Kennedy Omondi Leakey, known in the spoken word poetry edutainment industry as Kennet B, started performing in the early 2009, after winning Slam Africa Poetry Championships in Nairobi-Kenya. He had earlier recorded his first spoken word poetry single “Reality Absurdity” which also has a video which is yet 2 be released.
His lyrics are majorly pegged around our social involvement and the daily activities we get involved in, particularly in conserving our environment and living a morally upright life.
Kennet has been able to put together 4 Spoken Word Poetry albums namely, “Coming of Age”, “Success”, “Twak Galamaoro” and “New Earth”
Performing at the UN habitat Messenger of Truth Concert in 2009, proved to Kennet that his environmental concern has some serious global interests and acknowledged this by developing a 1 hectare mixed – tree forest named “NEW EARTH”, where young poets regularly gather at his countryside home in Nyanza to develop their writing and storytelling skills. This project has grown into a writers’ and performers’ spotting and mentoring foundation which connects young poets with self expression platforms.
Kennet has had the chance to co-host a live spoken word poetry album on Citizen Radio under Royal Media Services in his home country Kenya, a show whose fan base has immensely grown due to authenticity of the food for thought, an oral delicacy offered every weekend. With Radio Citizen, Kennet has already done 20 visits to Universities, to popularize his life skill concepts among the students and to help them live wisely in the HIV and AIDS infested world.
Kennet B has his first book, “The Sheng Anthology” , a collection of 12 thought provoking stories ready for publishing and it is from this that he is set to connect the old art of storytelling with the new language of the now generation.<
Raya Wambui wrote her first poem at five and she has been writing consistently for eleven years. The purpose of her poetry is to influence social change which she believes can only be achieved through open communication on social issues which affect us. That’s the main reason why she shares her writing, as she writes with or without an intended audience
She is the 39th Slam Queen. She performs regularly at Wamathai Spoken word, Word Up Live and Slam Africa amongst others more sporadically.
Monaja makes a return to July’s edition of Kwani? Open Mic after featuring in July last year. He has gone from living abroad to adjusting to the life in Nairobi then readjusting to the countryside. He cites culture shock as a significant influence on his unorthodox musical style. "I think I've picked up a lot from the places I've grown up in, and that's why my music is very content-oriented and twisted", he says. He grew up in Langata where his love for music blossomed, playing the piano while listening to Da Brat, Shaggy, The Fugees, Nas, Bone thugs n harmony and Lost Boyz. Some favourite local influences include Eric Wainaina, Shades of Black, Poxi Presha and his all-time greatest musical influence, the hip hop group K-South Flava. He began performing in 2004 and went on to feature in shows at Florida 2000 and Club Skiliza in 2005 in Nairobi.
Checkmate Mido is a human beatbox, poet, musician, writer and actor. He started performing in 2008 in WAPI! (Words and Pictures- A youth forum). He has graced many events around Nairobi with his poetry and music, most notably Kinanda Arts Festival, KWANI?! Slam Africa and Samosa Arts Festival.
He had a successful acting debut as the main character in the play 'Mayor's Diary' staged at Alliance Francaise in mid-2011. He is a graduate of the Theatre Company's Intermediate Training Program (June-July 2012) where he took part in the collaborative creation and development of the musical Shungwaaya. The musical had a successful Kenyan tour culminating to an international invitation to Mali where it was performed at the Festival Du Theatre Des Resistance (December 2012). He has starred in other plays such as Shungwaaya (with The Theatre Company) (2012), Fire By Ten (with The Theatre Company) (2012), Death and The Estate (with Kilele Productions) (2011), Mayor's Diary (with Kilele Productions) (2011)
After the training program, he was selected with six other graduates to be a member of the first ever Performers’ Lab (facilitated by the Theatre Company). The lab lasted six months and saw the group develop three new and original performance projects based on stories drawn from individual and collective experiences of the Lab members.
He has been involved with several charity works most notably with the Cerebral Palsy Society of Kenya in ‘Art for a cause’ (2010) which was a concert aimed at raising funds to support the children’s home and the Kibera Girls Soccer Academy.
As a spoken word artist, El Poet’s ideas and content are all about diversity and speaking his mind on issues that are sensitive and usually neglected in today’s global society. As a Slam Africa Champion and the founder of flowtree.com, his focus is “Poetry 4 a Cause…Poetry 4 Money…Poetry 4 Life!!!” El Poet is also involved in the media industry as a TV Producer, as well as an Online Marketing Strategist and Graphics Designer. El Poet is the Producer and Marketing Co-ordinator of Stir-Up #Occupy Nairobi & The Imagine the World Concert at the Storymoja Hay festival 2013.
Oballa Dan was born in Kisumu County. He is a performing artist whose specialty is poetry and narrative performances with traditional instrumentation like orutu and nyatiti. He is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Literature at the University of Nairobi.
Mellisa Ulrike Ammeh is popularly known by her artistic name “Asali” which is Swahili for “honey”. She is a singer, writer, vocal coach, poet and traditional Kenyan dancer who launched her album “Baba Speaks” in 2010. She fused Afro jazz and spoken word to create this master piece of her musical expression.
Asali has performed this album in Kenya and at a number of international shows and festivals like FROWG (Denmark 2010), Harare International Festival of Arts (HIFA 2011), the Umoja International Festival in Maputo (2012) and many more. She is also both a stage and screen actress having starred in TV series. She was part of the cast of ‘Mo Faya’, a Kenyan musical written by renowned Kenyan musician Eric Wainaina. She has been part of the musical for the past 6 years and together with them has toured both locally and internationally.
Asali is a very passionate and gifted spoken word artist and poet, she won the second Kenya monologue slam night in 2009.She also won the title of “Slam Queen” at the Slam Africa spoken word Slam night in August 2012.
She is very involved in giving back to her community by being a vocal coach to less privileged children of her society.
“A name, A life, poetry”
Her laughter reigns supreme, her diction unlike no other. Simplicity is what she carries to her poetic pieces. Her deep thrusting poems are the sweet whispers that speak to the soul. Regardless of how hard a message the poem contains, her delivery will ease the understanding to a mere simpleton.
Wanjiku Mwaurah is an African pearl on dynamite. She has graced numerous performance stages shaking the crowed to poetic intrigues. She has performed alongside some of the leading South African Poets like Mphutlane Wa Bofelo, Qbibo Intalektual (Swaziland) Napo Masheane (South Africa) at the Johannesburg Arts alive international festival, held in Joburg in Sept 2010.
She goes beyond poetry and has been heartily involved in awareness raising campaigns for the cerebral palsy condition (art4acause-2010) while being mentor and role model to many upcoming artists in the field.
She is an achievemer, having been crowned Slam Africa Queen (Aug 2009), named as the featured poet several times at Kwani Open Mic, Poetry Spot, Jukwaani Festival in 2009, Sawa Sawa Festival 2011, SAMOSA festival 2012 and was one of the guest artists at a highly charged poetry night at the Story Moja Hay Festival 2012. She also graced the stage at Arusha Poetry club among other events.
Her book, ‘The Flow of My Soul’ is a bridge between her spoken word and reflections of a time before her.
Currently, she writes screen plays and facilitates poetry workshops as well as performs.
For Wanjiku Mwaurah, poetry is beyond the stage. It is in the bones. It is that nagging word, sentence or feeling that just won’t go away.
Namatsi is a poet, fashion maniac, an event organizer and Communications Officer of Cerebral Palsy Society of Kenya. She started performing in 2010 and since then has graced many events around Nairobi. She founded Hisia Zangu Poetry group which moved from doing just performances to analysing works of written art. She also started Street Poetry events held at Aga Khan. The objective of the project was to open up poetry to random people passing in the streets. She is a graduate of International Relations and Mass Communication hence her poems revolve around liberation.
She will be launching her first spoken word album on the 23rd of November 2013 alongside JadeKD band.
Inkwa Dennis is a financial analyst by profession in a steamy relationship with rhyme and reason. He is a socially conscious poet that draws his inspiration from his love affair with twisted society. He packs wit and grit in his performances and really enjoys his banana milk shakes.