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Blankets, wine and fine music

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Blankets, wine and fine music

Some of the ladies who graced the event relax as they enjoy the moment. Photo by Edgar R. Batte. 

By Edgar R. Batte

Posted  Saturday, December 14   2013 at  00:00

In Summary

Started last year in Kampala, and now in its fourth edition, Blankets and Wine festival has become a popular event on the social calendar. If revellers are not drawn by the key act, they are charmed by the picnic-like setting.

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He leans back peacefully on a cushioned seat in a canvas tent backstage. Beside him is his coffee brown guitar, which he occasionally checks.

Oliver Mtukudzi from first sight is a laid-back and modest guy, whose only strong deposition is his wide smile that lights up his face.

When he gets on stage, he is different. He is a terrific performer. He sings, plucks the guitar, dances and is quite an amusing musician because he likes frolicking too.

Dressed in a white shirt, white trouser and white shoes, the Zimbabwean music star takes the crowd on an ecstatic voyage, singing and getting the revellers to sing along. When he dances, fans dance too.

Just below the stage, fans line up with phones and cameras to take digital moments of the celebrated African performer as he hits the high notes and exhibits some fine choreography alongside his instrumentalists.

And the clarity of his music is a plus. His stage output is no different from what you listen to on the music CD.

From the moment he steps on stage to the time he bows out, dripping with sweat, Mtukudzi is worth every second of his stage time.

For most of the songs, although the revellers do not understand a word of what he is singing about, his delivery communicates it all.

Delivering the message
His melody and tempo send the message out. For Mtukudzi, the language of music is emotion. The message is there, plain and clear, delivered with either a sorrowful yet laid-back demeanour or delight.

As he strums the guitar, like in old African traditions, he emotively shares stories from everyday life. Plucking away with emotional surrender, he makes sure every string is as clear as the previous one.

The revellers feel the pull of his largely uplifting music and talent and react appropriately with exhilaration.

On the same stage were other artistes like Milege Afrojazz Band, Nnava Grey and Maurice Kirya, who paid tribute to deceased South African freedom fighter Nelson Mandela, through his song, Malaika.

Muthoni the drummer, the lady behind Blankets and Wine, thanked Uganda for appreciating the idea she began in Kenya.

Notable faces in the crowd included Kampala Casino managing director Bob Kabonero, singers Lillian Mbabazi, Exodus, Joel Sebunjo and Qwela Band’s Joe Kahirimbanyi, the day’s emcee Seanice Kacungira, socialite Judith Heard, Talent Africa’s and Aly Alibhai.

It was seven hours of fun that ran from 1pm to 8pm.

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