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Monday, 6 May 2019

Lead Where You Are








What comes into your mind when you here the word Leadership? For many, it’s a figure of someone in a top position privileges, capable of issuing commands and one who stands aloof from the common man. They imagine of a commander, and the ones being led as subjects. This, however, is not the case for youths in Nakuru county. Last week the 2nd of May 2019, we had a great event at the Kenya National Library as our Art4Leadership Episode II of the year. If you are just reading this blog for the first time, this is musical concert in which we invite professional speakers from various spectra of life to inspire youths towards positive social change. In January, we tackled a topic on Education for peace where our guest speaker was Mr. Winnie Machila, the Head Teacher at Milimani Primary School. You can read about the event here: African Dream
Joseck Addressing Youths


The facilitators for the last week’s event were Mr. Joseck Olala a YALI Alumnus and ICT Officer at the Nakuru Knls and Dowe Music & Arts director, Mr. Douglas Ogutu. The eagerness in the faces of the youths and their timely attendance as well as their abundance is enough to tell you that young people long for a better Kenya, if not Africa at large. The event, themed “LEAD WHERE YOU ARE: The Africa We Want” was graced by Dowe Music Band with the main song being “The African Dream.” This song is not only easy to sing a long but thought provoking through it’s proactive message. Written in the first person, listening to or sing this tune especially the chorus challenges one to reflect on one’s actions and pledge to do what is right. Here are the words of the chorus in Swahili:
Nitatenda mema (I will do what is good)
Nitahesabika (I’ll stand to be counted)
Eh Mungu wangu (Oh My God)
Nisaidie (Help me out)

One can see from this words that the listener is being called to action. The call is for one to shift the paradigm from just delegating responsibility to those in positions of power but realize we all have a role.This tied in so well with the messages from the Speakers. Youths were taught on the effects of poor governance and shown the benefits of sound governance. It was made clear that our actions for or not voting directly affect our lives since governance holds all sectors of livelihoods be it health, economy, infrastructure, education etc. 


Youths participating in the discussion
Mr. Olala reminded the youths that the constitution gives them a right to public participation, questioning actions of the elected leaders as well as demanding that they deliver what they promised. He emphasized that we all must in one accord Say no to PoorLeadership in word and action.

 The second speaker, Mr. Ogutu talked about Servant Leadership. He enlisted qualities of a good leader as expressed in the image below from his presentation. Of the 7 characteristics, “Self-Awareness” came out as the most critical.
“When you get a position to lead, you give the people a chance to know you. They can relate with you easily if they have no difficulty understanding who you are. It becomes a tragedy when you don’t know yourself in the first place,” He said. From the discussions with the attendees, it became clear that poor leadership spearheaded by corruption in Africa is an enormous problem to even think of tackling it. However, they all agreed that it is not impossible. They pledged to be “bold enough to fight patiently even if we ourselves don’t live to see the fruits.”
One of them said, “We have to develop a long-term strategy, not limiting ourselves to election time periods.” It was Impressive seeing such a discourse led by youths themselves. Indeed, it is noble to fight for something that will outlive you. Thank you for taking time to read and hopefully this will spark hope and a desire for a greater Africa than we have now. To listen to the recorded version of the theme song of the day click this link.African Dream

Wednesday, 1 May 2019

WELCOME

We are patient. We value potential yet we know it remains that way until it's uncapped. That's what we do. No matter the reason for your music learning. Be it professional or just fun, we tailor the lessons to what you want. Check out this example of our student, see if you can join us today. If the answer is yes then call +2547308274 today or email info@dowemusicarts.com

Wednesday, 17 April 2019

Don't We Need Each Other?


Sunday, 14 April 2019

Theatre Unplugged

It was a pleasant opportunity to grace Nakuru Player's Theatre Unplugged program. The baby program spearheaded by Mr. Wanyama is geared towards bringing together the artistes within the county. Evidently, as seen from the various speeches during the send off ceremony of a fallen budding Icon- Christonimph, it is only through embracing one another that art can actually grow. This program should hence be encouraged not only for performers to showcase their talents but also an involvement of county government officials, professionals in diverse fields to inspire competency and growth is paramount. There is just as much talent as can feed this country if well harnessed and encouraged. Below are a few photos of Dowe Music Team performing at the theatre.

Saturday, 2 March 2019

How Much is a Guitar?

Retrived from Aruna Musical Store

"Hello sir, I want to buy a guitar, I was wondering if you can help me choose the best..." This is the message I hear quite often from guitar lovers ranging from admirers, beginners, amateurs to experienced players. My first question has always been, "What do you want to use it for?" In this post, we'll look at recommendations of the ranges that you can consider before purchasing a guitar. Disclaimer, when it comes to prices, you are free to do as your pocket allows but if you're like me as in you like counting every single coin and ensuring none goes to waste, this post will help you. I will categorize the prices basing on the levels of guitar players:

Admirer's Guitar 
Souvenir Guitars
Image c/o shutterstock.com
Just like we have people who love watching the Rugby sport but cannot stand the imagination of injuries the players go through leave alone playing the game itself, the guitar has more admirers in the world than aspiring players. In this category, the features of the instrument are more aesthetic than musical. The user goes for color, shape and the general appearance as opposed to sound quality. 

Have you ever visited a friend and found a guitar hanging on a wall and you know very well they can't even tell how many strings the guitar has? Well, that is what am talking about. Most of these are usually souvenirs for birthdays, anniversaries of some sort and so forth. If you plan to buy such, I bet the smaller the size the better. Budgeting from $50 (Ksh. 5000)  can get you a good colored guitar. You don't have to worry about which musical shop to get it. Supermarkets all over the place can sort you out. One more thing, the brand doesn't matter as long as you got the right color for the occasion.

Beginner's Guitar
You have been searching for a music tutor for long and someone just hinted to you about Dowe Music and Arts and how their trainers handle students with utmost excellence and expertise not to mention respect. After a tune or two they showcase you get convinced that you should give it a shot but you must buy the guitar first. Which way to go? There is a wide range of acoustic guitars that you can get from the market. By acoustic I mean those that don't have Pre-amps to connect to a PA system. At this stage, you want to focus on ensuring you have a good grip of the guitar itself. Trying to play on PA at this stage will horrify not only whoever cares to listen but yourself as well. So, let's begin where we are. What is our budget recommendation? $80 (Ksh. 8,000) and above will solve your current problem friend.
Acoustic Guitar
Image c/o melbournemusiccenter.com.au
Amateur's Guitar
Guitar with pick-up Image c/o ebay.com
This belongs to people who have been playing the guitar for say two years (notice I said playing not owning). Chances are they have started having a clear picture of the notes on the fret-board and are not slaves of the Capo. I mean, they use it when they want and not as an escape from the barre chords. Though not  yet veryclear, they can a tleast discover the key in which a song is being played and can tune a guitar without dependance on electronic tuners. They own the above Beginners guitar. 

 If the above guitar is in good condition, get a gadget called Pick-up and mount it on the guitar just near the sound box opening. The pick-up acts as a pre-amp for converting analog signals from the guitar strings to digital to be sent to the PA. This should cost between $20-50 (Ksh. 2,000-5,000) inclusive of a cable say five meters long.

Semi-Acoustic Guitar
Image c/o audiomart.co.za
Alternatively, one can decide to buy a semi-acoustic guitar. At this stage, chances are that the player still has little or no gigs at all to enable them purchase a higher quality guitar. This means you have to outsource money elsewhere. Most people on such a lean budget as I was then decide to sell the beginners guitar (of course at a lower price than they bought) and top up the savings to buy a semi-acoustic guitar. Where are we at? Now that you've began to enjoy your own guitar playing, it's time to let the world feel a taste. Your budget needs to upgrade to something like $150 (Ksh. 15000). At this point we start mentioning brands like Yamaha, Fender. Sadly though, you may only afford the Gibsons which has some good invigorating sound vibrations.

Professional Guitar
Yamaha SA2200 Semi Acoustic Guitar
Image c/o rimmermusic.co.uk
We call you a professional guitarist because you are no longer confused with the music theory rules/rudiments. In fact, you are outgrowing them to a point where their boundaries make sense but not enough to limit your exploitative fingers. You bend a few like using a Major Chords where your teacher said you shouldn't. Yes, you can run a number of scales beautifully to any given song or create a chord pattern given just a monotonic melody. The point is, you find no problem understanding this paragraph.

Unfortunately, sometimes you may reach this level but your pocket is still at the admirer's level. I once attended a christian mission where we were amazed that there were three old acoustic guitars but the players distinguished them as Lead, semi-acoustic and Bass. In essence, for a professional guitarist, you can turn any of the above into what you want. However, some audiences are very judgmental. You don't want to lose your show just because of your stinginess. Get a good guitar, with a guitar case that takes care of the instrument well. You should be ready to spend $300 (Ksh. 30,000) and above for the guitar alone while the case chops $30-100(Ksh.3000-10,000) depending on whether you want a bag or a wooded/metallic case.

Electric Guitarists
Lead Guitar Image c/o jiji.nj
Bass Guitar
Image c/o stagefrontmusic.co.au
These are majorly the bass and lead guitars. There are also acoustic electric guitars. For these, we not only mention Yamaha, Gibsons and/or Fender, rather, we work ourselves out to purchasing them since our ears have precision to understand what sound we want. Budget? Anything less than $200 (Ksh. 20,000) will not serve you for a desirable duration. Remember, the reason I have placed this category here is that the players are assumed to have basic music theory and have good musical ears. It will be a bit problematic to learn these if you don't have the basics. However, nothing is impossible in this world. Also, these guitars come with the budget of a PA system. So unless you are buying for a church/band which already has the PA, realize that your budget can not be any less than $50(Ksh. 50,000).

Conclusion
  As stated earlier, sometimes it is your pocket that speaks for you. However, as you can see, you can not start from the last to the first. Life itself doesn't work that way. Even if it does, no one wishes it does. Hopefully, this post will help you in purchasing your next guitar.


The writer is 
a guitar trainer at 
Dowe Music & Arts

Sunday, 17 February 2019

Touch A Soul: 2019 Valentine Edition


Touch A Soul Banner Made By
Activate Graphic Solutions


Dowe Music & Arts Team with the children
With all the fuss on social media about the men’s conference on Valentines Day, we at Dowe Music visited beautiful souls in one of the slum areas in Nakuru. Located off town just near the Lake Nakuru Game park is a home with a courageous woman. Elizabeth (a.k.a Mama Ng’endo) is a lady full of compassion and love for the less fortunate. She houses sixteen abandoned children by either irresponsible beings of a human or because of the cruel hand of death.

Soon after our expedition at the coast last week, we embarked on a fund drive to facilitate the visit. Well, before I delve much into this, I must mention that this visit became more relevant because of the Human Centered Design approach we applied. By Thursday, earlier week, we had not yet found a suitable orphanage to visit. Bu suitable I mean a place where we would get all the children at the same time. Most of them had some children in boarding school.

I was privileged to participate in the MWF 2019 interview. It happened that the panelist came late. Instead of each of us minding our own business and rehearsing what to say as it always happens in most job interviews, I told the group of five sharp looking ladies and one Gentleman to turn the chairs around. We did our introduction and that’s how I knew Susan.

Susan
Susan is a soft spoken lady graced with empathy for the underprivileged. Despite having growing up in a middle class family and currently having a good job (Things I came to learn later after the visit), one can only wonder why and how she has a heart to take occasional visits to Mama Ng’endo and do shopping for the children. It was after everyone had shared their stories that I told Susan about my interest in her visits to the home.

For the past one year, I have come to appreciate the power of story-telling and connecting with people. Little was it known to me that the lateness of our panelists (We all know that it is not in an American to be late) was a divine chance for me to make contacts with great change makers. Thankfully, I have contacts of all of them: Orpah, a volunteer with G-Unite, Sakuda a founder of a High School, Birir a fellow Yali Nakuru Alumni and the founder of Go Green and Linda.

Back to the top story. We did chat with Susan and on asking how we might help the home, she had every detail on her fingertips. Normally, we always think of bringing clothes and sadly (or is it fate), those that are torn and want someone to take them instead of turning them into dusters. Susan gave me a list of things that the home was in dire need. On top of the list was that there’s a need for well- wishers and sponsors to help Elizabeth educate the children. Well, this would be beyond our scope as our company has barely broken even and it’s still taking off. However, what if by you reading this story you can give it a shot. You can get our contacts at the Dowe Music &Arts website.

Reaching out to the current class of students, they suggested a budget so we can do a one-month shopping. I was so excited for a bout ten seconds then a thought came. Who was going to foot that? These young people? Long story short, we set a target which was surpassed by about $20 (Ksh.2000). We are grateful to everyone including friends of Dowe Music &Arts (Those who are neither alumni or current students) for the support you gave.

Elizabeth "Mama Ng'endo at her home,
Sewage Area, Nakuru
We arrived safely on Thursday evening, 14 of February.  Mama Ng’endo gave a story that made all of us appreciate life. Her husband was brutally murdedered in 2007during the Post- Election Violence. They found his lifeless body lying in a trench. Well, I have been preaching peace and singing about it for long but for once I felt a deeper unction to do this more and more.

She picked up herself and thought about life and what lessons God had for her in the new status of widowhood. A thought of taking care of orphaned children came in. Being a Christian, she thought so little about her meagre resources and how she would cater for the children. Elizabeth narrated how sometimes she wakes up to a toddler as young as a month old abandoned at her doorstep. This was so heart breaking especially as I remembered Susan telling me a testimony of how a child was almost dying of malnutrition and now she was a bundle of joy, months later, in the hands of Mama Ng’endo!


After introduction and short speeches from both the visitors and the host, we had an awesome moment of acoustic guitar music. Our repertoire was graced with Paul Clement’s Amani, Angel Benard’s Siteketei and Kuliko Jana by Sauti Sol. This was the first for one of our students. As we went back to office, Ms. Waigi had a comment to make.

 I didn’t know it’s this nice to help someone less fortunate…thank you so much for organizing this.
Touch a Soul will be here again in a year’s time. Remember, at any point in life, there is always someone less privileged than you. Dare to touch a soul!
The writer of this post is the founder of 
frontier of Art4Leadership
He is a Yali Alumni based in Nakuru.

Sunday, 10 February 2019

YES MOMBASA: Dowe Music Band at the Coast






Dowe Music Band arrives at Mombasa Terminus

The weekend started with a wonderful journey on Friday 8, February 2019 from Nakuru to Mombasa. A team of four, (two gents and two ladies) had been preparing for the Entrepreneurship Summit organized by the YouthEmpowerment Program Initiative (YEPI) for about a month. Tasked with a duty as the guest artists, the team under the leadership of the director knew this was an event to put their best foot forward. From the feedback after the event, you can be sure, they never went wrong.
Mr. Amani (Center), CEO, YEPI

The two nights were spent at Garden Park hotel while the event took place at Sai Rock Beach Hotel. Upon arrival, the team made sure that the clients at Garden Park had a snippet of what was in their package. Little did they know that they would be needed the following day due to public demand. However, this couldn’t work as the main occasion of the weekend ended almost midnight and the songbirds had an early train to catch up with.
Late Night Performance at the Dinner, Sai Rock Hotel 

We must applaud Mr. Amani Katana, the CEO of YEPI together with his team for the transformative work they are performing at the coast. This is one among the many young people who are on cause to transform Africa. Looking at the invited speakers, the idea pitching competition, panelists and the whole meticulous organization of the event, one would think this was a foreign company with fifty years of existence in Kenya. On the contrary, YEPI have embraced the art of collaboration, team work and synergy. This is a big lesson to all of us, especially the youths who have grown up with a competing attitude. Leveraging on others’ strength makes one formidable. A force to reckon with.
From Left: Douglas, Mitchelle, Juliana and Antony

Dowe Music Band was on stage starting with a performance from Asa’s beautiful tune ‘Jailer.’ As the audience seemed to settle, the sizzling violin tune on ‘You Raise Me Up’ arrested every one as if to command them to pay attention. This was followed by Eric Wainaina’s Daima Mkenya in which the violin leads the verse while the singers take on the chorus.
In what seemed as a fresh reminder of the recently departed hero Mr. Oliver Mtukudzi, his international tune Todii engulfed the audience as they could resonate with the guitar plucking and the organized vocals. 
Ms. Mitchelle and Douglas on Jailer

You could see from the audience that the worth of a man is actually in his work, which lives on even after he leaves the earth. The team then sang Siteketei with the energy that the siong commands of any performer. The MC, known as Mr. Good Stuff signaled the team to do the last piece. No other tune does the curtain raising better than No To Poor Leadership and own composition that gets everyone singing along or better still nodding in agreement with it’s simple but provocative message.

The various speakers challenged young people to rise up and be on course. One, Ms. Carol Odera, MWF2018, Tony Elumelu Fellow and a Yali RLC Alumnus reminded the young entrepreneurs that Financial Capital is important but its not the main reason people fail to start businesses. One must invest in knowledge search.

During the tea break, the hall was jammed with cool live Jazz performed by Mr. Ogutu. The guitar was on point and it sort of reminded people that this is February, a month of love. With his favorite phrase Babu Kanambia ( Grandpa told me), sipping coffe has never been easy and fun than at the time whenyou hear words of widom fused in tunes made of guitar strings. One of the Idea Pitching Judges would later say, “Wow, I loved the Guitar plucking.” Mrs. Julie Mwinyi is a business Coach at the YALI RLC, East Africa Region and an MWF alumni.
Douglas, Solo Jazz Performance

The pitching competition premiered five participants in which the winner will receive $1000 (Ksh. 100, 000) to boost the initiative. The top three entrepreneurs will get a one year mentorship program from Hazina Trust Organization which is one of the partners with YEPI. Moving forward, we can only say that such activities should be encouraged and if our leaders are looking for youths to support ( as the claim has always been), then it’s time they acted on their quest. We shall do it even if they don’t showp though.
Team at the Terminus

In conclusion, we are grateful to the YEPI fraternity for inviting Dowe Music & Arts the opportunity to entertain the guests. We look forward to bigger engagements and call out to any other organizations to emulate the same. Our music is live and authentic, relevant and least to say sound. Doesn’t our tagline command us so? It reads, Dowe Music & Arts: RIDING ON EXCELLENCE!
The writer is the founder of Dowe Music &  Arts