Well, the hype was all over social and main stream media as Johnnie Walter took over the sponsorship of the annual Jazz and Soul Safari which was initially under the stewardship and sponsorship of Nile Gold where it at run for 9 years.
The 10th edition that took place on Saturday was a massive milestone as well as a new beginning as the Scotch whiskey took over the sponsorship. And to celebrate all this, American jazz maestro Marcus Anderson and Kizomba sensation Yola Semedo were flown in from the states and Angola respectively to spice up things in the event meant for dance.
The weather turned gloomy earlier in the day but cleared as show time approached. Although the turn up was slow by 7:pm, the early bird revellers took off time to relax, mix and mingle as they sipped on their Johnnie Walker drinks that come in a variety of labels in the VIP lounges that were elegantly set up in both the the Gold and Platinum sections at Lugogo Cricket Oval.
As the stage was getting cold with no action and the audience growing bigger, Herbert Ssensamba got things rolling with some beautiful ballads and covers. By the time he embarked on a rendition of the popular Despacito, some sections of the crowd were already on their feet.
Then sooner after, guitar maestro Michael Ouma together with friends Michael Kitanda, Joseph Sax and Emma Dragu gave the event an African feel with some original compositions as well as covers. When Myko plucked the rhythm to Koffi Olomide’s ‘Selfie’ the crowd went wild. He mixed it with other Congolese tunes like Etra Musica’s ‘Etat Major’ and then Nigerian Davido’s ‘Aye’ that almost stole the show before show host and Walker Brand Ambassador Marcus Kwikiriza Johnnie restored order.
That was the moment that set things up for the main performance as American Marcus Anderson alongside his band took to the stage about a quarter past nine with an exhilarating moment of tender instrumentation and deep soulful expressions.
Having worked with Pop star Prince before, Marcus also dedicated some time to do tribute songs of the late that rocked the audience to the core as they sang along to some of the popular songs like “Purple Rain”. The audience at the Gold section were more lively at this stage as some even jumped on stage to dance with Marcus and he kept inviting more to join.
With this year’s edition themed “Wear your dancing shoes”, many of the revellers indeed turned up with their dancing shoes specifically for Yola Semedo famed for the ‘Zikomba’ dance. Most had come to learn and try out the new intimate dance moves while a few others who were already familiar with the Angolan dance, came to show off.
And as soon as Yola took to stage at about 11:00Pm, complete with her band, the mood was all dance, dance and more dance. Many of the fans had to get closer to the stage to dance at the open space while some even joined on stage just like they did with Marcus Anderson.
And to climax the evening’s proceedings, she had to come down and join the rest of the revellers in the Platinum section who kept recording the moments on their phones as they danced away the week’s stress.