All is set for US-based Rwanda musician Benjamin Mugisha aka The Ben to usher in concertgoers into 2017 at the East African Party slated for January 1 at Amahoro National Stadium.
The Ben is arguably one of the most talented Rwandan musicians in the Diaspora. The 28-year-old singer-songwriter is known for songs Wowe, Ko Nahindutse, Only You, Urabaruta, Ntacyadutanya and Habibi, among many others.
Joseph Mushyoma, the organizer of the concert talked to The New Times about the preparations and what to expect from the Habibi hitmaker.
What is the main objective of the East African Party?
Our objective is to help concertgoers celebrate the previous year and enter into the New Year in happiness and fulfillment. Basically, East African Party is more of celebration and togetherness among people from within the region.
Why did you choose The Ben for this year’s edition?
The Ben is a Rwandan artiste, and is doing well in terms of music. I believe Rwandans have been nostalgic for his performance after six years in the U.S. Very many people requested us to bring The Ben or Meddy, but we chose to start with The Ben.
There have been many questions regarding why The Ben and Meddy cannot return. How certain are you that they could return?
We signed a contract with him and he gave us the video drop confirming his comeback. The Ben has confirmed he will come and has already signed a contract with us, which shows his commitment.
How were the negotiations with the singer?
Besides business and music, The Ben and Meddy are my friends. The negotiations were not complicated. We started the negotiations in October and he was glad for the opportunity.
He gave me a condition of staging a very big concert in terms of equipment, lights, and stage because he wants to have a fabulous homecoming performance. We guaranteed him that.
Other than The Ben, do you see yourself bringing other Rwandan artistes in the Diaspora?
Yes. Next year we have so many surprise events coming up. We’re planning to host a big concert in Kigali, but the names of the artistes that will headline those events, are still confidential.
How different will it be from all the other East African Parties that you have organised?
This will be a purely Rwandan concert. We want to show Rwandans that our artistes can do even better than foreign artistes. Also, the stage, setting and the lighting will be totally different from the previous shows. Concertgoers will also witness performances by other talented local musicians Charly& Nina, Yvan Buravan and Bruce Melodie. There will also be a meet and greet on New Year’s Eve at Hotel Villa Portofino in Nyarutarama.
You’ve been in this business for a long time, what challenges are common in events organising?
Many organisers give preparations for their concerts a very short time, which doesn’t allow them time for perfection. Some also don’t honor their engagement as they tend to change plans at the last minute which can affect the concert.