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Takako Segawa reflects on Kenya

We look back at our Baraza Journey to Kenya with the words of Takako Segawa, one of the three artists who accompanied us on this adventure:

"For some time, my travel bucket list has included Brazil and Africa. Both came true at once with Jamii’s Baraza Journey in November 2023!


I traveled to Kenya to be part of the Jamii team, and it was great to perform with Aline Morales of the Jamii family whose roots are in her Brazilian music. So it almost felt as if I was in both Kenya and Brazil at the same time during this trip.

Overall, the entire experience was magical. It was as if the Jamii team and the local Kenyan artists (who the local organization Sekoya introduced us to) came together magnetically to enter a sacred space and a state of flow. The three strong Jamii women artists around me—Isorine, Aline, and Yasmin—also made me feel part of a special community, safe and powerful.

We were lucky to see two places in Kenya.

In Nairobi, we met Kenyan artists to share experiences and explore future collaborations, and we also performed. The night of Baraza event, local dancer Maolid and I improvised with fantastic vocalist Loboi, accompanied by Aline’s drum. I could feel audiences were drawn into us as if we had been rehearsing together for ages.

I was also honoured to have Aline’s accompaniment for an excerpt of my dance piece “Echoes”, followed by the audience’s participation in an Origami crane workshop. It was a nice way to exchange my culture in Kenya.

In Naivasha, we collaborated with 3 local artists, who led workshops for 10- to 15-year-olds, for a total of 28 students over 4 days at the Rubiri school. We could see the kids’ curiosity as they encountered different cultural dance and music, taking everything in. All of them were so focused, joyful and talented. This experience is unforgettable.

Naivasha is a rural village. We were all able to walk around, and find wild animals very close to us. In this remarkable landscape we watched Zebra, Giraffe, Ostrich, Hippopotamus, Buffalo, Wildbeest, Waterbuck, and Baboon right next to us. It’s a life changing experience to see wild animals living so close to humans.

For me, it was also great being a mom on tour with other moms, artists, and organizations, including artistic director Isorine Marc who is always inspirational. Photographer Yasmin Omer was also such a magnetic human being that kids were always around her as she calmly taught them how to use a camera. I will never forget the curious eyes of the children as they clustered around her. Such an amazing way to connect the world with her art! And Aline Morales with her Brazilian rhythm always made everyone feel so warm, upbeat and happy.

All in all, the Jamii Baraza experience runs deep in the Kenyan earth for me. It feels like the foundations of my being have shifted in an unseen way."

A project supported by Canada Council for the Arts

📸Photos by Yasmine Omar


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