Actually, these are the first of many videos from the events last week. On Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, 82 musicians from several different African countries auditioned at the Brookhouse School in Nairobi, Kenya, for scholarship opportunities to attend Berklee through the Africa Scholars Program. Many others had to be turned away because there just wasn’t enough time.
One day I was doing work in a second floor office in the school. From my tower (literally, see earlier post), I heard a song break out in the distance, so I went down to check it out. The singers told me they had just met at the auditions. Many of them heard about the events in the newspaper, from friends, or on Facebook, which is very popular here. Most people access it – and the web in general – on their phones since they don’t always have access to computers.
Here they perform the song “Malaika,” in the zilizopendwa genre, by Kenyan artist Fadhili Williams. Several of the candidates sang it in their auditions.
In this video, Sylvester Makobi from Nairobi, talks about his instrument, a luo lyre from Western Kenya called the Nyatiti, and why he wants to attend Berklee. He also performs a traditional folk song whose title means “Thank you very much.”
Saxophonist Imoleayo Balogun and pianist Oluwatobi Ojetunde both flew six hours from Nigeria for the auditions. Here they play “Oluwa ku ise,” a Nigerian song, while awaiting their turns.
Now the candidates will have to wait two to three months to hear the results of their auditions. Said Michael Shaver, Assistant Director of International Admissions, “Based on the talent, it’s going to be a very difficult decision this year,” as to who gets the full-ride Africa Scholarship award. Many additional scholarships are expected to be awarded through the program, up to $1 million.