Fans of Rhumba and Ohangla music got an afternoon of their favourite hits from the best artistes of the two genres during the 28th edition of the Koroga Festival on Sunday afternoon at the Bomas of Kenya Auditorium.
Congolese crooners Mbilia Bel and Kanda Bongo Man were the star attractions on a chilly and rainy afternoon in Nairobi.
The venue of the two-day festival had been moved from the open grounds to the main auditorium on Sunday following heavy rains which rendered the planned venue unusable.
The bad weather however didn’t dampen the spirits of the visiting artistes and the their Kenyan fans.
Rhumba slowly trickled into the new set up venue from early afternoon as the revellers, who included veteran radio presenters ‘Uncle’ Fred Obachi Machoka and Leonard Mambo Mbotela, warmed up for the show.
In their long radio careers, both Machoka and Mbotela have been faithful ambassadors of Benga and Rhumba music in Kenya.
And just to set the right mood, Kenyan artistes Steve Kaya and Emma Jalamo – backed up by a live band, dancers and drummers – performed on stage for nearly an hour.
One aspect of the dancers of both artistes is the influence of Gengetone music. The dancers gyrated their hips and twerked, much to the enjoyment of the revellers.
Before the two final acts got on stage, fans were kept waiting for nearly 40 minutes with a DJ set which was not so well done.
Then the Cabinet Secretary for Culture and Sports, Amina Mohamed, got on stage to greet the fans. But all she got was a hostile reception from the fans who heckled and jeered her off the stage.
Mbilia Bel finally got on stage at 7:35pm for a 50-minute performance. Inspite of the sound system glitch she kept her fans on her feet with some of her favourites hits, including Nakei Nairobi.
Kanda Bongo Man, who last performed in Kenya in 1991, stepped on the stage at exactly 8:50pm.
He did not disappoint as he took his fans back in time with famous hits such as Monie, Muchana and Sweet Elizabeth.
The fans loved it as they twirled their waists, placed one foot forward and bit their index finger in that famous Soukous dance style of the 90s made famous by Kanda Bongo Man.
Despite the poor weather, last minute change of venue and sound issues, the show still lived up to its hype and the fans went home with a rhumba-like feeling in their hearts.