Katy Fentress

Observing, Understanding, Exploring, Eating, Drinking

Kenyan Heartthrobs On a Kitchen Rampage

For the 2014 Christmas Issue, Yummy magazine decided the best way to celebrate the upcoming festivities was by inviting Kenya’s favourite Heartthrobs Sauti Sol to help in the preparation of a very special meal.

Obviously the intention here was to photograph them in all sorts of compromising positions so we could illustrate the pages of the magazine with this very yummy yet messy affair!

The team was composed of artistic directors the lovely Liz Maelane and me, the extremely talented photographer Louis Nderi and the inimitably skilled stylist Annabel Onyango.

Here is the text I wrote to accompany the article:

It’s been quite a year for Sauti Sol with awards and nominations literally raining from the sky. Fans of these very Kenyan heartthrobs have probably had a hard time keeping up with whether they were voting for Sauti Sol to win the AFRIMA awards nomination for Best African Act; the MTV Europe Music Awards for, yes you guessed it, Best African Act; or the SOMA awards for best use of social media in entertainment.

It was written in the flour...

It was written in the flour…

At this point, if you haven’t voted for Kenya’s favourite Boy band at least three times, you could be considered downright unpatriotic. Even the President insisted on getting them to sing for his birthday celebrations and we can only guess that all of his staff were under strict orders to continue voting for them until they won. With all the awards, the concerts and their trip to Paris from which they have only just returned, it was always going to be a struggle to pin the band down for a photoshoot. Say what you want about the Yummy team though, we aren’t the kind of people who will let six concerts in one weekend get in the way of a great shoot. After all, the people don’t want to only hear more of Sauti Sol, they want to see more of Sauti Sol too! And what better way than to entice the band to the photoshoot than with the promise of a delicious Christmas meal?

Bien Aime may not be the world's best cook be he sure knows how to strike a pose...

Bien Aime may not be the world’s best cook be he sure knows how to strike a pose…

“2014 has been a year full of ups and downs,” announces Marek, the band’s manager, as he gets up for a toast. “It’s been a year of crazy hours and late nights, of early mornings & missed flights. But overall it’s been a good year. May 2015 be even ten times better!”

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So we contacted their publicist, found a great photographer, located a dream kitchen to use and were set to go. Except somewhere down the line there must have been some miscommunication because, on the night of the shoot, three out of four of the band members, that would be Bien Aime (the tall one), Chimano (the baritone) and to a lesser extent Polycarp (the guitarist), turned up expecting to cook us dinner! Who were we to point out their error? If Sauti Sol wanted to cook for the Yummy team we weren’t going to try to stand in their way. That was until they started turning the kitchen upside down. Cooking up a storm doesn’t come near to describing the vigour and enthusiasm with which they threw themselves into the task ahead of them.

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Unfortunately though, when it comes to Christmas dinner, enthusiasm just isn’t enough. When an hour into the dinner Delvin (the one with the sixpack) turned up laden with Champagne, we made an executive decision to ease our own chef into the proceedings and get the boys back to doing one of the things they do best: posing for the camera. And so it was. We got to do a great cover shoot and material for this feature; Sauti Sol got to distract themselves from all the haute cuisine restaurants they have been forced to visit of late and let loose in the kitchen and we all got to eat a really tasty chicken, cooked by someone who can tell a leg from a breast (we’re talking about chickens here, ok?)

“We’re bachelors,” confides Polycarp. “We have to know how to cook to impress.”

The actual chef's meal was absolutely lip smacking in the end....

In the end, the actual chef’s meal was absolutely lip smacking….

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Behind the Scenes – Liz Maelane helping Louis Nderi get the lighting just right…

This article was originally featured on December issue of Yummy Magazine and on the Yummy Magazine blog

Categories: My Photo Projects, Visuals

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