Kenyan sensation group Sauti Sol said ahead of their New Year’s show in Kigali, dubbed ‘CountDown’, that it would be ‘all about fun’ and indeed that is what it turned out to be.
Even persistent rain could not stop the concert and the excitement .
Revellers braved the evening drizzles on Sunday to find their way to Kigali Convention Centre (KCC), the venue for the concert, and from where they ushered in the New Year with fireworks display over the Kimihurura-based complex and strong performances from artistes.
On arrival, the revellers were warmly received with a drink, many of them at the time Sauti Sol were testing the sound.
It was at 10p.m when the host, Eugene Anangwe, took to the stage, along with DJs Toxxyk and Infinity, to warm up the crowd with a good mix of music.
Singer Mike Kayihura was the first on stage and had the task of cheering up the crowd whose mood had slightly been dampened by the drizzles. He belted out a few hits, including ‘The Weekend’s I feel it coming’.
Thereafter, DJ Infinity took to the decks again and for 15 minutes managed to get some the soaked revellers to cheer up, before Bruce Melodie came on stage.
The ‘Ikinya’ singer had to wait for several minutes as a sound check was performed before Sebeya band joined him on stage to perform some of his hits, including ‘Uzandabure’, ‘Ntundize’, ‘Complete Me’ and ‘Deep in Love’, which got fans on their feet.
The RnB star sent the crowd wild as he performed ‘Ndumiwe’ before concluding with ‘Ikinya’, which got everyone, including the staff of Radisson Blu, singing and dancing along.
When he was done, again DJ Infinity had the task of keeping the crowd upbeat, albeit under an umbrella to ensure that his work tools are protected from rain, as midnight approached.
Five minutes to midnight, President Paul Kagame’s New Year message was relayed live at the venue via Rwanda television and it was immediately followed by a flurry of fireworks that were set off at the hotel as revellers welcomed the New Year with pomp.
The spectacular fireworks display lit the sky for at least 10 minutes as singers Allioni and Uncle Austin made playback performances.
After the fireworks, the Sauti Sol trio of Bien-Aimé Baraza, Savara Mudigi and guitarist Polycarp Otieno took the stage, without fellow group member Willis Chimano, who is reportedly on holiday in Thailand.
Nevertheless, the three were enough to excite the expectant crowd as they performed some of their hits, including, ‘Sura Yako’, ‘Money Lover’, ‘Live and Die in Africa’ and ‘Unconditionally Bae’, their collaboration with Tanzanian Ali Kiba, who was also in the house ahead of his own show in Kigali last evening.
The Sauti Sol stars engaged the fans wishing them a happy New Year, with inspiring messages of peace and love, as they went over their songs including ‘Love Again’, ‘Mboziza Malwa’, all of which are collaborations.
They spoke of their admiration for the progress Rwanda has made over the years, and particularly the City of Kigali, which they said is the cleanest city in Africa, citing easy access to the internet among notable signs of progress. They congratulated President Kagame and his government for on the country’s progress.
The Kenyan band then sung ‘Nerea’, ‘Nishike’ and ‘Melanin’, in which they feature Nigerian musician Patoranking, at which point band leader Baraza joined the fans. The group then invited girls on the stage to perform their closing song “Shake your bum bum”.
As they paved the way for Nigerian star Yemi Alade, some couldn’t take the rain anymore and left but many were happy to be soaked but watch the ‘Ferrari’ singer do what he does best.
Arguably the best female artiste on the continent, Yemi Alade did not waste time as soon as a sound glitch was corrected at around 2:30a.m. Accompanied by her dancers, she delved into some of the songs that made her a continental name, including Kissing and Tumbum.
Clad in tight black hot pants jumpsuit with a yellow accessory at the front, Yemi Alade proved why she is one of the best artistes on the continent as she pulled off energetic dance moves. She performed songs like Knack Am, 911 featuring Harmonize and Na Gode, much to the delight of the revellers.
She went through most of her songs including ‘Charlie’, ‘Taking over me’ and Pose before Sauti Sol joined her on stage to perform their collaboration Africa, which got the fans exhilarated.
The Nigerian star wound up her performance with Johnny a few minutes past 3a.m after which the music lovers who braved the overnight drizzles went home all smiles and cheering into the New Year.