So, to cut a funny and short story even shorter, a fellow hosteler, a fun-loving German gentleman called Sebastian, heard us perform during a campfire session the other week, liked what he heard and put us in contact with his also-German business partner who moonlights as a musician/live music organizer in a local club called Malindis. They’re looking to diversify their live music offerings at the club and asked if we’d perform a few songs on a it’s-not-that-serious-we’re-just-kinda-jamming basis between the main act’s sets last night. In search of a good old story to tell the grandkids one day and intrigued by the prospect of our first ever sort-of paid “gig” in front of strangers (and in a bar mostly frequented by locals) we (at the time quite possibly foolishly) agreed!
With a few back-up lyrics scribbled on paper, a couple of beers to take the edge of the nerves and a great group of hostel friends in the audience (plus about 80 others) we got on stage after the excellent local (Arusha-based) band finished their country – yes, COUNTRY – set. Nerves sort of in check (we kept telling ourselves that it was just for laughs), we kicked off with an acoustic version of ‘Africa’, the oh-so appropriate 80s megahit by TOTO with such lyrical bull’s eyes as “I know that I must do what’s right, as sure as Kilimanjaro always rises above the Serengeti” (went down a treat with the locals as well as expats despite some small mess-ups on our part), followed by Bob Dylan’s lovely-if-not-totally-appropriate-for-the-party-setting ballad ‘To Make You Feel My Love’ (which we learned for Celia’s & Küsä’s wedding this summer), and concluding with Lionel Richie’s party anthem ‘All Night Long’, which ended up becoming a hilarious sing-along/impromptu jam with the local band. Everybody seemed to know the song and sang along as the few Swahili words/bits came up… Although as any self-critical hobby musician would admit, it ain’t that easy playing in front of/with a really talented local band, we had a blast both during our mini-set and after (Boogie even ended up jamming on a few African hits with them). The locals were very supportive, dancing along, hollering compliments and even giving us a 10,000 shilling tip (a whole 8 francs which nicely covered our costs for the night). Our friends, even a few work colleagues who came by, were fantastic too and gave us far more support than our hastily-assembled set deserved…
The night concluded with some local “line-dancing” (a dance which Mexican Sofia from EF — in case you’re reading — taught me; who knew it was hot stuff in Africa too?!) and a quick late-night noodle meal back at Hostel Hoff.
We were at Amani today, helping out with a visitor tour (more on that later) and if the beautiful weather holds up, we’ll try to head to a local pool tomorrow to chill like the wanna-be rockstars that we are.
Lots of love from this side of the Equator,