06-01-2017 by Freddie del Curatolo
From evenings with singers and artists of all kinds, in the company of his partner and friend Francesco Sarcina of the Vibrations, to cocktails in serenity barefoot on the Paparemo beach in Watamu.
Mirko Cannistraci's story is the classic "I'm leaving everything and going to Africa", but it is also a story of a conscious passion that has gradually risen to a place with which he has felt a unique connection.
Born in Milan, the son of Sicilian emigrants with a culture of hard work to make a name for himself, for seven years Mirko ran ZOG, a historic venue on the Navigli, a meeting place for artists, emerging talents, creatives and patrons who don't limit themselves to a drink but appreciate art and culture.
Years full of satisfaction, of meetings with wonderful people and important friendships," says Mirko, "but also full of stress in an increasingly neurotic Milan, with people heading in a direction that is not part of my philosophy of life and that of my partner Colomba.
So the creative bartender decided to take the classic "sabbatical year", returning to Kenya, where he had often holidayed with Colomba.
"I had already realised that this would be one of my destinations, it's a biological fact - Mirko admits - a sensitive person cannot help but feel the primordial instinct to feel at home. Kenya is the cradle of humanity, here you feel the little Neanderthal man laying his hand on your shoulder and caressing you. Here you feel the Neanderthal man laying his hand on your shoulder and caressing you. You get back in touch with the earth, back in tune with the elements that gave rise to your life.
With these premises, there was no doubt that the sabbatical year would become... a year and a half. A period spent finding perfect harmony with the place and the people, with the magic and also the contradictions of the Kenyan coast.
"I love the pride of the poor people, the people who transmit their energy and tell you a story just by looking into your eyes. Kenya is a wonderful country with incredible scenery.
You realise how your life is regulated by Nature the moment you find yourself in the middle of the Savannah, it's a feeling of freedom and a deep connection with your soul".
After an imaginable period of relaxation and integration with the people, times and atmospheres of the Kenyan coast, Mirko and Colomba cultivated their passions and hobbies, giving vent to their latent creativity, only partly expressed during their years in Milan. With a dream in mind.
From the very first time we set foot on Paparemo Beach," reveals Mirko, "we thought that if we ever wanted to run a club in Kenya, this would be the ideal place. Creating a place to meet and have fun in a magical place just a stone's throw from one of the most beautiful beaches in Africa, organising evening events, with the cherry on top of the cocktails, is really the best. It is priceless to work with a smile on your face, something that is very hard to do in Italy, in contact with nature and always feeling a little bit on holiday. Our lucky meeting with Roberto Lenzi gave us the chance to make a dream come true and to embark on a new path. Watamu has great potential and we believe in it.
Italy seems to be a chapter already filed away for the entertainer of the evenings on the Navigli.
"Today I don't know what the "tran tran" is anymore - Mirko happily closes - and if it weren't for my parents, I wouldn't even go back to Italy, I don't miss anything here".
With the added enthusiasm of the start of a great adventure... barefoot on the shores of the Indian Ocean.
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