Fadhilee’s Garage presents unique way of enjoying live music in Kenya


The mention of a garage, well an ordinary one, paints the picture of black stains, oil spillage, a can left somewhere in the corner, propellers, screws or the car that occasionally calls it home. To some, it acts as a storage room especially in growing economies like Kenya where a two or three bed-roomed house is just not enough for the furniture and bales of clothes. To a home where an artist is restless, it would be turned into a studio of sorts or just a hangout where you would go to explore your crazy side.

Fadhilee’s garage on this day looks slightly different; this one has two wooden-racks painted white with two vinyl records artistically nailed on it. On the forehead of the wooden set up, is an art piece of orchestra silhouettes playing what would seem like jazz music- “I got it as a wedding gift from a friend” Fadhilee says as he gestures at the picture. On the left wall of the garage precariously hangs a guitar just above the unperturbed audience who came to enjoy an evening of good, warm music.

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The garage was an awesome display which created a delightful ambience, as the balmy breeze courted each one‘s taste, to the sound of the guitar, the djembe which was occasionally brought together with the harmonica to spice all of it up, a perfect evening you would say. The performers included Nairobi’s finest artists; Tetu Shani, Poets Teardrops plus an appearance from Mufasa and Fadhillee himself. The music, poetry, the drinks and bites on the side, the whispers under the sky of darkness brought out a package that would no doubt make you value the essence of enjoying life and music with friends the notes from the imperious guitar, the occasional joining in of those in attendance crowned by a hearty laugh and that concurring gaze.  

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Tetu Shani would take the guitar to let out his soul, at moments joined by Fadhilee in a kind of bromance that would bring out a touchy yet fun side of the artists. Shani, the guy behind a the mood music type of music delivered a worthy performance, an arrangement that included some of his best works. The ecstatic ‘Chemistry’ singer and songwriter spoke fondly of the type of experience and impact performances of the kind would bring to the Kenyan music scene, with the objective of bringing to light a unique kind of experience; Shani says their approach when it comes to performance seeks to capitalize on an untapped market.

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Teardrops, one of the leading poets in Kenya, performing mainly in Sheng (Kenyan slang), laid out his poetry laced with rich humor and exceptional wordplay condemning injustices in society and call for fight against the inequalities. This evening, he also rendered piece about his daughter, which as he says was inspired by ‘Before My Daughter Is Born’ a poem from another Kenyan poet Mufasa. A father, Teardrops appealed to his young daughter not let society’s hardships condemn her into despair and resignation but remain a powerful and strong being.

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Fadhilee is an energetic, friendly character and an exceptional performer with sparkle in his eyes and a generous smile that snugly reveals a bit of the man. His well-kept black dreadlocks tethered at the back, the man of the house was comfortable in shorts and a delicate T-shirt as he welcomed more of his invitees for what would turn out to be an excellent night. Fadhilee, who also doubles up as UTAM (Utamaduni) Festival director has worked on several singles including ‘Sherehekea’, ‘No Lwanda’, ‘Keys to My Heart’ and an Acoustics of the Kenyan National Anthem among others which are yet to be recorded. On this evening, he performed some of his latest work plus an energetic performance with poet and spoken word act Teardrops.

Fadhilee’s Garage brought a different twist to Kenyan music and performance, speaking to a niche market and the love for live music that is slowly taking over the country. With just the right number of friends, music enthusiasts and a place large enough to accommodate them, as a performer, one can have their music appreciated by the small ‘community’ to the fullest extent. The concept of performance for friends and family or even a small gathering presented a new way of listening and enjoying good music, the kind of music that you would probably not get to hear on Kenyan radios, top clubs and large gatherings like festivals but, can be enjoyed at the comfort of your home. To Tetu Shani and Fadhilee, they would be leading these kinds of ‘get togethers’ in Kenya with the hope that their efforts would bear a much bigger movement.


Photo Courtesy: Nyengesh Photography