Maurice Kirya's energetic live performance, interesting stories and blazing gazes into the audience kept the spectators ecstatic for the entire 1:45-minutes set of his greatest hits at Ishyo Arts Centre in Kigali.
Friday night marked yet another major gig at the venue as the show was opened by traditional performances by Ikobe music troupe and the famous Inanga player Sophie Nzayisenga.
At 8:15p.m, the lights went down and Kirya's fans were on the edge of their seats, eagerly waiting for the star to perform. He entertained the audience, judging by the shrill screams emanating from all corners of the hall.
A small shadow drifted towards the centre of the stage, and when the colourful lights lit, Kirya, clad in a blue short-sleeved T-shirt, vest coat and black jeans, complete with slick afro hair, blasted into the stage as he crooned a marathon of hits.
With barely a spare second between songs, Kirya dazzled his way through his biggest hits, including ‘I will sing’, “If I ever’, ‘The man’, ‘Angles carried me’,’Wooye’, ‘O’kunanagila’, Boda boda’ and ‘Misubawa’, among others.
"He's hot, he's amazing and he's still got it after all these years," Sandra Uwera, a fan said. "Best concert I've ever been to!"
Many would agree that this was one of the major performances of the year, as Kirya poured out his soul and impressed music lovers who turned up for the show in large numbers.
The 26-year-old singer has a number of international awards under his belt, including the 2010 RFI Discoveries Awards. Kirya is on his RFI tour with his band of four.
“The award has opened doors for me, especially in the Francophone world because previously, I was more known in the English speaking countries. It has also been a good experience for me because I have travelled a lot,” Kirya noted.
During the concert, Kirya played to a huge audience that included the President of the Senate Dr. Jean Damascene Ntawukuriryayo and dignitaries from the French Embassy, among others.
The concert was organised in collaboration with the French Cultural Centre in Rwanda, to promote Rwanda's cultural diversity.
Kirya describes his style of music as ‘Myoyo’ – Soul. He grew up from a musical family with three of his siblings now renowned artistes in his home country. He has been in the music industry for 10 years.
“It was my first major concert in Rwanda and it was actually better than I had expected. Yesterday was actually one of the biggest successes of my tour so far.
“I won the RFI 2010 Best African Artiste, and the award comes with a prize of grand money and a tour around Africa. We already did 14 countries in Africa and remaining with only nine,” he said.
The Ugandan celebrated artiste told The New Times that he intends to conduct some workshops in Rwanda with CCF in February to develop the artistes, share with them and learn from each other.
Kirya said that he plans to hold a concert in Rwanda, in June.
“So from now, I want to be very present in Kigali, not only for my own sake but also work along with other musicians,” he noted.
Kirya has encouraged the Rwandan media to promote and believe in the local artistes.
“Artistes, too, should try as much as they can to prove it to the country that they are worth it and they should sing something that identifies them as Rwandans and something that makes them unique. They should find their strength and focus on them,” Kirya urged.
“I am very excited because yesterday was crazy. I have been putting it all over on Facebook and Twitter and I am really thankful to the fans that came to my show and I hope to get more fans in Kigali. I hope to grow as a powerful force of music in this country. And I will appreciate everyone who is going to help me do this.”
“Kigali so clean and the roads are amazing. I found the idea of Umuganda very interesting and I am going to research and learn more about it,” Kirya noted.
He said: “Even the people are quite opened minded in music. So far, Kigali has been one of the best places I have ever performed in.”