ACHOLA ROSARIO AND ROOTS RADIO NAIROBI TAKE A LOOK AT ETHIOPIA
By Achola Rosario, Contributing Editor at www.ATCNews.org
(Posted 06th January 2022)
Hello my lurvlies! Good moaning and Happy New Year!
Yes, it has been a while since you have heard from your favourite Queen of Double
Entendre, the immortal Flight Captain of the FOMO fame. You have always been in my
dreams. We have been revamping the ATC News site (and our lives in general), and here we
are, back with lots to catch up on.
You know you are onto something special when Lionesses rise up to sing for Peace in
Ethiopia, for the last 20 years or so has been a beacon of hope and renewal in the East and
Horn of Africa, the birthplace of the Selassie resistance to colonialism and home to African
Diaspora returnees looking to reconnect with the Motherland, as well as the seat of the
hopeful but basically defunct African Union. But Ethiopia is now on the brink of breaking up
into a million pieces, with the Tigrayan army making a push to reclaim their seat in the
capital, and the Nobel Peace Prize winner, President Abyi Ahmed calling on ordinary citizens
to arm themselves and defend their nation, while imposing strict and targeted curfew and
stop-n-search state of emergency measures in Addis Ababa. Many “voices of reason” have
come from abroad ostensibly to aid the nation back to a peaceful stand-off, along with
Turkish and Chinese drones for facilitation. But it is the Rastafarii movement who are
making the loudest noise here in Nairobi, as Lalibela and Shashamene Zuria, both UNESCO
heritage sites, exchange hands like dollar bills. Nairobi is host to the largest contingent of
Ethiopian refugees in Africa.
So, when Roots Radio called me for their organisational meeting for a show they were
planning on December 12 2021 calling for Peace in Ethiopia, I was definitely interested and
intrigued. In the short time since they started slap bang in the COVID pandemic, this online
radio based in Ruaka, an outfit started by 45-year-old DJ Stitchy aka Steven Odhiambo, and
26-year-old MC Minaj in October 2020, has transformed the music broadcasting landscape
in Nairobi, bringing together the finest reggae musicians and giving them a platform to
speak and perform, hosting the International Reggae Day [Kenya chapter] under license
from Jamaica Art Holdings since year 2018, holding and facilitating Industry Workshops for
the entire reggae industry, giving free studio platforms for deejays and Mcees during the
Covid-19 pandemic since July 2020 and being the link agency between homegrown and
Jamaican artistes through the annual International Mandate show.
Most importantly as well, they teach the upcoming and lift up the Sisters in the industry.
They have been responsible for holding the Wadada Pamoja (Our Sisters together) annual
festival since 2018, that has showcased female MCs and given them an equal footing in the
industry like never before. It is them “sistren” that shone at the concert that took place at
the newly launched 5-month-old Nairobi Street Kitchen on Mpaka Rd, Westlands Nairobi.
Owned by Simba Hospitality, the same group that owns Villa Rosa Kempinski and Olare Mara
Kempinski 5-star luxury hotels, as well as wine brand Uva Wines, Nairobi Street Kitchen is definitely
a place where it is obvious that Money and Creativity had a great wedding. With 11
restaurants with names like NOODS noodle bar (whose tag-line is SEND NOODS), an ice-
cream shop whose name is I LICKED IT SO IT’S MINE, and a coffee shop named SPILLED MILK
(which in the current context brings out all sorts of connotations- all of them not fit for
publication), I personally most definitely approve of this location.
With an Indian Daba
restaurant fitted in a bus INSIDE the very large lower hall, and another 2 VW Combis serving
as restaurant logos, oh and a couple of shipping containers labelled “CAUTION: ALIEN
ABDUCTION AREA” serving as the noodle bar kitchen and storage units, my love for this
place was complete.
Until I paid kshs180 ($1.80) for a Coca-Cola.
But I guess with a bar covered in 1980s cassette tapes and wait-staff with genuine hand-crafted leather aprons- (which I so desperately want for my own nefarious activities)- you have to just sit down,
shut up and swallow.
Upstairs in the Social Hall, things got warmed up by some nice curtain raisers and a sealed
off glass smoking booth on the back balcony, before the show was kicked off by Blackheart,
an Afro-centric female singer who serenaded us with a ballad in Luo banishing demons from
whence they came, before belting out a cover of Koffee’s “Toast”, an award-winning club-
banger that relates enemies to burned toast.
But the stars of the show were definitely 4 young Empresses, individual stars in their own
right, who came together on this night under the banner “LIONESS ON THE RISE”, and
chanted down Babylon, bringing out the Afro-warrior in revellers, and declaring that “It’s a
bad girl season, and we don’t need no permission”. Amen!
Abs-alicious Lucy Lugaro, Bad Gyal Becky Muthoni, the Indomitable Cathy Matele and the
dramatic Queen Kare, accompanied by the Baddest Band in the Business- ROOTS
CONNECTION- rocked us with heavy-based roots reggae grooves like “Warrior”, “No retreat
no surrender”, “Pretty eyes”, “Light it up’ and “BAD GYAL SEASON’, all innocuous titles, but
delivered with such gusto that their stomach abs rippled enviously. Forget about calling
these four “Ladies”. They showed they all have the same Fire as their male counterparts,
harmonizing like proper African call-and-response choir ladies, while spitting solos like they
were the rudest buoys of the bunch. And they didn’t give a hoot for censorship, inciting the
crowd like any good sorceress should, calling on the Gideon Soldiers to defend their nation,
and burn down Babylon. I even had to put my camera down to dance, before I reminded
myself of my journalistic impartiality. However, you my dear reader are free to get inspired
into the movement to save Ethiopia. Even legendary Kenyan Reggae artist Ally Magobeni
turned up to show solidarity.
One Nation, One Love.
You ready? Twende (We move).
To book any of the featured artists and others:
Dj Stitchy: +254 786 145 026/
Muchai Moses: +254 721 831 460
Lioness on the Rise:
Cathy Matete +254 723 325196
Becky Muthoni +254 721 638755
Lucy Lugano- +254 716 043312
Kare (Karin)- +254 706 074 694
To watch THE FOMO TRAVEL SHOW EP79: ROOTS RADIO FEST 4 ETHIOPIA: