Music, when explored correctly can be an essential tool in breaking down cultural borders. Coke Studio, as i it stands today, has held the stage for some of the greatest collaborations from Africa.Due to its representation of the immense cultural diversity in Africa, and all its notable efforts at uniting markets, arts and fan-bases, it can be rightfully described as the most liberal expression of African culture.
This past week, I had the chance to meet with Judith Nyambura, known simply as Avril in the public sphere. We had a small chat concerning her stint this week with MI Abaga, at the Coke Studio Africa session, Her illustrious musical career and her Social activism.
This is what she had to say:
On Staying Woke in the local music industry
Somewhere in the room, a journalist asks “Besides music, what else do you do”? You can tell, buy the way in which she scrunches her face and breaks into a telling smile, that this is a question that she has grown accustomed to hearing, and one whose asking she had been anticipating. To which she replied that, Musicians have been dabbling in various arts as a means to prepare for the day when the cash flow stops coming in with the same frequency and fervor. That however, she feels is an unfair question because its not just musicians that choose to have other ‘hustles’ o the side in order to substitute their pay.
However, she understands that the Kenyan music industry has its weaknesses.But for all its failings, it has had a significant amount of growth. For instance, the 10,000 artistes now signed to the Copyright Society of Kenya, the PSA s on the importance of knowing about the Copyright law, and the Intellectual property law.
On her Social Activism
Avril, alongside her friend, Rose Ntongoni run a campaign dubbed, I am Beautiful and i know it” that focuses on breaking down all these unrealistic ideals of beauty that society has imposed on us.”I do this[being a role model to young girls], not because I am the perfect candidate for this, but I take it upon myself to be the voice that resonates with the people of my gender. This voice has not been handed to me, but i choose to be a representative because we need more women in this industry.”
Avril and MI
One should digest MI Abaga’s music with the same reverence that one digests scripture. The lyrical content carries a lot of depth and truth that stays true to his lived experiences. This week we’ll be treated to a fusion of the groove and energy that is synonymous with Nigerian Music, mixed with the the sultry, easy going vibe that is characteristic to Avril’s style. This, by all standards, is an unlikely mix, but the fusion, I promise you, is something both frenzied and sublime.
By Vera Njambi