The Return of Coffee and Kala

Julia Conant, Assistant Lifestyle Editor

Students looking for a welcoming and comforting outlet from the stress of midterms last week could have found one in “Coffee and Kala,” an evening open mic event.

The first “Coffee and Kala” event of the semester was held last Thursday, Oct. 15, from 6 to 8 p.m..

Live jazz music played at the top of the hour to drum up anticipation and attention from passersby. Central Connecticut staff and students alike gathered underneath the Vance Lawn tent to support the talents of the university’s community.

Once the audience had settled in, Nehway Sahn, founder of “Coffee and Kala,” offered some opening words.

“This is an event we used to hold in The Africana Center before coronavirus hit,” Sahn began. “The lights were low, we had some jazz and it was just a place and a space for people to share what they had. There were artists on campus that I didn’t even know were artists until they came to “Coffee and Kala,” which was amazing.”

Back in May and July, “Coffee and Kala” held virtual open mic events where students showcased their talents over Zoom.

“Zoom meetings were cool, but the magic of “Coffee and Kala” comes from the intimacy, the close connections, the live music and art, the coffee, the kala,” Sahn wrote on the “Coffee and Kala” Instagram page, “and without all that I had no idea how to handle it or what to do.”

Thankfully, Sahn did not have to work around this inconvenience for long. With CCSU’s campus now open again, clubs and organizations have been able to hold events so long as social distancing guidelines are followed. With that being said, “Coffee and Kala” was finally able to return to its original, intimate in-person format.

By the time the performances began, almost every table under the tent was filled. Attendees were encouraged to grab light refreshments such as water, tea, snacks and, of course, coffee.

Performances ranged from instrumental talents to spoken word to singing original songs. Topics of racial equality, identity and love were touched upon, as well as many others.

Students were encouraged to pre-register, however a sign-up sheet was provided for those who were inspired by the pre-registered acts and felt brave enough to perform on a whim.

The energy under the tent only grew as the evening went on. The live band who played at the beginning of the night improvised beats for performers to freestyle to. The impromptu collaborations could have been mistaken for planned acts the way they flowed together.

Sahn expressed her gratitude for the turnout throughout the night. While providing some closing words at the end of the night, Sahn was met with a round of applause. And though no specific date is set for the next “Coffee and Kala,” Sahn assured the audience that “we’ll do this again.”

For those who missed the live open mic, or for those who want to experience it again, the event was recorded and uploaded to @coffeeandkala on Instagram. And be sure to give them a follow while you are there so you do not miss the next “Coffee and Kala.”