Simple days for families to jam with Maxi Priest at Nairobi concert

A scene from the Maxi Priest concert at Ngong Race Course, Nairobi

Family Entertainment in Nairobi

The Nairobi family entertainment scene is no longer as nascent as it was about 5 years ago. Families no longer have to resort to just spending weekends at the malls or in the numerous nyama choma joints with the lone bouncing castle that is meant to assure you that your children will be catered for as you make merry on a Sunday afternoon.

Although the concept of a musical concert centered around a picnic setting targeted at families is not new in town, the focus for most organizers tends to shift away from families. A mother who, with her brood is looking for an event that is fun, safe and clean from the sole focus of inebriation finds it hard to return to most of these events. Is it possible to conceptualize an event that is family focused and alcohol is not all over the place (in form of sponsorship & sale)? This is an audacious quest and that’s just what the team as Simple Days is seeking to achieve.

The first such event around this concept and sole focus took place over the weekend. The featured artist was Jamaican born Reggae Fusion artist, Maxi Priest.

Maxi Priest with Njeri Wangari
Pausing for quick photo with Maxi Priest backstage before his performance

Maxi Priest and a Child of the 80s

For a child of the late 70s and 80s, Maxi Priest sang what we felt as we began to grasp at straws of what emotions of attraction felt like. As our teenage-hood set in, and with it, the discovery of love and intimacy, we had no words to express these overwhelming feelings. Those were the simple days when day-dreaming about that secret crush was a favorite past time. Like every other teen in high school, I had a lyrics book. On in were words to several popular artists then, most of them, Jamaican. The Jamaican wave was blowing strong and with it, the vybes of Shaba Ranks, Bennie Man, Inner Circle, Maxi Priest, Chaka Demus and Pliers among many others.

Their songs became soundtracks to our lives. Nowadays, these songs unlock memories of specific moments that marked a nexus point in our lives. Last Sunday at the Ngong Racecourse riverfront, it all came back to me.  Maxi Priest was in town. Words to the song “I just wanna get close to you” his hit song with Shabba Ranks kept ringing in my mind.

For me, Maxi Priest’s Close to you feat Shaba Ranks, Wild World and That Girl bring back vivid memories of those days back in Kambui Girls High School where I fell in love with music and found solace in written words. That was the genesis of my two favorite past times, collecting music and writing.

A Reggae Fused Sunday

Reggae Fusion was the overarching theme for Sunday’s concert line up. Sharing the stage with Maxi Priest was H_art The band famed for their hit song uliza kiatu and Kidum. They all had their full band and crew on deck making the music experience rich.  What I loved about Maxi Priest’s performance was how he sang renditions of his recorded hits. It felt like I was listening to them for the first time amidst a déjà vu moment.

I loved the concept, the setup, sound, the ambiance and the activities in the kiddie corner that went beyond the lone bouncing castle (see in photos). As expected, there is always room for improvement. It would have been great to have the concert’s performing acts start slightly earlier to end in good time. The layover time between sets especially as Kidum’s band prepped, the last act for the day took way too long. At about 8.30pm, Kidum had just gotten on stage and we had to leave mid-way through his act.

Richard and I took some photos and posted them on our Facebook page. Simple Days will be hosting one more family concert before the year ends with an aim of hosting one every 3 months in the coming years.

It was a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon. Am looking forward to the next one towards the end of the year. We will let you know as and when it’s announced.

What has been your experience attending concerts with children? Talk to us, we’d love to hear from you.


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