LIVERMORE -- If you have been longing to experience the flavor, sounds and artistic sights of Kenya -- but haven't managed to get time off for a visit or money saved for the two-day trip to reach the East African country -- Livermore on Sunday may be a convenient alternative for a partial peek at Kenyan culture.

"A Taste of Kenya," sponsored by Cheza Nami Foundation Inc., will feature Kenyan music, dance and artists showcasing their literary works and musical talents. The family event will be held at the Bothwell Arts Center at 2466 Eighth St. from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

In a phone interview from Nairobi, founder Catherine Ndungu-Case said the organization's mission is teaching African art and culture through interactive music and dance.

The aim is "to give people the opportunity to visit and have conversations with artists who are from Kenya, to show art that most people (here) don't have a chance to see," said Chase who will return to the Bay Area in time to participate in the event. Artists who will be featured are:

  • Wawi Amasha of Mami Afrika, a Los Angeles-based fashion designer, who will showcase African-inspired jewelry and handcrafted clothing that includes traditional fabric known in East Africa as khanga or lesso. The colorful fabric often has messages written in Swahili, the official language of Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.


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  • vocalist and percussion player Piwai, born in Zimbabwe, who will perform music from different genres and sing mbira-infused numbers in various languages, including Swahili, Zulu and French.

  • Minda Magero, who will read published poetry, based on her experiences in Kenya and abroad.

  • Ngene Mwaura, a third-generation Kenyan artist whose work is displayed at the Commercial Bank of Africa and the Dutch embassy in Kenya. Mwaura will paint on site while using inspiration from the poetry being read.

  • Live performances by singer Semeiyan Kaorri will blend sounds from Maasai pastoralists, traditional Kenyan music and contemporary sound.

  • There will be a harvest celebratory dance, and, during the finale, master percussionist and drummer Ibou Ngom will lead an interactive drum performance, where the public can join and practice high-energy Kenyan dance moves with influences from West Africa.

    Culinary fare at the event will include Kenyan-style samosas filled with meat and sweet mandazi pastries with cinnamon. There will also be African-style face painting, children's crafts and prizes given.

    If you go:
  • When: 3 to 6 p.m. Sunday
  • Where: Bothwell Arts Center, 2466 Eighth St., Livermore
  • Cost: $10 to $40
  • Tickets: http://cheza
    namikenya.brownpaper
    tickets.com/
  • Details: www.cheza
    nami.org