LOCAL musicians and ardent fans converged at Amahoro Stadium’s main parking ground on January 1 to usher in the New Year. The ordinary section was crowded and VIP wing was fully packed, with no empty seats.
Fans seemed to have eagerly been waiting for this day as they turned up in huge numbers. It was January1 and certainly everyone was in the mood to have fun and get wild as they bid farewell to 2013.
The East African Promoters (EAP) organised the Party, codenamed East African Party.
Different from the previous years, this time there were no regional or international artistes—but only a new breed of local artistes and seasoned traditional musicians.
The show started on time at 6pm, with emcees Tino and Anita entertaining the crowd before introducing the first artiste on stage.
Riderman, Jay Polly, Knowless, Mani Martin and King James had the chance to share a stage with their idols. The new generation showed the maturity of their vocal execution and stage performances.
Knowless sang a medley of some of her favourite hits including Baramushaka and Rubanda by Kina Music/Abdoul Makanyaga. She looked relaxed and comfortable on stage.
Mani Martin thrilled the audience with his fusion of traditional Kinyarwanda rhythms and instruments. He gave a stunning performance in Brenda Fassie’s rendition of Mama, a tribute to the late former South African President Nelson Mandala. Backed by his band, Mani sang masterfully and commanded the stage.
His noteworthy vocals included Baba ni nani and Amazi magari, among others. It was a sight to behold as his silky vocals had the crowd swaying from side to side.
After singing My Destiny, Martin introduced his talented band of only young artistes. He received a standing ovation in the end. What a way to start the year!
Then it was Intore Masamba’s turn. The Ngwino star gave the crowds their money's worth that night. Masamba and his band, Gakondo belted out a series of tunes including Rwagihuta, Wirira.
Equally beautiful was the rendition of his signature tune Nyeganyega, which earned him another standing ovation. He also performed Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika, a South African national anthem.
Known for her powerful singing vocals, Cécile Kayirebwa needed no introduction to the stage. She has an unlimited repertoire at her disposal and all her songs are timeless.
As soon as she took the stage, Kayirebwa was greeted by a lengthy standing ovation from her local fans. Backed by Gakondo Group, she commenced her set with Tarihinda, and it was followed by Mama ndare.
“Thank you very much. I love you all and I wish you a happy New Year,” Kayirebwa said. She immediately broke into her classic ballad Umunezero, and the audience sprang to their feet, singing and dancing along to her songs.
Francois Chouchou Mihigo’s Orchestre Ingeri and Orchestre Impala demonstrated quite the prowess behind the keys during the show.
The musical traditions of Rwanda provide the foundation for soulful vocalist and composer Kayirebwa. A founding member of the Rwanda Song and Dance Circle since 1961, Kayirebwa has continued her musical legacy.
Diane Teta, a member of the Gakondo group, remarked, “Cécile Kayirebwa is an icon of the traditional music. I was so blessed to finally share the stage with her – this is a dream come true. She is absolutely talented and she has earned herself huge respect from her fans and people who love Rwanda’s traditional music.”
“She is a role model to very many artistes, especially those who do traditional music. I wish I could be like her some day. It’s important for us to embrace our traditional music because it helps us to keep our identity as Rwandans.”
The audience was mesmerised by the performance and wanted more, but unfortunately the show had to end at midnight.
“This has been the best concert ever. I don’t think we need foreign musicians any more. With all those talented musicians – we should instead have more concerts of this kind. It was a beautiful concert- thanks to EAP,” said Johnson Muhire, one of the revellers.