Kigali Serena Hotel’s Banquet Hall on Friday evening was packed to the brim, as songstress Knowless Butera launched her new album ‘Uwo Ndiwe’.
Perhaps next time she will consider a bigger venue because if the concert in Serena was to prove how much she is loved, she got more than she bargained for.
By 8:30pm, security at the gate were not allowing in anyone because the hall was filled to the brim, which certainly meant frustration for many.
If the turn-up was anything to go by, Knowless is arguably the most popular female musician in Rwanda at the moment and as many would say, they were not there to see Dr Jose Chameleone, even though it was an added advantage.
The 22-year-old beauty has certainly managed to capture the love, not only of Rwandans but also the region and beyond, thanks to her hard work.
It was not only the turn-up to prove this, but the fact that the crowd sang along, song after song, which shows that her music is well listened to.
Credit should also be given in terms of organisation — everything went as planned and by 6.30pm, the stage was ablaze with music. The décor and hall setting was equally superb.
Several curtain raisers including Tom Close, Aline Gahongayire and RnB new kid on the block Christopher warmed up the stage before Knolwess hit the stage at around 8:00pm for the first round of a long act during which she belted out all her songs.
Clad in a combination of well sewn African ‘Kitenge’ to complement the décor, Knowless made every effort to deliver a well-packaged live performance, supported by an impressive back-up band and singers.
The singer might lack vocal abilities of high notches similar to Mariah Carey’s but to be fair, her creativity and composure makes up for her vocal weakness and also the fact that she makes an effort to perform live rather than opt for lip-synching is something she should be credited for.
Knowless performed her latest hits Nzaba Mpari and Ninkureka Ukagenda, a song increasingly becoming popular which she sang in honour of soldiers’ wives.
On the same evening, she also unveiled the video of Ninkureka Ukagenda, which features Tom Close, on the giant screens in the hall.
Midway through the performance, Knowless was joined by Maria Yohani on stage. The elegant, legendary singer performed her liberation song Intsinzi to the excitement of the audience.
A mother figure to Knowless, Maria Yohani praised the youthful diva for maintaining her ‘dignity’ in the music industry which is lately overwhelmed by nudity and over exposure.
Around this time, there was an air of content thanks to the singer’s energetic performance. By the time the main guest artiste Jose Chameleone was hitting the stage at around 11:00pm, pockets of people were already leaving the congested hall.
The musical doctor did a couple of songs including his latest Badilisha, Valu Valu and a couple of his old hits.
Nevertheless, the Ugandan Afrobeat star Chameleone was able to ignite the crowd, thanks to his energetic stage presence with his back up duo of AK47, his young sibling and Chagga.
In an interview with The New Times, Maria Yohani and Aline Gahongayire, arguably being few of Rwanda’s established voices, praised Knowless for standing tall and upholding the ethics and integrity of a Rwandan woman.
“The turn up was good. I did not expect this myself. I call upon all young upcoming musicians to emulate her not only in terms of music but also how she dresses. You can be smart without revealing too much,” said Maria Yohani.
At the end of the evening, the excited Knowless could not hold back the joy. “I could not believe my eyes. I prayed to God to give me many people but I did not expect this. I am excited,” Knowless told The New Times.
Knowless attributed the success of her concert to hard working and planning.
MTN was the main sponsors of the event.