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American artistes thrill fans in Nairobi with 1990s hits

By George Orido | Updated Mon, February 20th 2017 at 00:00 GMT +3
America R&B artistes Blackstreet perform on stage at Kenyatta International Conventional Centre on Saturday evening.

An air of fanfare and celebration reigned at Kenyatta International Convection Centre on Saturday evening when two renowned American music groups performed.

Enthusiastic audience sang along to timeless classics by American rhythm and blues maestros Blackstreet and SWV (Sisters With Voices).

The two groups gave a spectacular performance that evoked a sense of nostalgia for the 1990's music.

It was a double treat for hundreds of fans as Sisters with voices (SWV, inset) also performed. [Photos: Edward Kiplimo/Standard]

Performing for the very first time in Kenya the SWV trio of Coco, Lelee and Tamar set the mood with their popular song Weak in beautifully choreographed dance moves reminiscing the Kenyan disco scene of the 1990s.

Clad in baseball tops in green, blue and silver with golden sprinkles, the girlsdefied age with their dance moves. One could easily mistake them for the youthful musicians such as Beyonce or Lady Gaga.

The trio sat perched on high stools as they rendered yet another classic hit, Rain which could not have come at a better time when Nairobi experienced rain after a long dry spell.

Coco, the eldest of the three who has a grandchild poked fun at a couple who had earlier on proposed live on stage.

"I heard someone proposed here this evening. You are getting into a whole lot of trouble," she said.

The girls' serenading vocals were a reminder that all is not lost for soul music lovers.

The Valentines themed night got even better when Blackstreet came on stage to dish out red roses to ladies who attended the show.

That gesture fired up the show by quartet of Chauncey Black, Dave Hollister, Mark Middleton and Terrel Philips.

The four rocked the house with pure display of energy with amazingly original renditions of their hits including Don't Leave Me as the crowd sang and danced along.

Then they brought in Money Can't Buy Me Love that had an air of paradox given that the many couples dancing next to the stage had to part with a whooping Sh25,000 per ticket for the night.

Out of this Sh1,000 went to a famine relief fund.

Their depth, passion, and substance that made this group top the charts throughout the nineties were best manifested in their rendition of No Diggity.

But credit went to the youthful section of the crowd who seemed at ease with the songs and effortlessly sang along just like the older generation of soul music lovers.

It showed just how versatile and dynamic the so-called generation-X is that they will go for any good music, age notwithstanding.

By bringing the two American greats on the same night, KICC made the night worth every dime paid, including a five-course dinner by Sarova Hotels.

But the show started a slightly late, with SWV hitting the stage around 11.30pm. The show was supposed to have started an hour and half earlier and with performances by Kenyan curtain-raisers.

Some members of SWV also seemed to be affected by the huge amounts of  smokescreens on stage.

According to records, SWV that was formed in early 1990's by close friends of Coco, Lelee and Tamara and had sold 25 million copies of music by 2015.

"I met some fine men by the name of Sauti Sol and I wanna say I love them so much," announced Coco at the beginning of the show hinting at a possible future collaboration with Kenya's most sensational music group.

Blackstreet's Black said they were happy to perform in Kenya and that the show had rekindled their resolve to continue creating new music.

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