4th September 2009 - Day 5
Our last day at GoDown and it's heads down for another full day of recording. Working with Ben we speed through five demo sessions and manage several takes of each song.
Half way through the day an unexpected surprises crops up.
Akech, who has been playing the guitar on some of the previous days sessions, arrives with a home-made glockenspiel.
He slowly tells us his story. In 1979, whilst cutting grass with a machete, he slipped and severed a tendon in one of his fingers. This injury prevented him from being able to play the guitar.
Determined to carry on playing an instrument, he starts picking up pieces of scrap metal, carefully choosing those that have the correct musical intervals between them. After a while he has a full set and asks his carpenter friend to make him a box frame to sit them on. A loop of electrical cable sits around the top of the box with the individual metal pieces resting on top.
Having the mics still set-up from the previous session, Akech starts to play his glockenspiel and sing. We pull Matthew back into the room and he starts to plays a simple rhythm and we hit record.
5th September 2009 - Day 6 & 7, the great outdoors!
Some time ago, we made friends with brothers Ivan and Sean Ross who are putting on the Rift Valley Festival at Lake Naivasha http://www.riftvalleyfestival.com/. We talked about our respective projects and decided that if the timings worked out we would take some of the musicians we were working with along to Naivasha.
The timings did work out, so Devon, Paul, Ben, Guy and myself decide to head off to the countryside.
A delayed start to the day as we learned our original driver had been arrested the night before (charges still unknown) meant having to make alternative arrangements but we eventually got going around lunchtime.
The journey out of Nairobi is slow but we eventually get on to the open roads and very suddenly the Rift Valley opens up in front of us with lake Naivasha shimmering in the distance.
Arriving at Lake Naivasha, the first thing that hits you is the smell of roses. As one of the main rose farm areas in the world, the abundance of large greenhouses soon explain where the fragance is coming from.
The festival is idyllically set on the shores of Lake Naivasha within the grounds of Fishermans Camp. The stage is situated under Acacia trees with a family of Colobus monkeys running around the branches.
Devon, Paul and Ben soundcheck as the sun goes down take to the stage as the night-time crowds gather. They play a mixture of each of their own material with Ben joining them on the mandolin.
The rest of the night turns into a party with slots from DJ Yam (Guy), a local guitarist and finishing off with a dance hip-hop troupe from Nairobi - I'll try and find out their names.
The next day we treat ourselves to a drive around Hell's Gate national park and are lucky enough so spot some Giraffe, Zebras, wild boar, antelope.