It is not so often in Uganda that we get the chance to see three music legends share the same stage to honour another departed legend. But last night Isaiah Katumwa defied the odds when he managed to not only successfully bring Manu Dibango to Kampala, but also put up a splendid master-class act alongside the Cameroonian legend and Afrigo band’s Moses Matovu.
Moses Matovu who was the surprise act joined the duo on stage to do a piece for fallen South African father of Jazz Hugh Masekela in whose memory the event was organised.
The three combined to bring down the roof at Kampala Serena Hotel as Ugandans joined the rest of the world to commemorate the International Jazz Day.
Paris-based Manu Dibango who has 60 years experience in the Jazz industry, had already wowed the crowd with a cameo appearance when he joined Isaiah Katumwa to do another special piece in honour of the fallen South African jazz maestro and trumpeter. There combination of created a variety of harmonies that fluidly rhymed like they have done this together for years sending the crowd on their feet as they applauded.
It all started when Katumwa, arguably Uganda’s greatest ever Jazz artiste, stepped on stage at 8:07 pm to kick-start the Johnnie Walker-sponsored event he organised in memory of his fallen friend Hugh Masekela who succumbed to prostate cancer earlier this year at the age of 78.
Dressed in black jeans, a blue long-sleeved shirt with diamond decorations and accessories to match his saxophone Katumwa majestically walked on stage at 8:07 pm to join his band to the tune of ‘New day’ he explained is to symbolise a new beginning without Masekela whom he dearly held in high esteem.
He then performed a new composition ‘Gendi’ (I am fine) off his upcoming album, ‘Izzy’, ‘This is me’, ‘Coming home’, ‘What is love’ before things got a bit emotional as he performed ‘Mama Africa’ a piece he worked on with the late South African last year.
He was then joined by multiple award-winning South African Afro-soul songstress Siphokazi Maraqana to add some vocal flavours to the already rich soul-melting tune and he did not disappoint as guitarist Charmant Mushaga spiced it up with his ‘talking guitar’
At this point, Katumwa took a break to give Siphokazi a chance to showcase what she got and gleefully did so with her story-telling style that impressed the guests. Her strong gospel messages in her music kept piercing through the silent crowd who followed attentively as they nodded.
Katumwa then returned for his second session with songs like ‘Welcome’ ‘Pamoja’, ‘All year summer’, ‘Pole pole’ and ‘Sunrise’ that got the crowd dancing before concluding with ‘The visit’ and welcoming Dibango with the Masekela tribute song.
By this time the crowd already happy with what they saw only enjoyed the remainder of the great trumpeter’s performances as a bonus. The icing on the cake came through the sweet melodies belted by his backup singers Valerie and Isabel whose fusion of Afro-Caribbean rhythms was not only smooth to the ear but also provided a lovely danceable harmony.
Silk Events famed for outdoor events did a commendable job on stage, lighting and sound in an indoor setting with a classy decor for the VIP guests. The event then ended a few minutes to midnight with the three legends all on the same stage bidding farewell to a very satisfied looking crowd who had turned up in big numbers.