He caressed his guitar with a delicate poise and romanced it with everlasting affection that, the soothing rhythms that emanated from the finely-tuned solo machine took the adoring fans into a journey of romance and colourful paradise.
At one moment he gave his machine a smoother touch when he used his lips and tongue to carefully pick the strings in a carefully arranged order that brought the screams to deafening decibels from the ever charged crowd who had deferred the cold weather to come and feel and enjoy their star.
We are talking about Ugandan-based Congolese, multi talented guitar maestro and vocalist Charmant Mushaga, who on Thursday decided to have an up and close moment with his friends and fans at Kampala’s premium night club Guvnor in industrial area. The cosy evening was worthwhile for all present.
Charmant commonly known as ‘Shalma’ came to Uganda as a young refugee but his talent in music especially his guitar skills elevated his status very fast where he found a new home at Watoto Church in Kampala. He has since discovered himself and built his own brand that has seen him develop a unique style of music where he blends Afro-jazz, Afro- soul and elements of rumba and Congolese Soukous to form a rich sound.
His moment on Thursday night was hugely successful; one because he had the full support of his fans who turned up in big numbers despite the odd weekend day and two because he put up a master class act on stage that left even the hardest of hearts melted in ewe.
Picking from a collection of some of his old pieces and a few from his upcoming album ‘African Love’, the maestro had a package of 20 songs carefully lined-up for the evening’s presentation that kicked off at around 7.30pm. He was supported by an equally gifted and powerful ensemble of instrumentalists led by David Pragmo and backup singers doing the live band.
Dressed in a white West African fabric shirt decorated with floral prints, Charmant took the crowd into dreamland with his tantalising compositions that oscillated between smooth Afro-Jazz and high tempo Congolese Soukous. Some danced and sang along, while some decided to just ‘swallow it in’ from the comforts of their seats.
He performed songs like Full moons ‘Whisper’, ‘Black and White’, ‘In Africa’, ‘Mutoto Lala’, ‘Nipe story’, ‘Adonde Ire’ (where he was joined by the sultry Naava Grey), Wapi yo, Smile, Afropenzi and where I’m with you before taking a break to give out CD’s of his new Album (to be officially released soon) to four lucky winners.
“I am very grateful to all of you for turning up in big numbers. I don’t even have words to express my happiness” He said.
When he resumed the performances, with ‘Secret’, ‘My village’ and ‘Paradise’, his friend Chris Weigers joined him on stage for an acoustic session before doing the gospel song ‘Bado bado’. When the MC of the night Elijah Kitaka announced time was almost up, the moment of the then night arrived when another guitar maestro and personal friend Myko Ouma joined on stage. What followed cannot be described by word with a magical combination of talented fingers producing hysteria inducing bliss of sound that send shock waves to the spine.
They sang, joked and even ‘talked’ to each other using their guitars with the fans occasionally joining with the vocal support. This, I must admit also caught me off guard. The remaining minutes were for high tempo with many taking to the dance floor before the show which was sponsored by SMSONE, FEZAH, RadioOne, JazzFm closed at 11.00pm.