MUSIC FOR THE SOUL, TASTY FISH, ATASHANTI
I go for the ish and the greens. Now I go for the band as well.
Let’s see the things that haven’t changed: It’s still on Muthangari Gardens. Their fish is still heavenly and so is their plantain and pepe soup.
It’s still popular with West Africans because, well, it’s still a West African haunt. It’s still chill and grown up because the younger chaps hate to sit still and Ashanti is where you sit still. So what has changed? First, there is a new car wash at the corner of the compound. Then there is a shop that sells modern African wear. If you don’t like what’s on the rack, a West African guy will quickly run a tapemeasure against your body and you will be sorted. Then they expanded it. Sort of. There are two large sitting areas that were not there the last time I visited. So, more room.
Finally, there is a new band every Saturday afternoon called Imani with two people; Paula on the microphone and a gentleman on the instruments. They are very good. She sings like a lonely bird out on a flat top acacia and he plays like a man playing for his own wandering soul. Together they are dynamite. They play old renditions, like ‘Careless Whispers’, Billie Jean or something from Daudi Kabaka. The band has transformed Mama Ashanti on Saturday afternoons, making it a place you want to while a lazy afternoon with friends over food and later drinks. The best seats are usually the main sitting area, under the umbrellas. Those go first, so calling to reserve ahead always seems like a great idea. There is more sitting inside the building and also at the verandah. (Not bad either.)
I used to go for the fish and the greens. Now I go for the band as well. Plus it’s a mature crowd, no hecklers. There will be a few loud people, but only in their dressing. You know how West Africans are.