Party is back with the lifting of dusk-to-dawn nationwide curfew

Friday, October 29th, 2021 00:00 |
Oga Obinna.

With the lifting of the dusk-to-dawn nationwide curfew that has been in place for almost two years, night partying is expected to make a comeback in full swing. And as Adalla Allan writes, things are looking up all over again for the ‘nocturnal creatives.’

There’s no doubt that during the Covid-19 pandemic, the entertainment scene has been amongst the most affected sectors in Kenya and across the world at large.

With a raft of heavy measures set by the Health ministry to curb the spread of the coronavirus, including the restriction of the number of people gathering in entertainment zones, and their early closure in respect of the dusk-to-dawn nationwide curfew, big losses have been incurred in the sector, especially by ‘nocturnal creatives’ such as event organisers, musicians, deejays, comedians and dancers.

However, the recent announcement by President Uhuru Kenyatta on the lifting of the curfew during the Mashujaa Day celebrations has brought smiles to the faces of many party enthusiasts.

The curfew, which commenced on March 27, 2020, left many players in the creative industry struggling to put a meal on the table, as a majority of them were mainly dependent on night performance gigs.

A lot of nightclubs were also shut down after recording big losses while some were forced to come up with alternative means of staying afloat.

With Kenyan artistes always being on time to release songs to help us celebrate the moments, Mejja gave us a hit song titled Maisha Tiki, a song he released to applaud the lifting of the curfew and the comeback of the night party mode.

According to the Siskii hitmaker, the release of this song just started as a tweet where after the president’s announcement, his huge fan base tweeted that he should come up with a celebration song for the vacation of the curfew, a thing he did on that exact day.

DJ Lyta.

“The tweet read that someone should go and wake me up to compose a song for Friday.

And since I had already composed the song a long time ago, I saw this as the best time to release it,” he tells Spice.

The party scene

During the pandemic, Mejja has established a close connection with his fans who are mostly party monsters, with most of his music always talking about the partying scene in Kenya.

“The fact that I give them what they want is what has cemented our relationship.

Also, I am very keen on following the emerging trends in the entertainment scene in Kenya.

Making my fan base relate easily with what happens in their context has been one of my key considerations,” he adds.

Nonetheless, on Monday this week the Maisha Tiki song was removed from YouTube, making it the third song by Mejja to suffer a copyright strike after Tabia Za Wakenya and Vaibu and this brought up a debate between his fans and Youtube. 

“I am fed up with these claims that don’t tell the grounds on why our songs are pulled out of YouTube.

I had just released the song’s audio on my channel and in not more than a week, it has faced the wrath that no one can even come out and explain the reason. We should have laws that protect us from these harms,” he says. 

Mejja was expecting to make a video for the song through the music challenge short videos he had told fans to share with him. This was to show them that he had dedicated this song to them.

Vernacular music stage performance has also been thriving at night hours. We have always heard of the common Mugithi Night of the Agikuyu, Ramogi Night of Dholuo people, Egesa Night of Abagusii, and Mulembe Night of the Luhya, just to mention a few. The vernacular artistes and fans now have a reason to celebrate, as the curfew will no longer be barrier to the night events.

Miggy Champ.

According to mugithi star Samidoh, the lifting of the curfew is a big breakthrough not only to them as artistes, but also to their fans.

“Events are now back and this is good news for us and our fans. As artistes, there is a way we relate with our fans while performing and by cheering us up, they boosts our morale on stage.

Now that there’s no curfew and nightclubs are back in full operation, it can’t get any better than having the whole night to perform for such people,” says the Mumbi hitmaker, who will soon be leaving the country for a music tour in the United States. The farewell concert has been slated for this Sunday at Thika Garage.

Career resuscitation

Jazz musicians are also not left behind. As for Juma Tutu, he says that the entertainment scene has been resuscitated back to life due to Uhuru’s move to lift the curfew.

The Mombasa-based artiste says that jazz fully banks on performance at night as people come out of their workplaces in the evening feeling exhausted and in need of soothing music that will help them unwind.

“Well, we were hopeless for some months. Our careers were at a standstill since there were limited gigs.

With the lifting of the curfew and the relaxation of some of the Covid restrictions, we have seen a major breakthrough, and we are now planning for bookings.

We will continue with the journey where we had left it,” he intimates to Spice.

The restrictions and curfews had also disappointed him from releasing new music that he had already composed pre-Covid.

“There was not enough money to release them, but now I can see some light at the end of the tunnel. It was easy to make money through night gigs,” he says. 

But Juma says that currently, they are not charging their clients a lot of performance fee, since they are still recuperating from the loss they incurred when the pandemic was at its peak. Though he is hopeful that with time, things will be back to normal.

With emcees and event organisers also seeing a breakthrough, comedian and emcee Oga Obinna says that it is a great step up, but it could have been done sooner.

“Apparently, the events industry couldn’t function, yet politicians were busy campaigning.

The people that get in contact with campaigns are too many plus they are hard to control compared to events. In events, it is easy to control crowds and implement Covid-19 control measures.

Clubs and restaurants should have just been left to function from a long time ago. The double standards don’t help anyone.

At least in December, most emcees will have something in the pocket to pay rent with,” he asserts.

Dancehall singer and emcee Miggy Champ says that the move to lift the curfew was timely, as the holiday seasons is just around the corner. 

“I must thank the president for lifting the curfew, especially now that we are approaching the holidays.

Artistes and emcees have already started getting nighttime shows. It has been so tough for people in the entertainment industry, a situation that has seen some of them sink into depression.

But with the economy slowly opening up, we well soon be on out feet,” says Miggy.

Night mixers

Deejays are considered the backbone of every party. They are the ones responsible for moving the crowd with their mastery in knowing what the crowd really need.

DJ Leskie says that they have been favoured by the move to lift the curfew, as he won’t need to rush anymore while trying to beat time from home going for performance and vice versa.

“DJs are destined to work at night hours. It was a big let-down when our time to perform was limited.

I would gamble with the traffic from home to the place that I was to perform,” he says.

Leskie, who frequently performs at Zinc Lounge on Mombasa Road, is hopeful that from early November, DJs will start getting more gigs because the clubs will by then have started hosting artistes.

DJ Lyta tells Spice of how his first post-curfew show last week in Bomet county attracted a huge turnout. “I did my first post-curfew events at Diversions Lounge in Bomet county.

The club is licenced to operate past 11pm. The turnout was huge, as everyone had missed the partying heydays before the pandemic came to deny them what they cherish. It was like a celebration for the freedom of partying at night,” he says.

Just like many artistes, DJ Lyta urges the government to come up with a clear outline on how the entertainers will work at night as it has led to confusion to most of the nocturnal creators.  

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