“Congratulations! This was the first feeling that came to our mind after watching children from Baba Dogo slums perform at the Banjuka Music and Dance School. Congratulations to the staff of World Friends and the teachers courtesy of whom the instruments (musical and non-musical), are able to make these children express the true meaning of Africa. Congratulations to the dancers from whom high level passion emanated – for instance, the authentic Afro beat with seven percussionists, was wonderful and took us to another world. They were fantastic! The seriousness and rhythmic coordination with musically enticing African body moves was impeccable. The voice of the vocalists effortlessly oozed from deep within their hearts, displayed by their almost tangible emotion. We already have Goosebumps from these memories! We would like to say thank you for everything and we hope we also gave something to all the children.”
These were the words of the Italian music group, EasyPop, who came to Banjuka on Saturday 19th March 2016. The Italian musicians came together with the young Kenyan musicians, and it was a uniquely entertaining show in the slum of Baba Dogo. EasyPop is an Italian band that uses the concept of juke box to entertain a variety of audiences. Jukeboxes were more common in the past century. It is a partially automated music-playing device, coin-operated, that will play a selection from a preset self-contained media. The classic jukebox contained buttons with letters and numbers on them which when entered in combination are used to play a specific selection.
In the eyes of Easy Pop, the jukebox was a reference point for socializing. Their goal is to bring the audience a nostalgic feeling of the olden days, playing it as once was and complimenting it with anecdotes and stories about the songs. All this is done, in a different way though. With 130 freely selectable song titles amongst the most popular from the 50’s through to 80’s, there are no recordings inside Easy pop’s juke box. All selections are played live by the band members, bringing fun and memories of the golden age of music.
While in Nairobi in March 2016, Easy Pop concluded its Kenyan tour with a historic crescendo performance for and in harmony with the children of World Friends Music and Dance school, Banjuka. Banjuka- Swahili name meaning Dance is a school aimed at promoting art skills for skill development, survival and positive moral development of children living in the slums. Acref hall located in the heart of Baba Dogo is the central point where these children meet to perfect their different musical abilities under instruction from their teachers. Together with these six stars from Italy, the children had the chance to share a stage with experienced and renowned international musicians.
It was surely an honor for these young musicians from the slums to get the rare opportunity of musically interacting with the group EasyPop, and experiencing the magic of the juke box!