It was a very hot evening at Kati Kati on Sunday. And I’m not talking about the temperature. I’m talking about the women and girls turned up in droves to attend the Airtel Inspiring Women Concert, featuring the internationally renowned Nigerian Superstar, Tiwa Savage. The gates were open from 3pm and there was a steady stream of revelers trickling in the entire time.
The organisers had managed to wrangle an impressive lineup of performers. There was Ivory Namara, who claimed to have been singing for 12 years, but was now new in the singing industry. Jacinta wowed the crowd with her smooth vocals, but the crowd hadn’t livened up yet, for their shouts were barely audible and the claps were a bit half-hearted. They probably preferred to restrict their movements in the high temperatures, or reserve energy for more deserving performers. That was to be seen later. The MCing was then taken over by Flavia of Capital FM.
Former Obsession Helen Lukoma turned up the heat with lively dancing and singing, and had the crowd fanning themselves to keep from collapsing under the intense heat. The ladies were turning it up! It was with much sarcasm and bemusement that right after Helen, Flavia with a straight face, then introduced the New Obsessions. It was quite the performance. The former Obsessions star could only stand back and watch as her successors wowed the crowd with a spirited performance.
Reach A Hand performing a play about early pregnancies, which is supposed to help sensitize the public. It was as direct as it was entertaining, subtle yet undeniably clear. They received loud praise and about a minute of applause from the crowd. Newcomer Carol performed a Ragga track called 911 that got the crowd unwittingly swaying along. Bruno K (former Airtel Trace contestant) performed a rendition of Dorobucci with amazing vocals that had the ladies squealing in delight.
Allan Toniks then turned it up a notch with Mulamwa and Baby Language. Even Sandra Suubi (Airtel Trace winner) graced us with her presence on stage. MC Flavia even teased her that she’s sort of a big deal now, having won the lucrative singing competition. Reach a Hand artists GNL, Big Trill, Jody, Ray Signature, Lydia Jazmine shared the stage.
Then it was time to rest our legs a little. I wish. Who better to provide a musical interlude than the ever blazing DJ Karo! It was a full-on party in the place. They clearly didn’t want us to regress into inactivity. While our heads were reeling, desperately trying to recover from all that excitement, the country’s best female rapper, Keko, stomped onto the stage. She really knows how to work the crowd! Some people even found themselves wishing they could rap along!
Photos: Airtel Uganda
The irrepressible Irene Ntale gracefully sauntered onto the stage, humbly clutching her acoustic guitar before delivering her hit songs, with only her impressive vocals and soulful strumming. I’m surprised a teary man didn’t run onto the stage and give her a hug. Perhaps he tried, but the rock-jawed bouncers couldn’t have understood the intention of such a gesture.
Seeing that the crowd was in a lively mood, MC Flavia sprung a surprise on us. It was time to go the way of the traditional Ugandan woman. And who better to lead the way than the renowned TV presenter Ssenga Justine Nantume. The excitement on the faces of the women was almost palpable, and waists were subsequently shaken with much youthful vigour. Women of all ages were dancing. Mother and daughter side by side shared the rare moment with glee.
Former Blu 3 singer Lilian reminded the crowd that she still had it in her, and even broke out a new number called Kuuma Obudde. She was followed by the electrifying Sheeba, who got what was left of the reluctant ones quickly onto their feet. Pallaso joined her for their track Go Down Low, and the crowd gladly obeyed their command. She invited Bruno K back on stage and let him sing Twesana, which left the crowd screaming ecstatically. However, Cindy was not to be left out of the mix, and did well to keep the crowd on their feet. While the crowd was beginning to tire, MC Flavia sprung a surprise on us. She invited the main man himself, the Doctor, Jose Chameleone! I saw people almost collapsing. The excitement was too much to bear.
It was finally the moment. The unassuming international star got onto the stage, her charm quickly captivating the crowd. She didn’t waste much time getting into the groove with her popular songs like Kele Kele Love, Love Me, Eminado, Do As I Do, before slowing it down a little with the sensual Wanted. At some point, she ditched the high heels even. Then we knew things were getting pretty serious! The crowd obviously loved her, and stayed on their feet the whole time. Although most of them were too busy recording the whole thing on their phones and couldn’t be bothered to dance. Then she rose back up with Dorobucci, all the while dancing like she didn’t have a baby bump. She could even keep up with her energetic and flexible backup dancers! What a performer she is! It was truly world class.
I was slightly disappointed that we didn’t get to hear her awesome vocals live on stage. We’re talking about a singer who has shared a stage and done back-up vocals for Mary J. Blige, Chaka Khan, former Spice Girl Emma Bunton, Kelly Clarkson, Blu Cantrell, Destiny’s Child, The Black Eyed Peas, and even George Michael! But she made up for it with energetic and spirited performance which was unbecoming for an expecting mother. Sure, she’s a strong African woman, and her dedication to her craft is commendable, but that was a feat of bravery! It will surely send ripples across the fraternity (or is it sorority?) of loyal female fans across the world. How being pregnant shouldn’t hold you back from doing what you have to do. A stunning performance from Tiwa Savage crowned an epic Women’s Day indeed.