The rise and rise of Tom Close

His debut Album ‘Kuki’ still stands out as one of the greatest albums by a Rwandan musician. Now last Friday, September 11, Rwanda’s musician of year 2008 Tom Close launched his second Album “Sibeza” in front of a crowd of over 2000 fans in the Grand Auditorium of the National University of Rwanda-NUR.
Tom Close
Tom Close

His debut Album ‘Kuki’ still stands out as one of the greatest albums by a Rwandan musician. Now last Friday, September 11, Rwanda’s musician of year 2008 Tom Close launched his second Album “Sibeza” in front of a crowd of over 2000 fans in the Grand Auditorium of the National University of Rwanda-NUR.

Clad in a cream pair of trousers with white trainers, red shirt and tie, Tom Close (real name Tom Muyombo) arrived on stage at 11:00PM amid a rapturous applause from the crowd that had been waiting since 6:00PM.

The launch concert itself begun a few minutes before 8:00PM, though Planet Club’s Bissoso kept the crowd intact with a selection of music mixes.

First on stage was Maurix, a musician and studio producer. His studio Maurix Music Studio produced a section of the Sibeza album. A rather unknown figure, King James (also known as James Ruhumuriza) followed with his song “intinyi”.

Though his performance wasn’t the best of performances, this young man is a prospect. King James is a senior five student at A.P.E Rugunga.

Next on stage was K8 a.k.a Kavuyo. A good stage performer, K8 brought some life into the crowd when he left the stage and joined the crowd. He performed three songs before introducing yet another entertainer, who’s managed to build himself a following.

That’s none other than Meddy of the “amayobera” fame. The crowd sang along to all his songs, and at one moment fans almost overrun the stage, only to be restrained by the bouncers.

There is no doubt that his performance was the highlight of the night.

Next was dance hall phenomenon Kitoko, known for the controversial hit ‘Ikiragi’. He was closely followed by another dance hall favourite, Riderman with songs like inkuba and igitendo.

The crowd at this time was giving the best of receptions just as the musicians were giving their best.

The Ben, who according to different sections of the media is not at good terms with Tom Close, stormed the stage after Riderman. He sang ‘Wirira’, ‘wigenda’ before wrapping it up with his greatest track ‘Amaso kumaso’.

Tom Close’s Sibeza Album launch is one that will live to be remembered in the history of our music industry.

It’s reported that Rwandatel pumped a good figure in the Launch alongside BRALIRWA and Huye High Spring Water.
However the biggest backup Tom Close received was the presence of Uganda’s hottest music item; the Goodlyfe.

Radio and weasel entered Butare town at the top o f a limousine with Tom Close. National police had to deploy heavily to avoid any accidents as they drove through the town.  

At 9:30PM, they kicked off with ‘Zino enaku’, then ‘Ngamba’, ‘Nyambura’ before singing ‘Nakudata’ which they said was a dedication to all Rwandese girls. They ended their show with their mega hit ‘Bread and Butter’ as the crowd chatted along.

Apart from the Rwandan girls, Goodlyfe also said they were happy with the hygiene Rwandese towns and streets.

They also thanked the crowd for coming out in numbers to support Tom Close saying “you need to support your own musicians before any other foreign musicians”

Goodlyfe’s splendid performance was followed by the dance troupe, ‘Machinal’ which are by far the best dance troupe to grace this land.

They were also back up dancers for Tom Close, when he arrived on stage minutes later.

At 11:00PM, the ‘Sibeza’ artist took on the stage, performing a series of songs from his debut Album (Kuki) before performing songs from the ‘Sibeza’ Album.

The crowd which was largely made of the NUR community welcomed him like a true son, singing along to every song of his and cheering.

Tom Close, The Ben, Riderman, and K8, all members of ‘Inshuti z’ikirere’ took on the stage and did the remix of the song ‘Kuki’, from his past Album.

After his show, Tom Close thanked the fans, the Goodlyfe crew, ‘Inshuti z’ikirere’ (his crew) and Rwandatell that had financially supported the Album Launch. He also thanked East African Party (EAP) president Mushyoma Joseph for helping organize the Launch

At the end of the evening, I doubt if there is any soul that wasn’t contented with the Album Launch.

As the musicians left for Kigali, talk in Butare town was all about the Launch. That said I think, fans and writers across Rwanda will vouch, today’s music landscape would be barren without Tom Close.

bryok14@yahoo.com

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