MILEGE: Say It Right.

The first time I attended a Milégé Jazz Band concert, I got annoyed. So infuriated that I had to change my seat. I hope you have not repeated the same mistake like my neighbor that day.

That evening, in a romantically lit ballroom, for the first time, I fell in love with the sound of Jazz rich with African heritage, delivered by an overjoyed band and received by an equally expectant crowd save for my neighbor who over and over again faulted on the pronunciation of the band’s peculiar, well thought out name.

The tempo grew from soothing to groovy. As the lights crept from dim purple then to golden and dark blue, the band’s fusion of classical jazz music and traditional African folklore simply blew me away.

Trying to take in the moment without my neighbor’s intermittent ringtones of reggaeton (awkward for a jazz evening), I finally shared with her that the word is not ‘MY-LEDGE’ but ‘ME-LAY-GAY’. Then I opted for another seat.

That’s what happens when we fall in love with something. We don’t want others to fault when relating with the one we love even on pronunciation. After all, it was a day of firsts even for me.  


Some of the languages through which the lines of the songs were delivered were catchy even though I could not curve out the meaning. Striking was the originality of all the compositions. Some sounded like the lullabies from my childhood but with a touch of youthfulness. Others called out Africa to be hopeful and others just captured the feeling any Jazz experience gives, soul healing.

The diverse crowd remained entertained as the concert professionally punned from one act to another. The drums, the striking sounds of the solo and bass, tingling piano notes and commendable backup vocals. It was all worth the shillings on the ticket.

Soon, the concert was done and one thing I really appreciated that day was the power of a name. Milégé is a Luo word for a rattle-like bell worn around the ankle by Luo males during initiation dances. As Bill Cosby once said, ‘always end the name of your child with a vowel, so that when you yell the name, it will carry on.’ This one surely carries on. Say It Right. Yell it Out. Milégé. #WithLoveFromMilege

First published: Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 12:04pm.

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