Bard News & Events

Press Release

Celebrated Kenyan Singer-Songwriter Eric Wainaina to Perform His Popular Musical Mo Faya! in Bard’s Fisher Center on Friday, October 23

Darren O'Sullivan

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—Bard College is proud to present a performance of Mo Faya! the popular musical by celebrated Kenyan singer-songwriter Eric Wainaina, on Friday, October 23. The musical is making its first tour of North America. Bard’s Chinua Achebe Center for African Writers and Artists is featuring Mo Faya! as part of Africa Week, four days of readings, discussions and events at the College from October 21-24. Mo Faya! takes place at 8 p.m. in the Sosnoff Theater of the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets are $5 for students from any school, $15 parterre and first balcony, $25 orchestra. For tickets, phone the Fisher Center Box Office at 845-758-7900 or visit For more information about the Achebe Center and Africa Week events, please call Tom Burke at 845-758-7837, e-mail or visit

Mo Faya! features musicians and performers from Nairobi and brings the audience to that city’s Kwa Maji slums, where local radio disc jockey “DJ” Lwanda’s leadership and vision over the airwaves have become the lifeblood of the community—until he is seduced away as part of a ploy to mow over the Kwa Maji slums and rebuild on the land. The energy, sounds, and message of Mo Faya! have taken Kenya by storm.

Eric Wainaina is a leading singer, songwriter, and performer from Nairobi. His music, a blend of modern and traditional Kenyan sounds, addresses issues of social justice. His accolades are numerous and include several Pan African awards. Recently the Guardian newspaper in the United Kingdom called him a living national icon. In 2002 the African Almanac listed him as one of the 100 most influential Africans, after he took on rampant corruption prevalent in the government of the day. He is an ambassador for several local and international organizations, including the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. He was recently awarded an Escopetarra, a guitar made out of a decommissioned AK-47 assault rifle. Other recipients of that award include Koffi Annan, Bob Geldof, and the Colombian superstar Juanes.

Wainaina’s interest in musical theater began in primary school, where he participated in several Gilbert & Sullivan and Rodgers & Hammerstein musicals. He took an interest in writing for musical theater while at the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston. In the summer of 2008 he was an artist in residence at the Sundance Institute Theatre Lab. He graduated from Berklee in 2002. He lives in Nairobi with his wife, Sheba, and child, Seben.

The Chinua Achebe Center for African Writers and Artists was established in 2005 to expand the legacy of Chinua Achebe, Charles P. Stevenson Jr. Professor Emeritus of Languages and Literature and chairman of the Achebe Center, to serve the future of global Africana arts. Among its goals are to become a center of excellence for the teaching of African literature; to support a new generation of African writers; and to encourage literary/cultural entrepreneurship. Undergraduate students at Bard may participate in numerous Center projects, including facilitating events featuring visiting writers, artists, and scholars; helping with all aspects of book and chapbook editing and publication; and working on writer/artist residency projects and a new creative writing program.

back to top

This event was last updated on 10-06-2009