The stage is packed with guitars, drums and a keyboard, as the Ukumbi Mdogo lights usher in 6 vocalists, a drummer, a keyboard player and an electronic guitarist. For a minute I was sure I had stumbled upon the wrong show until the show’s title was mentioned, it served as subtle confirmation despite the ticket message reflecting ‘Jekabev’.
I had accepted the invitation and done no background check whatsoever, so I could be excused for thinking it would be a conventional three-act play; nothing more, nothing less.
However what Mizizi Yetu had in store last Saturday, with the pre-Valentine’s Day launch of their EP, Jekabev, was atypical. This blend of music and theatrical performances was a unique approach for an EP release.
Inspired by real-life events, Jekabev revolves around stories from members of the band, spotlighting the imperfections of being with the one you love. The journey of Collo (Mugambi Ikiara), an aspiring musical star, and his girlfriend Sara (Faith Wambui) as they grapple with the irregularities Collo’s rise to stardom brings to their relationship.
Collins Chege, Collins Bulinda, Eugene Muga, and Braddly Wasonga wore the Mizizi Yetu hat with pride accompanied by the 6 vocalists and instrumentalists alongside performances by Ikiara, Faith and Brian Gaitan.
The theatrical performances by Ikiara and Wambui are the heart of the story, with the two depicting multiple ranges of emotions. A highlight for me was Ikiara’s humour, his comical persona.
Though largely music-oriented, it felt as if the music was fed from the acting performances, not downplaying the musicality of the show. The one-on-one interaction with the audience in both music and dialogue broke the conventional concert or three-act play mood channelling an invigorating atmosphere.
If I could sum all these unique experience in one sentence, it would simply be, ‘The celebration of young love’.
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Article Edited by @peterndoria