Don Moen: What Kigalians should expect from gospel maestro

Don Moen’s concert in Kigali in February next year will be more than just a concert: It will be the beginning of a new dawn for the local gospel music scene, with the birth of the Kigali Praise And Worship Fest, which will be an annual event.

Dubbed “MTN Kigali Praise Fest 2019 Edition One”, the concert will take place on Sunday February 10th. The festival is the result of a partnership between RG Consult Inc, a local Events Management and Experiential Marketing company, and telecom giant MTN Rwanda.

 

RG Consult is best known for its flagship monthly jazz event, the Kigali Jazz Junction.

 

“We have given birth to a new baby called the Kigali Praise Fest. This is an avenue for all believers in Kigali to commemorate the previous year, and ask God to bless the following year in a very fashionable way through praise and worship,” revealed Remmy Lubega, the head of RG Consult at a press conference to unveil the Kigali Praise Fest at the MTN Center in Nyarutarama earlier in the week.

 

He added that the Kigali Praise Festival was looking at a long term partnership with the telecom giant in staging the annual event.

“Today is a landmark as we celebrate not only Don Moen, but our marriage with our beautiful partner (MTN), who is going to shine on this annual event , hence MTN Kigali Praise Fest. We are announcing our partnership and collaboration and goodwill to make this the best event the gospel industry has ever seen, that will be held annually.”

According to Lubega, MTN’s role is basically to “help us (Kigali Praise Fest) look good, but also give back to its customers who are passionate about gospel music, especially Praise and Worship, and also support the industry of gospel music in this country, and the creative industry in general.”

At the same press conference, Gisele Phanny Wibabara, head of Events, Promotion and Sponsorship at MTN further revealed that MTN Kigali Praise Fest 2019 will be part of the company’s 20 year anniversary celebrations. In June this year, the telecom giant launched celebrations to mark 20 years of operations in the Rwandan market. In other words, Don Moen’s concert will be an after party of sorts.

End of a long wait:          

There is no doubt about Don Moen’s huge following in Rwanda. The ubiquitous sound of his mellow Praise and Worship songs can be heard from almost everywhere –in places of worship, at parties and religious gatherings, as mobile phone ringtones, or on private playlists.

Christians and non-Christians alike take to his music with almost equal gusto. Similarly, Moen is as loved in foreign lands as he is in his native US.

It is no secret that his show in Rwanda comes after a catalogue of failed attempts at securing his signature over the last couple of years. Remmy Lubega revealed as much at the press conference:

“Don Moen is a celebrated international award winning gospel minister and he’s been long overdue in Rwanda. For the past five years, a lot of people have been trying to pursue Don Moen and it’s been hard to get him down here. Sometimes his schedule was tight or the timing wasn’t right, but this time round he managed to confirm.”

At the press conference, organizers were yet to come up with a venue for the concert, but promised to do so in the course of next week. And they had better do just that.

Most people that this reporter talked to revealed that the spanking new, state-of-the-art Intare Conference Arena in Rusororo was the most favoured venue for the concert, then the Kigali Convention Center? Many considered the Amahoro National Stadium a good bet as well, but not the best.

The Kigali Conference and Exhibition Village (KCEV) would appear a little small for an event of this magnitude.

Other than these options, I don’t see where else in Kigali would be best suited for a Don Moen first time performance in Rwanda.

Or will organizers choose to make a bold gamble like organizers of the Rwanda Fiesta concert in July last year?

The concert, one of the best attended music concerts on Rwandan soil, had international stars Diamond Platnumz from Tanzania, and reggae band Morgan Heritage from Jamaica. The show was staged in far off Nyamata, at the Golden Tulip Hotel.

Mbonyi, AFWEL to curtain raise for Don Moen.

At the press conference, local gospel star Israel Mbonyi revealed that sharing a stage with Don Moen would come as the fulfillment of a childhood dream.

He described Moen as an inspiration both musically and spiritually. He promised to use the occasion to unveil the songs off his upcoming third studio album.

AFWEL (Africa Let’s Worship –Rwanda Chapter), a local gospel music collective will be the other curtain-raising acts. 

About Don Moen:

Born June 29 1950, Donald James ‘Don’ Moen is an American gospel singer, songwriter, pastor, and producer of Christian worship music.

Earlier in his religious calling, he worked at Integrity Music, a US based recording label after completing university. He became a leading gospel artist for Terry Law Ministries, a US gospel outfit, and toured with the ministry for over ten years.

He produced eleven volumes for the Hosana!Music series of worship albums. His first album under his own name, Worship with Don Moen, was released in 1992.

Moen worked for Integrity Media for over 20 years, serving as Creative Director and President of Integrity Music, president of Integrity Label Group, and an Executive Producer of Integrity Music albums. He left Integrity Media in December 2007 to start a new initiative, The Don Moen Company.

Some of his popular songs include; Our father, Thank you Lord, God is good all the time, I will sing, As we worship you, Have your way, and He never sleeps.

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