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Music, dance lights up President William Ruto's inauguration

 President Ruto swearing in at Kasarani on September 13th, 2022[Boniface Okendo, Standard]

Patriotic songs and popular religious numbers - both blended - oozed an environment of a brand new start at President William Ruto's inauguration ceremony in Nairobi.

Here at the Kasarani National Stadium, veteran bands like the celebrated Maroon Commandos band and new talents entertained in a rather colourful ceremony attended by thousands of Kenyans and followed by millions, in the country and across the borders.

And for a youthful country almost turning 60, the incoming of a 55-year-old president pronounced a new dawn especially to expectant and change clamoring youth who form 35 million of its 47 million population. From the youthful performances, a departure from previous entertainment formations during related national ceremonies to the creative aura that ruled the choreographed dances and other presentations, the organisers did not disappoint as music and song rented the air.

It was a sense of nation pride as all joined the Maroon Commandos, the main acts of the day, whose perforce of popular iconic songs such as the patriotic Kenya Taifa Letu, Harambee Harambee and Amka Kumekucha brought at the 60,000 capacity fully filled stadium. As early as 8am, the band had already started its performance that was interrupted by short deejay interludes - mostly featuring gospel numbers.

Ahead of the ceremony, the Permanent Presidential Music Commission (PPMC), which is tasked with coordinating music and dance activities, released a list of the performers of the day.

The entertainers were a diverse group, from legendary pop and RnB acts, to gospel singers keen to lead attendees in a worship session as well as trendy new stars.

Comedians Chipukeezy and Mugithi singer Ngaruiya Junior took the attendees through the entertainment schedule of the day.

"The entertainment program brings together a group of artistes that have been drawn out of all regions of Kenya. Today they will sing six songs, and the first song is all about prayer, entitled Uskiaye Maombi," Chipukeezy said ahead of the first performance.

"Wimbo huu ni wa kushukuru Mwenyezi Mungu kwa kujibu maombi yetu."

The first performer of the day, gospel act Florence Mureithi, sang Uskiaye Maombi alongside backup singers dressed in vibrant blue and yellow African print outfits.

Dressed in white, Mureithi led the audience in the slow, soulful worship song.

"Usikiaye maombi/ Ujibuye kwa moto/ Bwana, u mwaminifu," the chorus of the song goes.

Following the Christian song, singer Guardian Angel took to the stage, and the performers on stage picked up their pace, performing choreography as the trumpet tune played on.

"The second song is about Kenya. It is meant to celebrate Kenyans for their hard work, resilience and calls for all Kenyans to unite together," Chipukeezy described the track.

A hyper Guardian angel sang:

"Akina mama hoyee/ akina baba hoyee/ wananchi wote viongozi wote, tushikane mikono tuijenge Kenya."

It was a performance that stressed living and working together in unity and peace as a country for the development of the nation.

Choreographers in white then dominated the performance, showcasing their rhythmic style with energetic moves that poked at the public to get into a jolly, dancing mood.

Next, Sanaipei Tande, Nadia Mukami and Bridget Blue graced the stage, singing their song Furahia Leo with a demonstration of great vocal control and range, especially in the high-pressure set- up that the live performance was.

"Tufurahie pamoja, tusherehekee," the trio sang, "Leo ni shangwe na nderemo."

Tande is known for her sultry RnB flow and has remained a force to be reckoned with in Kenya's entertainment scene.

Her career spans over 15 years, and fans have enjoyed songs like Najuta, Mfalme Wa Mapenzi and Chaguo La Moyo over the years by the starlet.

Young singer Bridget Blue has also been listed as a performer. Starting her career as an internet sensation, the 21-year-old has stolen hearts with her splendid voice and musical capabilities.

Nadia is celebrated for major tracks that have taken over the airwaves, including Radio Love, Maombi, Lola and Si Rahisi.

After the feel-good Furahia Leo track, Ruth Matete took on her turn on the microphone, her soulful voice singing out the prayerful lyrics for a track which celebrates our country, our patriotism, and our leadership.

There were electric performances by Solomon Mkubwa, Pitson, Betty Bayo, Fred Omondi, Annastacia Mukabwa, Douglas Otiso and Mugai Wa Njoroge.

"Mahali tumetoka, na mahali tumefika, twamshukuru Mungu," Solomon Mkubwa sang, as co-performers continued with the thanksgiving track showcased with intense drum beats and electric guitar notes.

"I started to sing gospel songs because I wanted to evangelise. I wanted to reach souls through music," singer Fred Omondi said in an August interview.

One of the final acts of the afternoon was the popular Tanzanian group, Zabron choir. Their adored song Mkono Wa Bwana had attendees, dignitaries included, up on their feet and dancing.

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