Nairobi, Kenya: Africa, “The Final Frontier”, as we often hear it referred to in international metal media. For many years, news about Metal festivals in South African cities such as Johannesburg, Cape Town and others has reached ears of a global audience. Even other Southern countries like Angola, Botswana and Namibia have enjoyed some attention, as well as far-North African states like Egypt and Morocco.
Yet Africa is a vast giant, slumbering. Countless square-kilometers lay between the North and South, and Rock/Metal culture is bubbling furiously beneath the surface. Every now and again, it bursts out into the open, as now seen with the Nairobi Metal Festival 2017.
Nairobi Metal Festival 2017, opening a new era
The first of it’s name, the Nairobi Metal Festival launches a debut this weekend at The Alchemist Bar. This is certainly not the first metal show to occur in the East African nation. For years, there has been a bubbling rock and metal culture featuring bands such as Parking Lot Grass, In Oath, Lust Of A Dying Breed, Absence Of Light and a good many more. This weekend will not even be the first time international visitors perform to Kenyan metalheads.
However, what does strike us at M4A as significant about the Nairobi Metal Festival is it’s title. And the intent behind it. It speaks of an identity. And it suggests the laying of a foundation upon which further building blocks can be arranged towards giving the Kenyan scene a more international character.
The line-up makes it clear. Bands from four countries are converging in the Kenyan capital city this weekend. Two from Europe and three from Africa; two of those from Kenya itself. Kenya’s Last Year’s Tragedy and Irony Destroyed already display a local culture deeply entrenched in the sounds of Metalcore. It stands to reason that close-cousin genre representatives would feel welcome with Slander from Italy (also recently toured South Africa) and In Other Climes from France; since both are proponents of more Hardcore-styled sounds too. An anomaly in the mix, yet broadly respected for lyrical and intellectual artistry, is Doom Metal band Vale Of Amonition visting from neighbouring Uganda.
Full event details available at the facebook event page. We watch from afar, at our South African headquarters, and trust in a hope that this is the birth of a lasting annual tradition.