Soul Sessions Rebrands Ivan Irakoze’s Romantic Poetry

From a romantic poet, Ivan wades into interactive storytelling aided by guitar grooves and a participating audience. 

We all remember the TV Series Alphas and how it left us on the highest cliffhanger ever. We all shared The Big Bang Theory’s Dr. Sheldon Cooper’s (Jim Parson) trepidation at the untimely cancellation of the show that left the residents of New York either dead or unconscious. Lucky for Sheldon, he called the show’s producers and got closure. You and I are still hanging. Ivan Irakoze just as it were, has a way of leaving his audience dangling in air suspense choking them as they yearn for closure.

On March 16, Ivan did exactly that. He stood before the audience, made them laugh and engaged them in a romantic story. Leading them through young love as it blossoms into a relationship. Then doubt comes in in the name of the other guy and before we could get down on whether she was cheating…Just when the story is intense and the suspense harrowing, hanging on his every word, Ivan declared in his radio voice with a hint of American accent, “To be continued.”

Alex and her dance crew

If you are in Kenya and or have ever attended Ivan’s previous sessions, you very well know that the guy like a Kenyan politician never delivers on his promise, but one thing that stood out was he is cut out for interactive storytelling, and boy is he a master. Regaling in the wisdom that he knows where the story leads and backed up by guitar grooves from Wamugunda- a Kenyan musician- Ivan would reveal the other side of his craft, away from spoken word but at home with storytelling. The artistic genius truly has a way with words.

Besides the disappointing cliffhanger, Michael Joseph Center was a haven of cool soulful tunes. Ciano Maimba’s set was lit with song after song that spoke to the audience more than it needed them to stand and wiggle around. His incredible vocals would wriggle from a low pitched tone to a high and then finally come down before letting the fingers do their thing on the guitar. Plucking on the guitar and paying attention to each particular note, Maimba would pluck songs from his latest EP ‘Serve Chilled’.

Ciano Maimba Performing at the Soul Sessions in Nairobi

Maimba is a Kenyan one man guitarist who made a name in music after the 2016 Airtel Trace Music Star where he emerged second runner up. Speaking to, Ciano revealed that his music is greatly influenced by RnB, Soul and Jazz.

Another act of the night was Alex Nana Sinkam- a soul train dancer. Her topnotch act was the needed break between Ciano’s soulfull tunes and Ivan’s storytelling moments. Though a lone ranger, she occupied the stage and delivered wonderful moves that required standing ovation.

As Ivan grows in performance, he has decided that his brand Ink Overflow would in 2019 bring Soul Sessions- an interactive storytelling showcase at the Michael Joseph Center and Thursday night comedy at Coffee Casa both in Nairobi. The next Soul Sessions will be on May 11, 2019.

Photos courtesy of Brian Shikuyu

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