Celebrating East African Writing!
Kamau played in a band called “the kikuyu calabashes.” He was actually the lead singer although he had come into the group as the last member. The group was composed of four guys and a girl.
It had all come about about a year ago. Sometimes Kamau’s classmates from university parallel program would invite him out for a drink. It was at one of these nightclubs that he met Angela. He had no idea how that encounter would change his life.
Angela was the female singer and dancer for the band. She had moves like Shakira and had a full African figure. Big breasts and big hips. She was not what you would call beautiful. More like very pretty. But when she was up with the band she was sensational. No man could take his eyes off her. It’s like she spun a spell with her sexy voice and sensual seductive moves.
Kamau as was still naïve and sweet when he met her. When she finished her set Kamau went to congratulate her on her performance, telling her that she had a great voice but the man playing the guitar did not do justice to her voice.
Angela was a woman of the world, loved the sincere flattery that she heard from Kamau but she was not interested in his opinion. He looked like a simple guy. From his dressing you could tell that he didn’t make much and he had that cheap look that said he was probably a student. He was handsome, she thought and he had a deep voice that for a weaker woman would have made her tremble. But she was not a weaker woman.
She dismissed him as a bother. Angela looked out for number one. Herself. She was not interested in admirer’s who could do nothing for her. She had rent to pay and other things that needed money. But somehow that comment about the guitar player not doing her voice justice stuck in her mind.
The next night she invited her boyfriend over to hear her play. He was a record producer who had been telling her for ages that he would get her a demo tape. That had never materialised. Angela didn’t let it bother her. She knew he was using her and she was using him. Angela made sure that at any event she attended with her boyfriend she would attach herself to an important musician. Sometimes she would find herself going back to the musician’s house for a little fun. She didn’t mind. That’s how things were done. Some might have called her a groupie but she didn’t go by that. You would never find her following those musicians around begging for scraps of time or a photo opportunity. Angela was smart. She was not one of those women as she would tell herself. I am going to make it and make it big. Everyone will remember my name.
When it was time for her break she asked her boyfriend casually ‘baby you think the group is playing well. I thought the guitar wasn’t quite right?”
Her boyfriend replied “actually he is not that great. He is off key sometimes but unless you listen closely you can’t tell.’
Now this was interesting. Her boyfriend had never told her the guitar was off. Clearly he did not have her best interests at heart. Clearly it was time to let him go. He couldn’t help her anyway and she had heard that his studio was having money problems. “I don’t hang out with losers. Its time for you to hit the road,” she thought.
She thought about her problems. She tried to tell the guitar player to work on his skills but it seemed he thought he knew better. After all what did she know about guitar?
Two weeks later Kamau was back with his friends. Even though he had never quite gotten over Nyokabi, Angela was on his mind. He was infatuated with her. He had not really had time to socialise much in the city. With his busy job and university he was so swamped and tired at the end of the day all he wanted was his bed.
Kamau was no fool however. He understood signals and he had gotten the signs that Angela was just not interested. But it didn’t stop him from thinking about her. Her music drew him to her. She was like a flame that moths gravitated towards not knowing that their death might be imminent.
So when Angela came to his table at the break to say hi, Kamau’s heart almost stopped. He did not stop to think what could have brought about the change of heart.
Angela on that day was wearing a blue dress that clung to her like a second skin and left nothing to the imagination. It was a good thing Kamau had not watched the movie the devil in a blue dress otherwise he might have been more weary of Angela.
“Sweetie,” she said, how are you. I haven’t seen you for a while. I thought you liked my singing. I was sad when you didn’t come back!” as she sat at an empty seat that one of Kamau’s friends had just vacated to create room for her
Kamau could not believe that she had remembered him. He was mesmerised by her lips that had some shiny red lipstick that seemed to glitter. As if to heighten the effect she took a cigarette out of her stocking.
‘Sweetie, please light this cigarette for me,” Angela said. Kamau looked around to his friends to see who had a lighter. One of his friends who smoked gave Kamau his lighter. Kamau leaned in to light Angela’s cigarette which was now on her lips. He could smell her perfume, something light and fresh. It smelt heavenly.
Angela took a puff and then said, ‘honey I have been thinking about what you said about the guitar player. I think that it may be true that he is not so good. Would you happen to know how to play. I would like to see if there is a difference. Would you play with me one set. Please baby!” and with that she leaned forward and showed Kamau a glimpse of her cleavage.
Poor Kamau. He wasn’t thinking properly. Actually at that moment if she had told him to go to the moon he would probably have found a way there.
Kamau agreed. Angela went to the guitar player whose name was Michael and told him to go get a drink. She had gotten a friend of hers to do the next set. Michael went off, glad for a chance to get some beer and some rest. That gal is so pretty but she is such a bitch, he thought as he went to the bar to get himself a drink or two.
Kamau took the guitar and tuned it. It felt right in his hands. He did not have a guitar to play with at home. He had left his guitar when he had fled the village. But sometimes in the youth service he attended he was called to play and sing whenever there was a special guest coming in.
The music was flowing. Kamau had a gift for musical instruments. He could play and had played most instruments including the Isikuti while in high school. The only thing he had not learnt to play was the piano because his school could not afford one let alone hire a teacher to teach it.
At some point Angela asked Kamau whether he could sing and when he said yes, Angela asked him to join her in a song. The chemistry was amazing. The music sounded good to the ears. It was like collaboration between Barry White and Mariah Carey. At the end of the performance the audience clapped and cheered asking them to play another number together. They seemed to have real appreciation for the duet.
When Angela saw how people were appreciating the music more and seemed to be focused on her, she realised something. She had to get Kamau into the band and under her thumb. He was going to be her ticket to fame.
And that is how Kamau started playing in the band “the kikuyu calashes” as the lead singer and guitarist. Kamau had no way of knowing it at the time but this band would change his life and fortunes.
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