Celebrating East African Writing!

Denise Gordon – At the Storymoja Hay Festival Launch ‘Dine with Stars’

The internationally acclaimed American world soul singer and vocalist, Denise Gordon, will perform at the ‘Dine with Stars’ Storymoja Hay Festival launch evening spectacular. Denise has shared the same stage as Gladys KnightLauryn Hill, and many R&B greats at the Amateur Night at the World Famous Apollo Theatre in New York City, where she managed to twice walk away with the grand prize! The lyrics of her debut single ‘We Need the Children’ received an Honorary Mention in the 2003 John Lennon and 2005 Great American Songwriting Contests. In 2007 the song was been selected for the Diaspora for Africa Vol. 2 compilation in support of the fight against Global Malnutrition and Poverty.  She hopes to write more songs in the languages she has heard over the and years – French, Swahili, Portuguese, and Kirundi and Kinyarwanda. She is working on a series of collaborations with various African artists.

Denise Gordon

Denise Gordon released her 2006 debut CD entitled Wangu We which means You’re Mine in Swahili, the lingua franca of East Africa! The album is a fun mixture of R&B, Afro fusion and jazz. She is a native New Yorker who has lived in Africa for 15 years and proud to have produced this Made in Africa product that was recorded in Kenya and Burundi with African musicians and producers!  The title track is the song she has always wanted to sing with the help of producer Bashir Dia of Tanganyika Studios in Burundi.

She has dedicated much of her life to development of Africa. Naturally the nearly 15 years that she has lived here from East to West, play heavily on the songs she writes. The track ‘Black Man’ with the borrowed cadence from Burundi and Rwanda, laments the similar situations of Black men in Africa and the Americas. ‘My Ideal Man’ is a delightful, spoken word piece painted by the piano of Kenyan musician Aaron Rimbui, that describes just that! ‘Suddenly Sudan’ was written during her days in Darfur in support of those affected by the war. The rap in the beginning is a former Sudanese child soldier named Lam, who is speaking in his native tongue of Nuer. The heavy drums added by Executive Producer Robert ‘RKay’ Kamanzi, represents the burden of war along with the chants of Kenyan singer Hellen Mtawali who make listeners feel the tears and suffering of the situation.  Denise is delighted that this song has been selected to feature on the compilation Rwanda for Darfur. The track ‘African Flava‘ is a lively dance beat laced with Kwaito-esque rhythms. ‘Sunday’ is a light jazz number expressing the love of Sundays.

In 1995 Denise went to Rwanda during a very turbulent time for the country. On her track ‘Fusions’ she professes- “I found my voice where my ancestors left it – wrapped in the discovery of her new African world.” She discovered her musical voice and eventually moved to Tanzania to pursue her creative interests in singing and writing stories. She has performed throughout East African with local musicians, notably in Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar, Kigali and Bujumbura. An American living an African musical dream surrounded by the richness, beauty and vibrancy of Africa, Denise looks to Angelique Kidjo. Her music is R&B to the core, laced with love and rhythms of Africa. Denise has performed at the Gala Opening of the Rwandan Film Festival in Kigali before the guest of honour, American civil rights founding father, Ambassador Andrew Young. U.S. Embassies throughout Africa have requested her rendition of the U.S. National Anthem on Independence Day which she has performed in Kenya, Burundi, Rwanda Sudan and Mali.  Her soulful rendition was performed in front of such Kenyan luminaries as former President Moi and Wangari Maathai, the first female African Nobel Laureate! She has recently signed a distribution deal with Kenya’s premier music distributor – Sound Africa! Denise has been a curtain raiser for the South African reggae artist Lucky Dube and sensational R&B group, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes.  The U.S. Embassy in South Sudan invited Denise to perform at the inauguration of the new embassy complex plus hold concerts and workshops for local musicians in June 2010!  She did a memorable performance on the 4th of July at the Blankets and Wine monthly music festival in Kenya.

Mingle and dine with the stars at Carnivore on launch night Thursday 30th September for Ksh 8000/ which includes special package tickets (launch dinner, one premium event worth Ksh 3000/, season pass, access to private tea/coffee lounge at the festival).  And you can now buy your tickets online and pay by card, Mpesa or Zap at For more information about the festival, please visit or



This entry was posted on September 16, 2010 by in Storymoja Hay Festival 2010, Writing.
%d bloggers like this: