Kampala-Musician Koffi Olomide’s Red Music concert last Friday night was testament that while Lingala’s popularity may have dwindled on the African music scene, the genre is still on the list of Ugandans’ favourites.
The queues at the Lugogo Cricket Oval’s gates were not the lengthy ones that are characteristic of other international artistes’ performances. By 8:30pm, a sizeable number of revellers had assembled in all the gazetted sections – the corporate section was filled to capacity.
A close observation through the revellers revealed that all age groups were present (a contradiction to the assumption that Soukous is endearing to only the elderly).
Also present were a couple of public figures such as Vice President Edward Sekandi, Prince David Wasajja, Uganda’s Ambasaddor to Kinshasha James Kinobe and D.K.Lee, the Trustee of the Rotary Foundation.
Local artistes Grace Nakimera, Rema Namakula and Jamal curtain- raised for Olomide. While the trio breathed life into the audience, the air hereafter became filled with animated impatience for the Congolese Lingala icon to get on stage. Instead his four skimpily-dressed queen dancers reached first and “warmed” the stage by wiggling to high tempo Lingala tracks.
At exactly 9:48pm, 57-year-old Olomide got on stage and showcased his dance skills that made his music videos a beauty to watch. This inspired wild cheers from the audience. He opened his performance with Andrada (commonly referred as Malembe) a song that got folk onto their feet to shake their bones.
He went on to sing his other popular songs such as Papa plus, Effrakata and Loi – a song he dedicated to President Museveni. He was occasionally joined by his singer Cindy Le Coeur to perform the duo’s collaborations such as Si Si and Ikea.
The France–based artiste endlessly thanked Ugandans for the love they have showered him since his music gained popularity in the country in the 1990s.
Olomide left the stage at 11:40pm after performing without a break, for two hours.
The concert, which was co-sponsored by Monitor Publications Limited, was aimed at raising funds to build a private blood bank. The idea was started by Rotary Uganda.