Despite not being a big fan of poetry nights, yesterday i dragged myself to Kwani open mic. Major reason being the night star performance was by someone well known in the social media cycle in Kenya @antoneosoul. Coming just after highly successful Wamathai.com spoken word event, I was curious to know whether social media is really working for Kenyan artists. Judging from the crowd at Club sound, it is working. The place was totally sold out and getting a seat at Club Sound was nightmare for those who came late. The bigger question is, does that translate to album sales? What attracts people to these events? A chance for meetup as indicated here?
When come to artists or the so called celebs and the social media there are three categories. Those who actively involved, those who use ghost handlers to manage their accounts and those who dream that internet would be dead soon. Those in the first category are my favorites but the success in social media can come to either way except for the last category.
Social media is like a time bomb, can either build an artist or destroy. In Kenya not many of the stars if you allow me to call them, make great use of social media and that is why Kenyan social media enthusiasts probably find @antoneosoul likable and different. He is a member and he gave a great performance too. When i wrote about Top ten Kenyan social media Kings sometime back, Valarie Kimani was then very active on twitter and Facebook but all of a sudden she went quiet. True testimony to the conservative nature of Kenya where slight smear or scandal does not necessarily increase the popularity or albums sales for an artist as seen in places like US. Despite what people say about Britney Spears, she still come up on top, currently her account is leading as the most followed account on twitter.
Back to the event, Kwani open mic, i was impressed with the organizers’ effort to encourage reading culture in Kenya. It is like climbing a big mountain the size of Mt.Kenya when come to convincing Kenyans that reading is not for classrooms alone.
Chance for meetup? On my way out came across the whole Twitterverse .. @antoneosoul @mkaigwa @Locococomoco..ok that one is too confusing, gave me permission to call her @Loco, @Mmuendo, @Blongwe @ Ngeny @Wamathai @Chiira and ..and who else?, nice
I can’t remember the names of the people who performed but here are a few pics :