My maiden appearance at the cozy cave-like musical get away at Alpha palace hotel was at the end of a haphazard foray into the Saturday night life of Remera. The evening began with English premiership soccer mania at the Homely Tech hotel.
For a pocket friendly one thousand five hundred francs, we were ushered away from the chilly evening into an almost empty hall, with a queer classroom arrangement, a bar counter, and a dance floor that initially disappointed the night reveler in me.
At the extreme end, however, a raised concrete platform draped in flashing lights beckoned. This would later provide the stage for various musical delights. On stage were a group of rather nonchalant fellows who from a first impression would pass for jokers.
Trust people to always come up with surprises. A rather chum fellow, clad in a black pair of denims and a long sleeved white shirt started to weave some magic into the strings of his guitar, as if life did not mean anything without the melodious sounds that came from within.
He added to the string of music, a decent rendition of popular tracks originally by the group Micheal Learns to Rock. Trust Rwandans, the small slowly bulging crowd found better use of their bodies than on the wooden chairs.
The romantic mood of the songs was clearly permeating the revelers senses. Never mind that the dance strokes on display varied from lambada and salsa to the good old slow dance, in a few cases any movement that could pass for dancing.
Another brilliant musical talent jumped onto the stage and took the revelers to the years of their fathers. Those patrons, whose ages were already on the wrong side of forties, proved why these old Swahili tracks are called zilizopendwa – those that were loved, like shauri yako.
Meanwhile, while the Jonny Come Latelys, tried to match the pros. The older ones literally waxed lyrical over the words, as they displayed the deft old tricks of the old dogs, while the younger ones tried to adjust their more recent hip hop cum soukous strokes accordingly.
Being a self confessed fan on the Intore never mind that my bones might be too stiff for those butterfly movements, In Kigali, unlike many other places, young people are so enthusiastic about traditional music.
The tactical coordination of body movements, curling and uncurling hands, swaying bodies into a wave, the tap-tap of the feet onto the ground perhaps can only be a result of a deeply engraved formula.
For all my admiration, the safest place I would dare try out my skills is only and only the bathroom. The men and women sprang up from bar stools to do the desired justice to the music.
When the applause was reaching a crescendo, the dance floor growing crowded, perhaps the night was approaching its peak, the gulps of strong mutzig lager began to inebriate my senses.
I began to pay for my laziness, soaking up the lager and letting it settle on my head. Then is the time it dawned onto me to make a discreet exit from my bosom friends who were clearly in no mood, to accommodate an abrupt end to the Saturday night fever.