also known as Baba or Phlexible moves comfortably among the narrow streets and ditches of Kibera. It is usual to see him walking the slum up and down, always moving, active, taking part in countless meetings of social cooperatives and initiatives.

Phlexible was lucky to have someone who paid for his primary and secondary education. Once he graduated from high school he had no doubt of what he wanted to do: become a music producer. However, his sponsor, considering that profession had no future in the slum, pressured him to opt for a more traditional career as a carpenter or a teacher. But Phlexible never chooses the easy way and he firmly believes that music is passion.

For Flexible, music is a way of life. He rehearses two times a week with other artists with a small speaker and he dreams of having his own studio production equipment that will enable him to be self-sufficient. 

The story of Daddy Evans

Daddy Evans acknowledges having a great talent and he is proud to talk about it. He has never recorded a song, he has never been on the radio and he has barely participated in small concerts in Kibera. However, listening to his lyrics, style and strength, it is hardly understandable.

Not only is his style, pausing and deep, defining of him, his message also talks by itself. He wants his music to be an inspiration for younger people whom he shares concerns with. Evans invites the young to find their talent to thrive and especially to be happy. “Pay yourself by being happy” he says.

Daddy Evans emphasizes the importance of showing the positive side of the slum: its people, businesses, initiatives, struggles… However, he thinks that, if we have to include the negative, it has to be always be viewed to find a different angle.  Moreover, as he concludes, the media will take over focusing in the negative.

Reggae from Kibera

We step in the Air Force One, as they know it. A square room, small, made of wood and metal, build on top of a big water tank that provides water to part of the Laini Saba village. A place where arts, music, social initiative and solidarity are protagonists. 

Air Force One is the office of the Guetto Youth Focus Foundation (GYFF) a group of young who give support to the community, specially children, from 2009. Their departments of sports, dance, theatre and music link with cleaning initiatives and synergies with several NGOs that work in Kibera. 

The group of singers, coming from all the villages of Kibera (it has 13) are getting to work. Improvising some lines, making a mistake and to stop, ask and consult what sounds better, and suggestions… this is what motivates the artists, and makes them think about something big. The song is dedicated to their hometown, Kibera, probably the biggest slum in Africa with almost 550,000 registered people (plus the ones that are not censed).

This song is about supporting children in their development to avoid crime and drugs; it is about a working community that in 2012 the Economist defined as the world´s most enterprising place; is about the union of their people through social movements and loan groups; about the smiles, especially of the children, that shine under the African sun.

Spanish NGO Más por Ellos and GYFF are going to produce this Reggae song to show the world the life in Kibera and their artists. Here is where Made in Kibera Project starts, where seeks to become an online platform used by more artist from Kibera to be the voice of the artist in the slum.

Silence, recording!

The artists gathered in the office that usually functions as a rehearsal room. With chai and bread talking excitedly about the day they had ahead. Music sounded through a small speaker. It is always a good moment to create something new.

Hours later, the group came out the office heading to the studio. The sticky, wet, floor after a heavy raining night led them to the matatu station. The trip passed by speaking quickly, laughing and taking pictures. After coming they held hands in a circle and dedicated a pray to the effort done and to the task they had ahead.

One by one the artists entered the cabin and the producer, Dillie, guided them, correcting mistakes and made suggestions. The artists listened concentrated while smiling to themselves. After four intense hours Dillie connected the big speakers and announced what very soon will be Made in Kibera, the song. We’re happy because they felt that a small but important stage was finally completed.