As Kigali nightlife business gets more competitive by the day, it is innovate or die for most operators. For nightclub owners, the challenge posed by the proliferation of neighborhood bars and lounges has seen many lose out on a chunk of their clientele, or close shop all together.
For Cadillac Night Club, Kigali’s premier discotheque, the innovation came by way of a diversification in music policy over the weekend.
On Saturday night, the UTC-based club hosted the first in what is set to become a regular live music theme night, to a warm reception from revelers.
Cyusa performs during the Gakondo Cultural Night at Cadillac Night Club. Photos by Moses Opobo.
The club hosted its first Gakondo cultural night, featuring Rwandan traditional musician Ibrahim Cyusa, who performed alongside his Inkera traditional dance troupe.
The people that turned up for the do were not your regular youthful bandwagon of city party animals, but well-heeled older citizens of the country, with a knack for Rwandan traditional and cultural sounds.
Cyusa and his ensemble took to the stage at approximately 9:00 pm, all garbed in traditional Rwandan wear. For the next three hours, they took revelers through the depths of Rwandan traditional music, belting out their own songs as well as those of Rwandan traditional music greats like Cecile Kayirebwa.
Inkera traditional dance troupe treated revellers to a more instrumental and traditional Rwandan music.
To test the waters, management fixed the entry fee at Rwf3,000, almost half the entry fee to the club on regular nights. It was a worthwhile gamble as the club took only a short while to fill up.
After quietly enjoying the music of Cyusa for the first part of the show, revellers slowly started making use of their phone cameras to capture the night’s performance.
But soon, taking pictures wasn’t enough, as one by one, revelers took to the dance floor to showcase their cultural dance steps.
It was a different kind of night club performance where the singers constantly engaged with their audience, giving it the feel of a gitaramo (cultural gathering), as opposed to a regular concert.
Many people in the crowd confessed to their love for Rwandan traditional music, although many decried the lack of decent public spaces from where they can dance to the music.
The view was shared by Eugene Habimana, aka Cobra, the Cadillac Night Club owner, who promised to make Gakondo nights a regular feature at the club. This will be supplemented by live theme nights to cater for other unique genres of music like jazz and salsa.
Cobra said that the club would host zouk maestro and songwriter Slai, real name Patrice Sylvestre, in two weeks time. The singer first performed in Rwanda in February this year, at the Kigali Jazz Junction.
Known for such albums as Fresh, Frolilege, Caraibs, and Escale, Slai is a French singer of Guadeloupe origin. His performance at the Kigali Jazz Junction came after persistent requests to organisers from fans of the Kigali Jazz Junction.