It was money well spent for the thousands of revelers that turned up for the highly billed Rwanda Fiesta music concert on Sunday night. It will definitely belong among the biggest shows that have ever happened in Rwanda.
Not even the out-of-town location (Golden Tulip Hotel in Nyamata) could deter attendance as the hotel (and the town) staged arguably their biggest music gig to date.
For many that travelled from Kigali, it was a good way to check out the large facility that sits imposingly on the road to Bugesera.
With a good line up of artists and good timing, since Monday was a public holiday, nothing could probably have gone wrong. In the end, it was the best of Rwanda, Tanzania and Jamaica on stage.
Jamaican reggae band Morgan Heritage came with not just their conscious reggae lyrics, but also some good words for their Rwandan fans.
Members of the New York-based Jamaican family band gushed over Rwanda’s cleanliness and the path of progress it is on, pointing out that they genuinely think Jamaica or U.S can learn a thing or two from Rwanda.
The band and Tanzanian bongo star Diamond Platnumz were the night’s main acts and in the end, it was the person with the biggest fan base that crowned the night. That person was Diamond Platnumz. One thing that was clear is that most people had come to see Diamond, not Morgan Heritage.
Morgan Heritage may be a bigger musical name internationally, but they were no match for Chibu Dangote, the nickname that fans kept chanting in reference to Platnumz. If anything, he demonstrated that even without Morgan Heritage the party would have gone on just as good.
But the first part of the show belonged to Rwandan musicians, with DJ Pius first on stage. He had the unenviable task of getting the large crowd in concert mood.
The Agatako singer and girl duo Charly and Nina performances were highly affected by sound hitches despite both trying to spice up the crowd. DJ Pius would later take to Twitter to complain about the sound.
“I am not here to point a finger at anyone, I am just here to talk to music lovers. Sound let us down but we still have a long journey ahead,” DJ Pius pointed out.
After Charly and Nina, it was time for Rwanda’s own Yvan Buravan to shine among the stars and he proved just that. His powerful RnB voice will take him even more places. He easily stood out among the local entertainers lined up. Buravan performed some of his popular songs like Malaika, Just a dance and Urwo Ngukunda with Uncle Austin.
He was followed by Tanzania singer Chege, who performed a number of songs to his name. Though on playback, the former TMK Wanaume member spiced up the show.
At the end of Tanzanian singer Chege’s performance, the MC asked the crowd which of the Rwandan artists they would love to perform at Fiesta in Tanzania.
The crowd unanimously chorused “Buravan”. Indeed, the organisers of the Fiesta vowed to take him to the next one in Tanzania.
Tanzanian songstress Vanessa Mdee gave fans both music and the other thing for which she is well known for – her revealing stage costumes.
She lip-synched her songs during her performance but fans did not complain and seemed to talk more about how she and her queen dancers were dressed than how or what she sung. The Niroge singer put in energetic dance moves which mesmerised the crowd.
Morgan Heritage then stepped on stage shortly after midnight, and immediately launched into Tell Me How Come, one of their popular singles.
The band delivered the typical Jamaican set, mixing their songs with a few other reggae classics from other Jamaican musicians. In the middle of their performance one of the band members, Peter Morgan took time off for what he called “real talk” with his Rwandan fans:
“Rwanda has set an example and you’ve set the bar so high for the rest of the world,” he stated emphatically, sending the crowd into prolonged cheers.
“We’re born in America but our parents come from Jamaica. Jamaica can learn from Rwanda. America can learn from Rwanda. Our parents and grandparents in the bible taught us that cleanliness is next to Godliness,”
“So to have a clean Rwanda is to know that the spirit of God is in Rwanda. They tried to get you out, but they’ll never get Rwanda out. Rwanda is here alive and here to stay, ain’t going nowhere,” the brothers declared.
As the band left the stage for Diamond, Peter Morgan assured the crowd that the band will be returning to Rwanda many more times.
Diamond did not waste time as he stepped on the stage, wading into over a dozen of his popular hits, delivering almost two hours of music, accompanied by ecstatic dance moves. He performed almost every song he has released.
From the earlier ones like Mawazo and Nataka Kulewa to the latest ones like I want to marry and Kidogo, the bongo flava star proved why he is a force to reckon with on the continental and global music scene.
In the end, it was value for money as everybody left Nyamata happy.