It was an evening of electrifying music and a show of talent as the Kigali Jazz Junction yet again returned, with exhilarating performances from Uganda’s Cindy Sanyu and MoRoots, on Friday evening.
From the organization and set up at Kigali Serena Hotel banquet hall, one could tell that the evening was up to something good. And as promised, by 8:00pm, the show started with Neptunez Band taking the stage, even though most people hadn’t arrived. By 8:30pm, the hall was almost full as people continued to trickle in.
Next on stage was Injyana Ensembles, a jazz orchestra composed of students from Green Hills Academy, led by Lance Gaskills, a senior music instructor and music teacher.
The group consisting of 22 young instrumentalists thrilled the crowd with a Christmas-themed performance, setting the festive season mood with a number of Christmas carols.
“We are privileged, not only to perform at the Kigali Jazz Junction but also using this opportunity to introduce to you the young and talented people we have in this country,” Gaskills, who also engages in evangelical work, told the audience.
Before performances could continue, RemmygiousLubega, the CEO of RG Consults, the organisers of the monthly event, took time off to recognize individuals and sponsors who have helped make Kigali Jazz Junction a success.
Sponsors received certificates of recognition, including The New Times, Bralirwa, Kigali Serena Hotel, Royal Media (TV/Radio), Neptunez Band and several individuals who play a role in the organization and publicity.
It was then time to introduce female saxophonist and singer MoRoots. Real names Maureen Rutabinga, the talented singer and instrumentalist started off her performance with Christmas songs.
A native of Kabale, South Western Uganda, MoRoots intimated to the audience how Christmas back in the day used to be a big deal, with lots of food, visitors and putting on your best outfit, but today it passes like any other day.
She sung her song Omuka (Home), a Christmas song recalling how Christmas was celebrated back in the day. She switched between the saxophone and guitar during her performance on top of her powerful vocals, which got her a new legion of fans in Rwanda.
Backed by Neptunez Band, MoRoots promised to come back to Rwanda before she left the stage for Cindy Sanyu, the former Blu3 singer who has cut out a niche as a great performer.
Skimpily clad in a revealing bra-like top and tight red pants, the Ayokyayokya singer introduced herself powerfully as she belted out some of the old songs that made her a household name in the region and beyond.
The dancehall queen, speaking a mix of English and Jamaican Patois, expressed her delight to perform in Rwanda yet again, several weeks after she scooped the “Best Female Artiste East Africa” in the 2016 AFRIMA Awards.
Among other songs, Cindy sang SanyuLyange, one of the songs that made Blu3 popular, before she ventured into her own songs including NdiMukodo, Still standing, Dilemma, Seleckta, Nawewe and many others in a performance which lasted an hour.
She however didn’t sing Gahunda, a song she did with Kid Gaju, which is popular in Rwanda, but she opted to leave it out. As she concluded her performance, Cindy was given a deafening applause by the satisfied audience.
As curtains fell on the show at midnight, Lubega said that another Jazz Junction is slated for January next year, where it is expected that Tiwa Savage or YemiAlade, the two leading female artistes on the continent, will grace the event.