Party at Grand Rios


It’s Saturday evening and I’ve just come back from a barbecue in St. Paul, Minnesota. Chris Mwangi, host of the barbecue, provided plenty of food, drinks and good conversation. It’s summer time and though it’s really hot, this does little to deter people from coming together and enjoying a good meal amongst friends. Barbeques are common during the summer and a lot of parks are filled with families and friends. For Africans living in the States, this a time to bond and be re-united. It’s an opportunity to catch up with old friends and new, reminisce about home and indulge in new stories.

I left the park, my sides aching from laughing too much, and my heart light out of joy.

I’m now headed to Grand Rios Hotel, also Ramada Inn in Brookly park. Jojo of Kilimanjaro Entertainment has an African party going on tonight. The parking lot is partially full when we get there.  As we walk towards the hotel entrance, I can hear people talking, laughing and I notice a tiki bar on the hotel patio. Once we are inside the hotel, I see a few people I know in another bar by the lobby. We chat a little and I learn that there were more African barbecues going on during the day.

I head downstairs where the party is. The room is big and spacious with round tables and chairs. There aren’t many people yet, but there is music playing. I converse with my friends for a while but as people start streaming in, the compelling music draws us to the well carpeted dance floor.

Dj Dan of Soljams Entertainment plays Kenyan music, also known as ‘genge’. Gradually the dance floor fills in. I’m hot and slightly breathless from dancing, but the Dj ensures no one leaves the dance floor. He plays Hip-hop, RnB, Lingala and Soul swiftly flowing from one genre’ to the next. The night ends too soon and though I’m exhausted, it was well worth it.


About Helen Kinuthia

Helen blogs on the Minneapolis nightlife and entertainment scene. You can read her entries here.

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