This month, the Kigali Jazz Junction celebrates its fourth anniversary. In four years, the monthly jazz forum has amassed a huge following of jazz music lovers, and established itself as the premiere calendar music event in Kigali.
To celebrate this milestone, the organisers, RG Consult, looked to South Africa, Kenya, and Rwanda to come up with a befitting line up of headline performers.
South African jazz/soul songbird Bulelwa Mkutukana, better known as Zahara, is the most anticipated performer for the show, slated for Friday May 31, at Camp Kigali. The other foreign headline act is Kenyan rapper Nyashinski. Fast-rising local new musical kid on the bloc, Amalon, real name Amani Bizimana, is also among the performers.
Zahara first performed in Rwanda in May last year when she graced that month’s edition of the Kigali Jazz Junction.
South African jazz/soul songbird, Zahara. / Net photo
Known for hits such as Ndize, Umthwalo, Loliwe and Umfazi, Zahara delivered one of the most memorable performances at the Jazz Junction in its four year run.
For his part, Nyashinski from Kenya will be gracing a musical stage in Rwanda for the first time.
Known for his recent hit songs like Byakubaho and Yambi, Amalon is a new fixture on the local R&B bloc, and a surprise appearance on the list of headline acts.
In February, he was the only curtain raising act for Nigerian Afro fusion star Burna Boy at the Burna Boy Experience concert at the Intare Arena in Rusororo. It was his first major musical stage appearance.
Remmy Lubega, the CEO of RG Consult explained the choice of artistes for this month’s Kigali Jazz Junction.
Speaking about Amalon he said, “You need to understand the objective of the Kigali Jazz Junction. One is to propel and present talent in Rwanda and give it a platform for people to appreciate. Some of these local artistes are really talented, but they haven’t got the opportunity of presenting what they have to an audience like that of the Jazz Junction.
“Most of them are good and their songs are appreciated, but the showcase bit is where they have a problem. Hardly do they have this audience. So one of our objectives is to promote our very own and showcase their talent to our audience. Without a doubt, Amalon is a very talented young man, there is a lot of potential that you can see in him. What we need is to help him in any way that we can to give him the right attitude, platform and packaging.”
Amalon. / Net photo
On Zahara he explained, “We do what we call audience feedback. We listen to the audience every other time. We have a hit list of artistes that we would wish to invite and to see, but at the same time we also have a consideration of the audience’s opinion in terms of how we are presenting the show, and the choice of artistes that we make over a period of time. For this edition, there has been a huge demand for Zahara once again, and I think it’s because she was here in May last year, and her performance was a thrilling one, yet we also had a lot of people who did not get to see her performance. Those who watched were telling us; “please, one more time.”
He added, “Two, we are celebrating an anniversary, and it’s also one year since she was here, and we wanted an artiste who has been on our stage before to tell the story. Zahara was with us while we were still at Serena in the tent, now she is coming when we are at Camp Kigali. That is something that we don’t take for granted. Being a travelling artiste all over the world, she has been so humble to us. She fell in love with the country, with the Jazz Junction, that in a way she has become an ambassador of Rwanda and the Jazz Junction.”
We are humbled and honoured to have her here a second time, as she had to cancel another show just to be here. That is how much she is in love with Rwanda. We see her as one of those artistes that really appreciate what we are doing and the country, so it’s a whole package with her.”