TEN YEARS OF CHIZI
Dan Chizi Aceda Speaks.................................
Exactly 10 years ago in October I stepped on a stage as a solo act for the first time, and like all musicians all over the world I started in church at a service called BLAST (which was the youth service at Nairobi Chapel). Back in those days I was a rapper (and not a very good one as my lyric sheets and persons present will attest). In fact when I think about that day, I feel deeply embarrassed because there was nothing that I brought to that stage except maybe sheer determination to get to the end of a song.
I mean I failed in every aspect. Take wardrobe for instance. I wore a blue satin shirt (which was my favorite shirt in the whole world) and had a sky blue bandana wrapped around my head (like Nate Dogg) and some pants that were so baggy that two guys could wear them comfortably. I looked like a clown.
I had no choreography at all and no sense of the stage extents. The microphone that I was using was more like a tether than anything else and I had such poor mic technique that the sound guy kept pressing the mute button. All this meant that listening to me that day was like trying to tune an old radio.
You see in those days the sign that you had a good performance was that the pastor would mention your song in his message. That day Pastor Janet did not say anything. I stepped off the stage did the walk of shame to the back of the church to find an obscure corner to hide. I ignored the applause because I knew it wasn’t real, these guys were just being nice.
After the service, I went over to the sound desk to pick up my backing track and the sound guy (who was a self styled master of all things under the sun) firmly declared that he had never ever heard such a bad song before in his life. He was right. It was a bad song. It was a bad performance and I was a shabby act. It was difficult to hear, but it was absolutely true.
That day I had a choice to make and one of the options was to give up. It was the easy option. Maybe it was even the wiser option. I never performed at BLAST again as a solo act. In fact the next time I took to the stage at Nairobi Chapel as a solo act was in November of 2005 one week before the launch of “SULUWE” my debut album.
In the years between 2001 and 2005 I had joined the worship team, joined the dance team and learned to sing and I had learned to dance. But above all I was carrying the memories of that first experience. I kept hearing the words that the sound man had said to me. I kept seeing his face all over the audience. I have to say it was a hard gig. I struggled through it; stumbling over my lyrics and fighting to control my tone and pitch. I got to the end of that song and the band messed up the ending but I didn’t care. I had gotten to the end of the song and I was ready for that walk of shame.
As I walked off the stage, the audience applauded. I ignored them. Then Pastor Janet took the mic and spoke and spent half her sermon talking about my song ‘sanasana’ and plugging my launch concert the next week. Was this a victory? Maybe. I don’t know. But I do know that it was NOT a failure.
Over the past 10 years I have played many gigs to many different audiences. Some of these gigs I have played have been fantastic while others have been complete train wrecks. At some of these gigs I have been the star while at others I have been the flop. I have been at gigs where I was impossible to ignore and I have also been at gigs where I was little more than part of the furniture.
I have learnt a lot but I still have a long way to go. On October the 19th I will play a showcase concert to celebrate the years spent on stage, the lessons learnhttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gift and the challenges ahead. I will play as hard as I can and maybe I will move people to tears. Maybe I will get them to lauhttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifgh and cheer or even to applaud. But between you and me, all I will be trying to do is to get to the end of the song.
Why? Because a song is all I have. It is the reason that I choose to shed my dignity regularly to entertain others. The song is my reason for living. The song is my story. It’s the whole story. And the only reason I will set foot on that stage will be to share my story. What’s the use of leaving it half way? "
The Gates at Alliance Francaise open at 7pm. Show begins at 8pm. Tickets: Ksh. 800/-
Get advance tickets for KSh. 500/- www.ticketsasa.com
All are welcome to the after party and birthday gifts are expected!