Acolyte beat me to it, but this is one topic I have to bring my two cents into…..so here goes nothing.
Pulse went all digital on us and I was one upset reader (and I wasn’t alone). Kenyans abroad reduced to only one topic every Friday. The weekly dose of Kenyan ‘celebs’ and the current growing culture in Kenya taken away from us. Now how are we supposed to catch up with the weekly goss’………oooohhhh SNAP!!! You have to pay to read. To be honest, I preferred it how it was before. Just enough content to keep us coming back for more.
I have touched on this subject briefly on my previous entry. A few comments were made and Acolyte’s sparked a flare in me regarding the subject. This is what he had to say:
I think some of those obstacles you have given can be easily overcome. In the case of instruments and live band. Let me tell you, there are many hungry jobless musicians in Narobi who would gladly play on a per gig basis.
As for expenses I think quality sells itself.If you play well then you will be able to command fees to pay for the band. There are bands in Kenya like those peeps who always sing at Choices (forgot there name) who are doing quite well for themselves.
I think to some extent music in Kenya is less infected with the “you have to know someone” attitude. Yes I do know it may result in less radio play but there are other ways to get your music out there. Let matatus play it, sell cheap tapes, myspace, perform perform perform etc. There are many artistes abroad who make a living and they get minimal radio and video exposure ie Ben Harper.
I also think good videos can be made cheap. It is not the setting that sells the video but ideas. Have you seen the video on MTV of the dudes singing on treadmills? That wasnt too expensive but it won video of the year I think or some other award.
I don’t think a cd pressing plant is neccesary when you can get a comp that has an industrial cd burner attached aka toaster and a printer that can do cds and cd covers. Make the music affordable that way and accessible to the grass roots and as I said earlier artistes need to remember the tape isn’t dead in Africa yet.Quite a few people still have tape players in their cars and at home and tapes are very cheap.
Kenyan musicians can moan and moan but the fact remains that if they don’t adopt like many other Kenyan businesses have they will perish!
With that, I responded rather heavily regarding this issue:
@Acolyte…I was wondering when you would pop your head ’round here. LOL!!!
Yes, the obstacles can be easily overcome, but how many of the artists have actually done it and I mean the mainstream ones you and I abroad know of? Very few. The ones we don’t know of are there, but how can we get to hear their music if they are not out there using the global media tools to promote themselves?
The “you have to know someone” is more out there than most of us would like to admit. Yes, they can get their music to the public by free promo, but don’t forget, most of them want to feed themselves and their families. I think they are just ‘lazy’ and the ones making the money are exploiting that fact. Poxi (RIP) led the way when he was selling his cassettes outside the Harlequin Sports Ground during Safari Sevens when he was starting out, are other following suit or what?
Yes, I also agree with you that videos can be made cheap. I saw that video of the dudes singing on the treadmills and I was hooked from the beginning to the end. THAT IS CALLED CREATIVITY…..which in my opinion, we have a long way to go to reach such a
level. Don’t get me wrong, we have come a long way from the VOK/KBC studio days to watch our artists do their thing and there is plenty room for improvement. I remember when DSTV just launched in Kenya and that was at the same time I think Kalamashaka, etc were starting out. A lady from the company was in Kenya to promote DSTV and in one interview she was asked what can Kenyans do to make their videos be seen on Channel O (something to that effect). She said that they had a certain criteria and the equipment being used at the time were not suitable for broadcast. Apparently, rumour had it that the necessary equipment was there, but locked up in the KBC studios due to ‘lack of funds’ for people to hire them. Besides, you had to know someone with the power to have them released to you.
As for the pressing plant…this is where I beg to differ with you. We do need one. There only so much a software in your computer, a burner and printer can do in a studio. If that is the case, then way go abroad to mass produce your CDs, where as the money for travel, accomodation and other expenses while you out there can be used to purchase the equipment? A ’studio plant’ is good for promo CDs to take to gigs and other events, but what about the shops and online shopping? Don’t tell me that a ’studio plant’ that most probably produces 200+ a day (these are just my estimates, it could be more or less) can compete with a pressing plant that can produce 10,000+ a day at the fraction of the cost? Besides, a pressing plant will create employment and revenue for Kenya and Kenyans alike and it doesnt have to limit it to CDs only. It can be expanded to VCDs, DVDs and the cassettes and video tapes. With the ‘rest’ of the world moving to HD and Blue Ray discs, these machines will now be cheaper and Kenya being a ‘juakali’ nation, spare parts will not run out. Creating more possible jobs. I also asked a well know producer if one is needed in Kenya and the answer was,”Yes, we need one badly.”
Let’s get one thing out of the way. These are my opinions based on my experience as a consumer and as a supporter of my fellow country people.
Of course there are those out there working hard and promoting their music, acting skills, etc., but the question is, as a Kenyan abroad who would like to see more, how do I get hold of these material EASILY???
We have made a few good films as I highlighted in a blog entry sometime back. I would like to watch them, but I would rather pop down the shops and hire out a Nigerian film which is readily available.
I would really like to know your opinions as bloggers (aka global voices).
On that same note, enjoy this trailer I stumbled upon whilst on YouTube.