|Luga-Ragga King Rabadaba (center) preps for stage|
Yet...yet...if you ask me, ‘Was it fun?’ I can’t unequivocally yell, “Hell, yes!” Though there were so many small nice touches that I’m certain meant a lot to the people who were touched by them. Like having an artists’ tent back stage, where they could sit and chill and mentally prepare themselves before jumping onto the stage. The first of its kind artists’ dressing room for musicians in Uganda. That was nice.
I’m not a musician but even I felt, okay, this is kind of paying some sort of respect to the guys who bring you the music-who maintain so many people in business. I have chilled and been chilled with them many nights on late night concerts in the open air and I know how nerve wracking that can be.
However, my expectations for Musanvu Kitundu were so high and I blame Rabadaba and his management Ug Records. You don’t promise a, “Michael Jackson in Africa” show and deliver that. There was nothing Michael Jackson live concert standard about the Musanvu Kitundu I saw! If they had not breathed a word about aspiring for Michael Jackson standards, I would not be having this fit. The only choreographed thing that showed any sign of rehearsal and serious thought was the live band accompaniment-Big Five band and Big Tym knew/know their stuff. You could tell there had at least been a week of rehearsals put in when Cindy (Cinderella Sanyu of Ayokyayokya) had to stay on stage perhaps longer than they had planned-Rabadaba had gone for costume change) and she raced through her most popular songs with the band on point.
Other than that, I would have asked for my money back if I was a paying reveller. Actually Ug Records should demand some sort of refund from Events Warehouse because that poor quality sound should be reserved for kakuyege political campaign rallies by hoarse voiced embittered politicians with an audience of 10 idlers. Not for a good artist like Rabadaba moreover launching for the first time an album that has popularised a style of music that has been on the rise since the late 1990s-dancehall ragga.
Note to all musicians-Ugandan and otherwise-please choose carefully who is going to curtain rise for you before you come on stage. Don’t let it come down to who turns up at the last minute and begin performing artist list alteration because a supposedly ‘big’ musician has turned up demanding to perform. But also do not go so desperate that you will let just about anyone who turns up on your stage perform to pass the time and warm the stage for you. The musicians who curtain rise for you should actually be building up to you, the main artist’s arrival on stage. Their styles, their songs, their performances should in some way be reflecting greater glory on you-not leaving it up to you to again warm up the crowd after endless poor stage performances have left many in the audience pocketing in boredom or texting furiously to ask their friends whether where they are, there is more action. No one wants a dull Friday night when they have bothered to go out!
Anyway, we were talking about Rabadaba’s Musanvu Kitundu. It could have been so much better because I have actually seen him do much better-with only ten minutes on stage, performing on another musician’s stage.
You are going to have to re-impress me again, guys.