Some brides listen to music from a violin for the first time and know that they want it to serenade their wedding. Some brides fall in love with a John Legend song or an Elani song or Taarab music and decide they want a whole orchestra to reproduce it at their wedding. Still, some listen to Canon in D major and decide they want a string quartet ensemble playing it at their wedding.
According to wedding planners in Nairobi, an interest in music played live from violins, violas and cellos has always existed, but the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle has further drawn brides to the sensation.
Grace Anyetei, the head of the bridal unit of Zuri Bridals, says in the past, Kenyans barely listened to orchestra music, but right it is starting to gain an appreciation especially in Nairobi.
“When brides request for orchestras, they are aiming for a whimsical feel. It is a fairy tale that they really want to bring out,” she says.
“A bride is emotionally attached to her wedding from the time she was a very little girl. Little girls have always imagined their wedding and how their prince charming is going to come, how they are going to walk down the aisle to the type of music,” says Ms Anyetei.
Music speaks when words cannot and according to the wedding planner, orchestral music is attractive especially to a type of bride she calls the ‘Caroline.’
“We have three kinds of brides; there’s Caro, Carol and Caroline. The Carolines have an acquired taste and are well-travelled. They have gained an appreciation for string music, horned music,” she says.
Fred Pessa, a violinist who is also a teacher at St. Andrews Turi and Banda School says interest in orchestra music has shot up in recent years.
“I do a lot of presentations at the Samantha’s Bridal expos. Initially, I used to do it as a soloist so it was me and a pianist playing and now our last presentation was as a full orchestra with 35 instrumentalists,” he says.
“After a bridal presentation, I give out more than 1,000 cards in a weekend because many people are interested,” says Mr Pessa.
“The only catch is that it is not easy to afford a classical musician so out of 1,000 cards only about 15 people hire us to play at their wedding,” he adds.
As the industry grows and spending increases to Sh2.5 million on average for a wedding in Kenya, multilingual comedians, orchestra groups and ballet dancers are benefiting.
Mr Pessa says besides income from teaching, weddings earn musicians the most money followed by corporate events.
Hiring an orchestra ranges from Sh50,000 to Sh250,000.
Even as a few couples spice up their wedding ceremonies, some are hesitant because their guests may not appreciate that kind of music.
“Many Kenyans have not acquired that taste for orchestral music so when it comes to weddings, most of the time you will have a DJ and some traditional music to dance to,” says Ms Anyetei.
However, Mr Pessa says orchestras can arrange songs that play to Kenyan tastes. The violinist says the instrumentals can morph into anything from Genge or Kwaito or Nigerian music.
“I have a bride whose wedding is in March and she requested to have the orchestra play as she walks down the aisle. The couple has picked a song and the orchestra composer will reproduce the music in a classical way,” says Ms Anyetei.
To give the couple a classy décor that matches with the orchestra music, the wedding planner will play around with many flowers such as peonies, roses and ivy as well as crystals and glass.
For Eva Mahogo, both she and her husband contributed to the play-list.
‘‘I had an orchestra comprising a violinist, saxophonist, pianist and cellist. They played ‘A Thousand Years’ by Christina Perri and ‘Canon in D’. My husband picked the first song and I picked the second,’’ says Ms Mahogo, whose sister-in-law helped in picking the ensemble because she sings in an orchestra.
“I always wanted a saxophonist but when the orchestra came, the violinist was a pleasant surprise. The sounds of the violin were simply to die for,” she says.
According to Ms Mahogo, orchestral music lends itself well to great aesthetics for the wedding.
Orchestral music comes in different configurations at weddings. It could be a soloist who is a violinist accompanied by a pianist. You could have a singer. You could have a string quartet ensemble. You could also have over 30 musicians playing.
“In a garden ceremony, the orchestra blends in with the outdoors because most of the instruments are made of wood and brass and that rustic look fusions in well with nature,” says Ms Anyetei.
Mr Pessa agrees there is an aesthetic element to hiring a musical ensemble.
“Sometimes when we are called to play at weddings it is not because people want to listen to classical music; it is because they want to see us there. It looks good when you have a shiny instrument and a singer,” he says.
World Bank pushes G-20 to extend debt relief to 2021
World Bank Group President David Malpass has urged the Group of 20 rich countries to extend the time frame of the Debt Service Suspension Initiative(DSSI) through the end of 2021, calling it one of the key factors in strengthening global recovery.
“I urge you to extend the time frame of the DSSI through the end of 2021 and commit to giving the initiative as broad a scope as possible,” said Malpass.
He made these remarks at last week’s virtual G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting.
The World Bank Chief said the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered the deepest global recession in decades and what may turn out to be one of the most unequal in terms of impact.
People in developing countries are particularly hard hit by capital outflows, declines in remittances, the collapse of informal labor markets, and social safety nets that are much less robust than in the advanced economies.
For the poorest countries, poverty is rising rapidly, median incomes are falling and growth is deeply negative.
Debt burdens, already unsustainable for many countries, are rising to crisis levels.
“The situation in developing countries is increasingly desperate. Time is short. We need to take action quickly on debt suspension, debt reduction, debt resolution mechanisms and debt transparency,” said Malpass.
Kenya’s Central Bank Drafts New Laws to Regulate Non-Bank Digital Loans
The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) will regulate interest rates charged on mobile loans by digital lending platforms if amendments on the Central bank of Kenya Act pass to law. The amendments will require digital lenders to seek approval from CBK before launching new products or changing interest rates on loans among other charges, just like commercial banks.
“The principal objective of this bill is to amend the Central bank of Kenya Act to regulate the conduct of providers of digital financial products and services,” reads a notice on the bill. “CBK will have an obligation of ensuring that there is fair and non-discriminatory marketplace access to credit.”
According to Business Daily, the legislation will also enable the Central Bank to monitor non-performing loans, capping the limit at not twice the amount of the defaulted loan while protecting consumers from predatory lending by digital loan platforms.
Tighter Reins on Platforms for Mobile Loans
The legislation will boost efforts to protect customers, building upon a previous gazette notice that blocked lenders from blacklisting non-performing loans below Ksh 1000. The CBK also withdrew submissions of unregulated mobile loan platforms into Credit Reference Bureau. The withdrawal came after complaints of misuse over data in the Credit Information Sharing (CIS) System available for lenders.
Last year, Kenya had over 49 platforms providing mobile loans, taking advantage of regulation gaps to charge obscene rates as high as 150% a year. While most platforms allow borrowers to prepay within a month, creditors still pay the full amount plus interest.
Amendments in the CBK Act will help shield consumers from high-interest rates as well as offer transparency on terms of digital loans.
Scope Markets Kenya customers to have instant access to global financial markets
NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 20 – Clients trading through the Scope Markets Kenya trading platform will get instant access to global financial markets and wider investment options.
This follows the launch of a new Scope Markets app, available on both the Google PlayStore and IOS Apple Store.
The Scope Markets app offers clients over 500 investment opportunities across global financial markets.
The Scope Markets app has a brand new user interface that is very user friendly, following feedback from customers.
The application offers real-time quotes; newsfeeds; research facilities, and a chat feature which enables a customer to make direct contact with the Customer Service Team during trading days (Monday to Friday).
The platform also offers an enhanced client interface including catering for those who trade at night.
The client will get instant access to several asset classes in the global financial markets including; Single Stocks CFDs (US, UK, EU) such as Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google, BP, Carrefour; Indices (Nasdaq, FTSE UK), Metals (Gold, Silver); Currencies (60+ Pairs), Commodities (Oil, Natural Gas).
The launch is part of Scope Markets Kenya strategy of enriching the customer experience while offering clients access to global trading opportunities.
Scope Markets Kenya CEO, Kevin Ng’ang’a observed, “the Sope Markets app is very easy to use especially when executing trades. Customers are at the heart of everything we do. We designed the Scope Markets app with the customer experience in mind as we seek to respond to feedback from our customers.”
He added that enhancing the client experience builds upon the robust trading platform, Meta Trader 5, unveiled in 2019, enabling Scope Markets Kenya to broaden the asset classes available on the trading platform.