By GEORGE ORIDO
He rises from his seat at the high table and walks towards the podium with a dignified persona to a thunderous applause. The excitement is palpable as he readies himself to belt out the evergreen hit, Lunch Time.
|Veteran musician Gabriel Omollo performs the number, Lunch Time, during the launch of the biography on local musicians. [PHOTO: GEORGE ORIDO/STANDARD]|
The instrumentalist go to work and soon his soulful voice comes over the public address system. The house goes wild.
Clad in a grey suit and his trademark hat, veteran musician Gabriel Omollo’s persuasive voice is unmistakable and his mastery of benga tunes truly legendary.
Although Daudi Kabaka, who played the lead guitar in the song, is not present to give it its original touch, the assembled band today is just as great.
Some of the audience members get on their feet, responding to the bewitching lyrics of the evergreen hit.
As he belts out the last line, there are wild cheers from the audience comprising political leaders, artistes, producers and other dignitaries.
This was one of those rare occasions that Omollo has travelled from his Ugenya home to perform in a city he made a mark on many years ago as a young musician.
Series of books
In 1976, Omolo was awarded a Golden Disk Award for sale of over 250,000 records. His other rhumba hits include Argwings Hero National, Mr Kupe and Tom Mboya.
On this night, the Permanent Presidential Music Commission is launching a new book, A Biography of Kenyan Musicians – a first in a series of books to document the life, works and times of Kenyan musicians.
After brief remarks by some of the guests present, it is time to welcome on stage another music legend, Joseph Ngala, popularly known as Mzee Bango, for more riveting tunes from the eighties. Ngala will take guests down memory lane with his popular number, Naitaka Bango.