All About The Festival of The Year- The Rift Valley Festival

written by Jeannette Musembi 9th August 2012

The Rift Valley Festival is an annual festival that brings together Kenya’s best musicians and international artists, both established and developing artists. It aims to promote the cultures of diverse communities and raise funds for schools and local community projects. The festival is a three day musical celebration that takes place at the shores of Lake Naivasha, specifically at The Fisherman’s Camp. Scheduled to take place at the 31st of August -2nd of September, the sounds are a mix of Afro-fusion, traditional and contemporary beats. The festival also gives local artists to display their culture and local crafts. Here are a few profiles of some of the artists that will be entertaining you on the given dates.

Joe Driscoll (USA)

Creating waves on both sides of the Atlantic are the transcendental sounds of modern day one man band, Joe Driscoll. His revolutionary take on music is without boundaries.Effortlessly fusing hip-hop, reggae, soul, folk and rock to create a completely original and unique sound; an innovator not only for the genre defying music he creates, but for the groundbreaking way in which he performs it . On a seemingly never ending world tour, the venues and acts Joe has worked with are as diverse as the sounds he creates. From coffee shops to theatres, bars to festivals, crowds are moved by his poignant lyrics, deep rhythms, personal storytelling and funky grooves. He has shared the stage with acts ranging from Matisyahu to Regina Spektor, Coldcut to The Bees at hundreds of venues and events in both the US and EUROPE

Felix B from Basement Jaxx (UK)

Basement Jaxx started in Brixton, South London in 1994, where they held a regular night club calledRooty, the namesake of their second artist album. In 1999, the group released their first full length album,Remedy to wide acclaim. Remedy includes the single “Red Alert”, which was featured in the film Bend It Like Beckham and commercials including Nickelodeon and Coca-Cola.In addition to their own work, Basement Jaxx have become in-demand remixers. Their more prominent work includes “4 My People” by Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott, “Like I Love You” by Justin Timberlake and “She Wants to Move” by N*E*R*D.

Suzanna Owiyo (Kenya)

Born in Kasaye village – Nyakach, near Kisumu, Suzanna Owiyo was introduced to music at a tender age by her grandfather,a prolific Nyatiti player. In high school, her talent enabled her school to win many trophies during the provincial and national music festivals. A milestone in her successful music career includes performing at the Nelson Mandela concert at the Hyde Park in London. This was in honour of Nelson Mandela as he celebrated his 90th birthday and also acted as a fundraiser for his Aids awareness campaign. The year ended with her,showcasing at the prestigious World Music Expo,WOMEX that took place in Seville spain in November.Suzanna’s music is a fusion of traditional western Kenyan music and contemporary rhythms. Traditional instruments (nyatiti,orutu, etc) always feature in her songs as heard on “Janyau”, the first track of 2nd album Yamo Kudho (the wind is blowing).


Owiny Sigoma Band (Kenya)


In 2009, a handful of London-based musicians travelled to Nairobi in Kenya to collaborate with local musicians there. The project was set up by Hetty Hughes and her friend Aaron Abraham, co-founders of a voluntary organisation called Art of Protest established in order to promote local musicians and rappers.The boys’ first trip to Nairobi was in January 2009 to meet and collaborate with two Kenyan musicians: Joseph Nyamungo and Charles Okoko who hail from a village up country called Owiny Sigoma.The resulting four tracks made their way to Gilles Peterson who promptly signed the band to his Brownswood imprint and sent the boys back to Nairobi for another week-long recording session with Joseph, Charles and their extended musical family.The results are documented on the band’s forthcoming album – a collection of gloriously hypnotic Afro grooves symbolic of the true culture clash between the Luo and London.

Olith Ratego (Kenya)

As a young boy, Olith would listen to and sing along to songs by Miriam Makeba and Tshala Mwana, much to the amazement of his listeners. In school, he often got in trouble for writing songs in class and was sent home severally in an attempt to stop him from the habit.Come 2003, he heard of an upcoming show in Siaya by King Kong and approached him to curtain raise in his concert. He was accorded that opportunity and got a great response from the crowd.It was while working with King Kong that he was introduced to Tabu Osusa, an avid Afro- Fusion producer of, who later signed him on to the Ketebul Productions stable and Osuga was born!!


Well, these are just a drop of the performers who will grace the stage at the Rift Valley festival. Check out the poster below to see who else will be on the line up! It’s definitely an event worth saving the date for. Get your advance tickets and save yourself the date for the most exciting Festival Ever!



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Kimaiyojanet 23rd August 2012 - 9:50 PM

Sounds like fun…how much is it?

Jeannette 27th August 2012 - 6:58 AM

it will be 3000 kshs…for more details on how to pay kindly check the poster at the end of the post


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