Nairobi West prison





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Sauti Academy group lesson, 12/2/2011 (thanks to Sauti Sol!)

Saturday’s class was very inspiring. Ben and William would like to share their thoughts:

Saturday’s class was eye-opening and we learnt quite alot. The part of the class where we sang circle songs was fun as we tried to fuse many sounds trying to make beautiful melodies, and it taught us in some way how
one can come up with melodies and beats.

Then when Sauti Sol came to talk, it was uplifting. I mean, them being there telling us their experience in the music industry, a topic which we were just getting into. It enabled us try to find some direction as we pursue music, and we felt inspired.

The Producer, Wanyoike also made us understand what genre, or kind of music will be comfortable with us, and also understanding what happens in the studio. We’re hoping that we’ll soon work with him.

We’re expecting to put all that was said into practice in the upcoming first live performance at the Nairobi West prison on this Friday the18th of February.

Thank you very much Natalie for everything.

May God Bless U.


William & Ben

And, if you’re curious about Sauti Sol’s latest album you CANNOT miss the release party of the year:


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Ni Hivi Si Vile – Nairobi West prisoners

The first prison song we did is online! Thanks to UNITED STRUGGLE PROJECT, Izzy Brown, Insect & inmates at Nairobi West Prison. Listen to it and leave your comments: HOPE YOU ENJOY!


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Nafisika Trust – Nairobi West prison

It’s been a while and a lot is happening! A second Sauti Academy talent group has started the program, the first group of students are now composing their own songs and are still going strong.

In the spirit of giving back Insect and I have started teaching in Nairobi West prison some months ago. It’s one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done, I absolutely love going to prison twice a week. We work with 20 inmates and write songs with them, let them perform in front of the other inmates and prepare them for performances at functions.

At the prison we met a lovely girl called Vicky, who started an organization called Nafisika Trust. “Nafisika” is a Swahili word meaning “get out of poverty, become well off, or be relieved.” Nafisika Trust is an organization formed with a vision of contributing to the reduction of recidivism rates among inmates by providing programs that help in behavior change and economic empowerment. Vicky is absolutely passionate about her work and wrote some lovely words about our project that I’d like to share here:

“I went to meet up with the Music trainers Natalie and Insect from Sauti Academy. They have taken time out to train inmates in song writing, spoken word and vocals for a couple of months now. I must say they are doing a brilliant job. Trust me I know how hard it is to teach music, I trained a couple of inmates in guitar last year and it was hard work but very rewarding once they get it. So thumbs up for Natalie and Insect for the beautiful job they have done!

I had seen Natalie around for a while but we never really got talking, also because we are not usually at the prison at the same time. Today we got to know each other a little more. She is from Holland and is now recently married in Kenya. Cool! She runs Sauti Academy under Penya Records. She trains music and Insect is one of her trainees. Again as I said, they are brilliant so I suggest that you pay them a visit if you would like some music training.

What I love about them is their concern for the inmates. You can right out tell it’s genuine. You know we’ve seen many guys come to the prison in the name of helping out but what they actually do is help themselves. They come one day and bring the press along with them for their own publicity stunt and never come back. Not good people at all.

Anyway, today I got treated to a couple of performances by the inmates. First up was a short skit about literacy education. Then was a poem by one of my students. I was amused because it was a poem I had actually taught in class a while back. I was quite glad that he could recite it from memory. Then came on this brilliant guy, I mean he is amazing. He did a poem in Swahili; it was quite, quite good and later was joined by the rest to do a song. OMG I totally enjoyed it. These guys have potential it’s not a joke.

It’s incredible what music does to people, you see them in a different light. The atmosphere was full of joy, they were smiling and dancing. This is when one begins to see the man behind the “Kunguru” (prison clothes) which makes them all look the same. You begin to see the different characters emerge; some who hardly smile begin to crack through their walls. It’s as if music open’s ones heart and you become mortal, finally some emotions and just for a short while they feel free!

Natalie and Insect have amazing talent and are quite easy to get along with. You can easily see their love for these guys.”

For more info about Nafisika Trust:

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Sauti Academy performance!

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Thoughts, hopes and dreams – by Cynthia

I think of a brighter world

I think of a hopeful world

Where each child sheds no tear

And every man lives without fear

I dream of a peaceful earth

Every life filled with mirth

No cries, no lies

No sadness, no goodbyes

I think of the child in the slum

His mother’s life damned

I think of the forsaken infant

His life slowly slipping away

I think of the present world

Life’s ups getting steeper

I dream of a better world

Every man his brother’s keeper

Perhaps tomorrow will dawn a brighter day

With today’s woes thrown away

And yesterday’s troubles in beyond realms

Till then…I think…I hope…I dream.

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Naomi’s week – 28/6/2010

What I have learnt this week is that no dream is too big to achieve. I have learnt that destiny is not a matter of chance but choice. It is not a thing to be waited for but to be achieved. There is a percentage of us that hide behind excuses like “I do not know what my calling is” or “I don’t have a dream.” Those excuses have merely kept us in the bleachers of life, refusing to come out into the playing field. As my mama( and mentor) always says, excuses are the tools that the incompetent use to build bridges that lead to absolutely nowhere. Most people have allowed fear to paralyze their dreams and goals. Most importantly, I have learnt to avoid postponing matters so as to keep my dream alive.

WHAT IF: by Naomi

People tell me I should shut my heart down

Girl you are so in love

You might crush your whole world

But I tell them that I have a wild heart

Filled with love and strong faith

Smiling through the hard times

What if I am the one who’s gonna be loved without a doubt?

What if I let him go and find someone else who turns out worse?

What if I never find the happiness that I feel right now?

If I let him go, will I end up alone, coz I’ll never find a deeper connection than this?

Am a risker, going for my instincts

I’ll end up with nothing if I don’t risk nothing

But I can’t help to fill my head with wonder

What if it was meant to be

What if am just crazy

What it I am the one who is gonna be loved without a doubt?

What if I let him go and find someone else who ends up worse?

What if I never find the happiness I feel right now?

If I let him go, will I end up alone, coz I’ll never find a deeper connection than this?

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