Cameroonian opera singer takes Kigali by storm

On Tuesday night, Berlin-based Cameroonian opera singer Jacques-Greg Belobo, brought a far more intimate side of his talent at Chapelle du Centre Emmanuel in Kigali, in a solo performance that enthralled the audience for more than two hours.
Jacques-Greg Belobo on stage with his piano accompanist Simon Pierre Ndoyé.
Jacques-Greg Belobo on stage with his piano accompanist Simon Pierre Ndoyé.

He has already thrilled opera audiences around the world with his exceptional vocal prowess.

On Tuesday night, Berlin-based Cameroonian opera singer Jacques-Greg Belobo, brought a far more intimate side of his talent at Chapelle du Centre Emmanuel in Kigali, in a solo performance that enthralled the audience for more than two hours.

Organised by Goethe-Institut and the Institut Français du Rwanda, the free concert dubbed “Sacred Songs” started at 6:30p.m and attracted hundreds of opera-lovers from all walks of life.

Belobo stood in the middle of the stage and displayed a rare musical sensitivity as he performed numerous songs like “O Divin rédempteur”, “Crucifixus”, “Ave Maria”, “Nocturne en Mi mineur”, and – best of all – spiritual tracks like “Deep River”, “Balm in Gilead”, “Nobody knows”, “Go down Moses”, “His got whole world” and “How great thou art”.

Belobo brought the energy on stage and lit up people’s souls. His heavenly but powerful voice at one point seemed to bring down the chapel’s walls.

He was accompanied on stage by outstanding piano accompanist Simon Simon Pierre Ndoyé.

 “Wow, what a talent. The singer has a fantastic voice. He was not using a microphone and yet his voice was so clear and powerful,” Claudine Mukashyaka, 45, commented.

Belobo’s voice has a quality that can at first surprise listeners used to brighter tone sounds. In this recital, he left people stunned and longing for more.

“I can hardly find any words suitable to convey the atmosphere of the concert in the most accurate way,” Jean-Pierre Makuza remarked, “Belobo sings with energy; he is generously giving it away to every person in the audience”.

Focused on this process, he never made movements on stage, but it did not spoil the overall impression.

The audience clapped and those brave enough tried to sing along the high notes.

Belobo wrapped up his concert with two Cameroonian traditional songs “A teta su nye” and “Kur’te me ngol, a Nti”.

The star is currently training Rwandan solo singers and choirs, in a joint project organised by the Goethe-Institut and the Institut Français du Rwanda.

Belobo will return in the country in fall 2012 and then January 2013 for the final selection of the two best singers, who will go to Germany and France to study music.

Jacques-Greg Belobo, considered the most successful African classical music expert, is based at the Semperoper in Dresden, Germany.

The Cameroon-born singer has won prizes in many European competitions, including the International Belvedere in Vienna, Austria.

linda.mbabazi@newtimes.co.rw

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