Congolese singer Mbilia Bel back in Kenya after 16 years

Congolese songbird Mbilia Bel

Celebrated Congolese singer Mbilia Bel was expected in the country on Monday for major concerts in Nairobi and Kisumu. The songstress will be accompanied by her her 19-member band Afrisa International.

Mbilia, whose Kenyan tour has been pegged on her hit song Nakei Nairobi (I am going to Nairobi) which she sang with Tabu Ley in the mid-1980s, will stage a concert on Friday night (June 30) at Meladen Club in Upper Hill, Nairobi, before proceeding to Victoria Club in Kisumu on July 7.

The event aims to celebrate the 57th anniversary of DRC's independence courtesy of Melamani Promotions and Longwa Disco. During the show, Mbilia will team up with fellow Congolese and Nairobi-based singer Le General Defao to relive their past collaboration by performing their earlier duet, Copinage.

Kenyan taste

To grace the occasion will be Kenyan stars Kenge Kenge Orutu System, known for their traditional instruments. With advance tickets pegged at Sh1,500 and Sh2,000, revellers from all walks of life are expected to throng the occasion to watch one of their music idols perform.

"This is one event you cannot afford to miss," an excited Mbilia said on phone. My fans will not only be entertained but will also have the opportunity to catch up with my latest dances," she said.

Prior to her show Mbilia Bel and her entourage will on Thursday visit Lang'ata Women's Prison for motivational talks to the inmates, besides donating foodstuffs and clothes.

Stunning beauty

"I can't wait to meet the women. For obvious reasons they hold a special place in my heart and that is the reason I make it a point to interact with inmates wherever I go," she says.

Mbilia's combination of stunning beauty, mellow voice, and tremendous agility on stage, stole the hearts of music fans around the continent along with her songs like Nadina, Eswi Yo Wapi, Paka Wewe, Beyanga, Ibeba and Boya Ye together with Tabu Ley and his Afrisa band in the 1980s.

[Caroline Nyang'a]