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Free the hungry

By | October 23rd 2009

By Caroline Nyanga

The stage was set as the expectant crowd from all walks of life waited with bated breath. The forested Bomas of Kenya was filled to the rafters as top acts rocked during the Free The Hungry Billion concert to mark the World Food Day.

And the event came at the time when many Kenyans are in dire need of food to save a starving nation due to drought. The show almost reminded us of the 1984 Michael Jackson inspired Heal The World during the Ethiopian famine. Several similar events were held in many parts of the world supported by Actionaid.

The musician line-up included award-winning Africa stars from East Africa, West Africa, Southern Africa and Central Africa. They included Oliver Mtukudzi, Nameless, Wahu, Prof Jay, AY, Kidum, Suzzana Owiyo, Neema N’talel, Ntsiki Mazwai, Didier Awadi and Carlou D, among others.

Revellers arrived as early as 2:30pm for the event which was meant to kick-off at 4pm. On arrival each fan was given a black or red T-shirt with the theme of the event.

The venue was a hive of activity as sound technicians among them, producer Ennovator, begun putting the final touches. The stage was well lit with state-of-the-art lighting and speakers.

The MC of the event, Chris Kirwa soon started the show by thanking everyone for being part of the solution and also urged them to spread the word when it comes to ending poverty.

Soon he introduced the first artiste on stage: Kora award winner Neema N’talel. Dressed in a flowing white African dress, she sang her heart out. Fans nodded their heads to her tunes that included a rendition of Bob Marley’s No Woman No Cry. Her songs were mostly in English and Swahili. After her performance, each of her band members showcased their skills and this became the routine for all the other bands that came on stage. From guitar, violin, saxophone, keyboard, drums, tumba, fans got a taste of each insturment.

Kenyan-based Burundian artiste, Kidum, was next. He hyped up the crowd with his songs in Swahili, Kirundi, English spiced up with a tinge of Lingala. He sang, played drums and did press-ups and summersaults to the delight of fans.

"Wakenya mpo?" shouted Prof Jay as he stepped up. He was later joined by his Bongo flava compatriot AY. They sang Zali Ya Mentali, Sivyo Ndivyo, and Nikusaidieje.

As soon as Prof Jay left stage, Wahu was on with two beauties from Eclipse dancers. Dressed in a sexy black silk top with matching trouser she belt out Liar, Kibow Wow, Lonely, Sitishiki, Sweet Love and Little Things You Do, her collabo with Uganda’s Bobi Wine.

Senegalese rapper Didier Awadi nearly stole the show with his nonstop French, English and Senegalese rhymes. His song, Zamina drove the crowd wild.

South African diva Ntsiki Mazwai sauntered on stage singing emotional and poetic lyrics in SiZulu.

As the graceful singer exited the stage, the latest king of African music, Nameless took the centre stage. The double MTV Africa Music winner was in the mood. Without wasting time he made sure we Karibiad him, before he Kamatad and Nokishad us by taking all on a Holiday trip, on his Salary using a Megarider. He then gave them some Juju that made them Sinzia only to wake up and realise that he has a different Sunshine which he performed with upcoming artiste Habida.

Then followed Senegalese Carlou D who did some magic with his unique combination of voice and guitar. Finally, the grandmaster of African music Oliver "Tuku" Mtukudzi was on stage and thrilled with monster hit Todii among others — bringing the colourful event to a close.

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