It will be an all-women’s affair on the Kigali Jazz Junction stage at the Kigali Serena Hotel this Friday, September 29.
For the first time since its inception, the Kigali Jazz Junction will be headlined by a West African artiste, Nigerian singer and songwriter Seyi Shay, real name Deborah Joshua Oluwaseyi.
The show will also be graced by the local Afro-pop duo of Charly and Nina. The live show will feature three live bands on the same stage, Seyi Shay’s Dynamite band, the Mavuno Band, and the Kigali Jazz Junction resident band, the Neptunez.
At a press conference at the Kigali Serena Hotel, on Wednesday morning, Seyi Shay admitted that she is “not a jazz artiste but that she loves jazz music and prepared a special jazz rendition”.
The “Weekend Vibes” star, who headlined the Kampala edition of Blankets and Wine last month, promised her Rwandan fans an even bigger show on Friday.
“Uganda was fantastic, there were over 3,000 people. But I know that this particular concert will be better,” she said.
Seyi Shay currently lives in Lagos, Nigeria but has previously lived in the UK, where she honed her musical skills.
“Having parents that are Nigerian I thought it was only right for me to use my talent in my homeland,” she explained.
While in the UK, she was at one point part of the girl group From Above.
“My former manager was Mathew Knowles, Beyonce’s father, and at the time he managed me and my girl band for four years, we had the privilege of supporting Beyonce on her “I Am” tour in 2010, and then we went on to star in our own reality TV show called Breaking From Above, which aired on MTV,” she said.
Since returning to her native Nigeria, she has shared a stage with stars like Chris Brown, Rick Ross, Mary J Blige and Ne-Yo, with whom she staged a joint performance at the MTV MAMAs in 2015.
“I basically built my repertoire that way, doing lots of live shows and live concerts,” said Shay.
“One thing I learnt being managed by Mathew Knowles, who is also my mentor and teacher, was that singing and performing live was always best. So I come from that school, and also, I was part of a gospel choir in my early days. So I came to Nigeria with that live background because not all Nigerian artistes were singing live at that time.
“When I came in and was one of the very few artistes doing it, I found that it was my niche and my market so I basically capitalised on it and here I am today.”
The Kigali Jazz Junction takes place every last Friday of the month, with a few exceptions. Last month it did not happen and Remmy Lubega, the organiser explained why.
“Jazz junction is an event that happens every last Friday of the month. However, there are some months when we do not activate because of the activities of our partners according to the season. April is commemoration month. When it comes to the summer, Bralirwa has a lot of events, including Primus Guma Guma and the Beer Fest.
“Every year we have eight seasons as opposed to 12, meaning that we take a break of four months out of the year. This year we’re doing eight editions, and our last season will be in March 2018.”