Thursday, September 1, 2005
By: Kemunto Namunyak
Bongo Flava Meltdown, a mix of music genres from East Africa, featuring genge and bongo flava, took place at the Crystal Ballroom and Event Center in Crystal, Minnesota this past month. August 27, 2005 was the launch party for bongoutlet.com a website to promote hip-hop music and artists from Tanzania. Bongo Flava is a Tanzanian hip-hop music style that blends Swahili lyrics with all sorts of dialects, melodies, beats, rhythms and sound.
The billing promised live entertainment, up and coming Hip-Hop Artists from Kenya and Tanzania, music from DJs I Dub and Nasz.
The site launch was a collaboration between Atlanta based Kenyanese.com and Robinhood productions, owner of bongooutlet.com. Present was Robinhood Productions CEO, John Mahundi who is based in Iowa. Tim Waindi, Kenyanese LLC CEO flew in to represent his organization. The earlier launch of Kenyanese.com and now Bongooutlet.com is part of a wider strategy to provide legal distribution means for music from the East African region.
There was a slow start to the festivities. The 10:00 P.M. start as promised in marketing materials did not quite materialize but the DJs on duty kept the guests entertained while they waited on the liver acts to start. The live artists had a receptive audience as they hit the stage at around midnight. The audience took to the floor as soon as the live acts began. Bantu Man was first with his Swahili flavored Raggamuffin style. He was followed by Lil Zone who wowed the crowd with his free-styling rap. Next up was King Daddy and Tango who invigorated the crowd by actively calling for participation from them, and calling the ladies on stage as they
The audience was also introduced to an up and coming Kenyan artist named, Jero who served up the latest in contemporary Kenyan Hip-Hop. The live performance concluded with hard-core rap from Attitude, a Kenyan-based artist who is in the US to launch this new album. After the show the DJs went back to spinning and keeping the guest on the floor. The producers chose Minneapolis as a venue to test the waters and experience the Minnesota Market, which they seek to serve soon.