It was that time of the month where international stars are paired with a local star for the Kigali Jazz Junction, but it has never been like the just-concluded November when the monthly show gave the stage to U.S-based singer, rapper and songwriter Jidenna.
Jidenna Theodore Mobisson, US-Nigerian star had clearly been long awaited by his fans in Kigali, and this was proven by a full house on Friday as Akagera Hall, at Kigali Conference and Exhibition Village -Camp Kigali was filled up to capacity as the man known as the “Classic Man” owned the stage.
His arrival on stage was not announced as it is normally done with other artistes. Everyone knew he was next after Bruce Melodie’s performance.
Jidenna arrived on stage in a hooded gown, with dim red lights creating an atmosphere of tension. In the background, the keyboard was playing while his band blended in other instruments, creating anticipation among the waiting fans. Some cheered loudly while others kept asking ‘is he the one?’
After a very short time on the keyboard, Jidenna revealed his face, rapping to his 2017 tune ‘Long Live Chief’. The crowd went uncontrollably wild, screaming, jumping and some, singing along.
Though some of his songs were not known to the audience, they still danced and enjoyed every minute of the performance. When he started singing ‘Bambi’, it sounded like a very large choir as people sang along and followed the singer through every verse and chorus.
Before he left the stage, Jidenna told the crowd how proud he is of Rwanda -a country he said has come a long way. Earlier in the press conference, Jidenna had expressed his desire to meet President Paul Kagame before he departs the country and shares a few ideas with him.
The Stanford University graduate said that he will pursue projects in the country in a bid to contribute to the country’s progress.
It was now time to perform his most popular hit ‘Classic Man’, which the people danced to and sang along with such excitement and energy, from the start to the end of the song.
There was a moment of controversy as the singer lit a cigarette on stage –something not often seen among the big artistes, smoking and sipping on his drink as he engaged the audience throughout the performance. He performed songs including ‘Particula’ and ‘A little bit more’ among others.
Bruce Melodie, who was paired with Jidenna, as usual easily proved why he is among the very best in the country. Starting from his old songs that people remember very well and could easily sing along, Bruce Melodie ensures that the audience enjoyed every moment.
From ‘Tubivemo’ to ‘Uzandabure’, ‘Ntundize’ to the most recent like ‘Kungola’, ‘Tuza’ and more, Bruce Melodie ensured that music lovers left with memories. By the time he sang ‘Katerina’, the crowd was already wile. As soon as the popular intro of the song was played, noise filled the tent.
Prior to the performance, Koojo and Kinga Blues, Nep DJs, and other DJs ensured that the audience is engaged. Performances by the resident band Neptunez Band made that the stage was well set and that the crowd was hooked from start to finish.
They performed songs like ‘Bella Ciao’, ‘Parte after Parte’, ‘Man’s not Hot’, ‘Inama’, ‘Yope’, ‘Old Town Road’, ‘Ndombolo’ and Kinyatrap songs, some played with the saxophone and other instruments.
The show ended at around 1:10am, with many going home contented with the quality of performances and organization.