Slaï brings French connection to Kigali Jazz Junction

Slaï will perform alongside Rwanda’s own Yverry, the local headline act for the show. Neptunez, the Kigali Jazz Junction resident band will back up both musicians.
French Jazz maestro Slaï (in a white T-shirt) poses for a group photo with the organisers and sponsors of this month’s edition of the Jazz Junction. Courtesy photo.

For the first time in its three and a half year run, the Kigali Jazz Junction is serving up a French musician on its stage.

Zouk sensation Slaï, born Patrice Sylvestre, is the headline act at this month’s edition of the Jazz Junction, dubbed ‘Slay with Slaï. It will take place this Friday, February 22, at the Kigali Conference and Exhibition Village (KCEV).

He will perform alongside Rwanda’s own Yverry, the local headline act for the show. Neptunez, the Kigali Jazz Junction resident band will back up both musicians.

Slaï (L) speaks about his eagerly awaited performance during a news conference, flanked by RG Consult’s Remmy Lubega, at Kigali Serena Hotel on Wednesday.  Photo byEmmanuel Kwizera

The Kigali Jazz Junction returns after a one month hiatus, with the last edition having been staged on December 7. Legendary Congolese Rumba songbird Mbilia Bel headlined the December edition.

Known for songs like; Flame, Je t’emmene au loin, Autour de toi, Ce soir and Caresse, Slaï jetted into the country Tuesday night, and held a news conference at the Kigali Serena Hotel the following morning. He was flanked by his manager and booking agent.

At the media press conference, RG Consult, organisers of the Kigali Jazz Junction, unveiled the latest partnership between the Jazz Junction and Brussels Airlines. The airliner now joins Mutzig beer and Infinix, a smart phone solutions service provider in sponsoring the event.

 “I am very happy to be here in Rwanda. I really appreciate the warm welcome, because I feel that everything has been done for me to feel very good,” Slaï said in his opening remarks at the presser.

 “I appreciate this country because there is something quite strong about its people. We all know the story of Rwanda, but what is important in life is the way you bounce back after a setback. It’s wonderful for future generations, and it’s something that I appreciate a lot.”

Slaï said revealed that he would be unveiling some of his latest songs to his Rwandan audience besides his older zouk ballads.

“I’ve been told by friends that some of my songs have really been popular and appreciated here, so this show allows me to see it for myself. I hope Rwandans will sing and dance along with me, because I believe that sharing emotions is the most important thing when you’re on stage.”

Remmy Lubega, the RG Consult chief executive, revealed that this month’s edition of the Jazz Junction was organised to reflect the spirit of love, as it falls in February, the month of love.

Lubega further noted that hosting the French musician was the culmination of persistent requests by Jazz Junction fans for Slaï.

Born in France in 1973, the artist traces his ancestry to Guadeloupe, a group of islands in the Southern Caribbean Sea. He spent his formative years in Guadeloupe, from where he was deeply influenced by the West Indian musical culture, eventually settling for the zouk genre.

He returned to France in 1996 to embark on his musical career.