Last weekend the city was a beehive of activity as various concerts and gigs went down. STEVENS MUENDO attended the glitterati party of African Movie Awards aAcademy nominations and the jam-packed P Square concert
The P Square duo of Paul and Peter Okoye had jetted in with pledges of setting Nairobi on showbiz fire. P-Unit had vowed to bring the house down and give the visitors a run for their money. Both groups have no love lost between them since P Square won the coveted MTV award for the Best Group for the third consecutive year — an award P Unit was angling for to break the twins dominance at the awards — in a glittering ceremony held last year at Eko Hotel, Victoria Island in Lagos. Nairobi was now a perfect frontier to settle the score.
P Square on stage
During the Mamas, P-Unit was heartbroken when American hip-hop star Eve — former Ruff Ryders First Lady— announced that P Square had carried the day and were not even in attendance. P-Unit returned home empty handed while the crowd had to contend with a pre-recorded clip of the twins P-Square thanking their fans.
P Square on stage
That was not the only combat. J Martins, the unsung hero behind P Square’s hit song E no Easy. Madtraxx, the self-proclaimed super producer and emcee, were to face off.
Donning dungaree-like outfit, prolific emcee Shaffie Weru had been paired with controversial designer and singer Kaz Lucas as the emcees of the night. Theirs was an unlikely chemistry.
And with ecstatic crowds streaming in their hundreds even an ignorant showbiz rookie could predict that the atmosphere was ripe for a mega showdown.
At the VVIP, US Ambassador, Michael Ranneberger and an unidentified friend sat under tight security of 20 men. But sometimes after 10pm, they were joined by a group of Nigerian stars among them Ramsey Nouah, Rita Dominic and the diminutive Chinedu Ikedieze aka Aki.
There was hardly a free seat at the VIP tent by 10.30pm. At the back stage, dance troops and other curtain risers could be heard perfecting their act.
Security was tight with over100 Radar Security guards and plain-cloth police officers swarming the grounds.
It was the most sought after ticket in town. After all, an array of the much-adored Nigerian celebrities were gracing the occasion.
First, there was the Sh10,000 entrance fee to the Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) gala at Ole Sereni, which only a few could afford. But with about Sh2,000 to spare for a ticket to the Carnivore concert, the rest of Nairobi opted to wait for the Saturday show to catch P Square and J Martins.
The group of Nigeria film makers, actors, actresses and musicians had hit town as early as Thursday with Nairobi fun lovers warming up for the fascination popularly associated with Nigerian celebrities. A glamorous pre-party cocktail Juliani
ceremony hosted at Vineyard, Westlands, had stirred the excitement and throughout Thursday night, Westlands’ electric street was a buzz with activity with nightclubs promoting the Naija agenda.
Earlier in the night, paparazzi found themselves shuttling from party to party with more back-to-back events lined-up in the city.
That night at Galileos, Linda Muthama and the Altimate Band had wooed the media to a lively album listening party, thanks to Postbank who had sponsored the occasion.
With her hit songs such as Want It, Harambee and Sitaki, the songstress entertained the crowd. Occasionally, she’d break to humour laced interludes. On this night, Walter Mong’are, the Altimate Band boss was not the regular Nyambane you are used to. His charm and wit had been transferred to the keyboard and drums, which he played with immense zeal.
"It has been a long music journey. My Imajination album is an assortment of my music cut from different genres and made to suit all generations," an overjoyed Linda told journalists.
"Most of the songs are written out of my life experiences, moments of pain and joy. They are a reflection of myself," she added.
Away from Linda’s event, up at Metta Metta Art, gospel hip-hop star Juliani was also hosting the media to his Pulpit kwa Street listening party. Notably present was multi-millionaire investor Jimnah Mbaru who termed Juliani’s hip-hop style as ‘one of a kind’. Linda Muthama
His newly released single, Bahasha ya Ocampo stood out as a masterpiece and his guests were all praises for his artistry.
Back at Carnivore, the carnival mood transcended into ecstasy after P Square and their entourage arrived shortly after 11pm. At the time Madtraxx was turning the masses into a frenzy as he belted down to his Poa and Get Down chartbusters.
P Unit did not disappoint. With finesse, they displayed magnificent stage skills with an energetic presentation of their Hapa Kule and runway hit Kare to which the crowd joined them in chorus.
"It’s been three years since we were in Nairobi…We are back to show you love…" Paul implored as he emerged from the semi-illuminated podium amidst an obsessive iconic applause.
At the background, a remixed version of their Do Me hit was playing.
"P Square is here. We are here for you, our fans. We don’t do VIP," Peter said as the sensational duo accelerated through the podium waving greetings to their astounded fans.
And with Temptation jig, in split seconds, the award-winning group brought the arena into life with renditions of their popular numbers among them Senorita, No one like You, I love You, Roll It, Girl of my Dream, Ifunanya and their new single Put your hands Up.
J Martins had charmed the pack with his romance-laced ballads So Fly, Good and Bad and Oyoyo but his was nothing close to P Square’s star act.
"It was a great show and everything went according to plan. We are looking forward to even greater days," said Ike, a Kenyan-based Nigerian promoter who played a major role in putting the show together.
Mercurial MartinsAfter raising the roof during a concert in Nairobi, Nigeria’s mellow-voiced singer-cum-producer Martins Okey Justice aka J Martins — the man behind the success of many top stars — talks to STEVENS MUENDO about his slow but steady rise to the top
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