Last year [2015] goes down in local music annals as having been momentous - in terms of live gigs at festivals, new CD releases and performances by top notch international artistes.

Within a span of nine months, Nairobi hosted an impressive list of successive foreign acts, performers and bands drawn from Africa and global circuit. These gigs went on to gobble a dominant, lion's share of the showbiz limelight.

The year started off on a high note with Salut Salon - a chamber music quartet led by violinists Iris Siegfried and Angelika Bachmann, pitching tent locally in January.

Based in Hamburg, German the quartet staged several shows in collaboration with a Ghetto Classics project collective of musicians.

And as action peaked later in the year, outdoor venues were teeming with cross sections of enthusiasts, excited revellers and live concerts connoisseurs - jamming along to as world renowned music makers.

Against all odds, showbiz organizers pulled off fairly successful events amidst uncertainty looming over insecurity concerns and possible terrorist acts.

To ensure guaranteed crowds safety, preventive strategies were adopted by gathering basic details on potential audience - thanks to e-ticketing regulations.

These measures complemented heavy presence of visible and covert armed guards coupled with thorough body searches and car screens at venue entrances.

One event worth mention is April 14 Memorial Concert held at Uhuru Park's Freedom Corner in honour of 147 Garissa University students who died in a terror attack.

Top on list of the showbiz highlights were live concerts headlined by visiting American rhythm & blues crooner Freddie Jackson and popular slow jams group Dru Hill - fronted by the 90s hip-hop hype-man Sisqo.

Jazz lovers savoured successive treats packaged as triple-hefty smooth-jazz servings. The annual Safaricom International Jazz Festival series featured virtuoso guitarists Jonathan Butler, Salif Keita, Norman Brown; pianist Sheléa Fraizer, saxophonists Gerald Albright and Kirk Whalum live on stage.

For reggae aficionados, several acts including royal family band Morgan Heritage and Jamaican strictly roots hot-stepper Chezidek - graced crowd-puller concerts in Nairobi.

Yet another popular artiste jetting into the capital was r&b sensation Shaffer Chimere Smith aka Ne-Yo who made an appearance for the Coke Africa Studio season's live recordings.

Youthful band Sauti Sol almost struck gold in June, edging closer to global fame. The group bagged performances gigs across key American cities - in the run up to gracing the BET Awards gala ceremony on the back of a coveted nomination.


Coke Studio Africa artistes with Ne-Yo


Eric Wainaina performs at #Garissa147 Memorial Concert