Food, beer, art, music: Here’s the stuff that makes KigaliUp rock

Friday July 19 2013

Habib Koite from Mali and his band perform at Kigali Up on July 13, 2013. Photo/Cyril Ndegeya

Habib Koite from Mali and his band perform at Kigali Up on July 13, 2013. Photo/Cyril Ndegeya Nation Media Group

By Edmund Kagire Rwanda Today

If you missed it, you missed out. Count your losses for missing the 2013 KigaliUp Music Festival.

The third edition of the annual musical and art festival took place last Saturday at Amahoro National Stadium. This time round it was better organised and well attended.

Two stages were set up outside the stadium providing music lovers with alternatives to choose from. Both stages featured live performances from different artistes who included international ones such as Joey Blake from the US, Tony Osanah from Argentina; and Habib Koite and Bamada from Mali.

Also performing was Maia Van Lekow from Kenya, Joey Blake, Canada-based Rwandan musician Nicole Musoni and Lion Story from Burundi who took turns to entertain the audiences.

Local stars such as Jay Polly, Gaby, Shanel, Makanyaga, Ikobe, Safa Papy John, Dreamboys, Rafiki, Riderman, Albert Rudatsiburwa, Impala, Babu, Ras Kayaga, Dr Claude, Blessed Sisters, Nubian Gypsies, Patrick Nyamitali, Strong Voice and Sophie Nzayisenga had their chance to impress.

The artistes took to the stage to display their skills in a live performance.

Even upcoming musicians such as Ricky Password proved that they have what it takes while Spoken Word members such as Eric One Key also participated.

Comedy Knights also took time off to thrill the audience.

Tony Osanah stood out for his guitar skills. The Brazil-based guitar maestro played for all local artistes who performed including Makanyaga.

Gaby Kamanzi also proved that on such festivals, gospel has its place. Habib Koite and Bamada brought the house down while Maia put up a good performance.

According to Mighty Popo Murigande, the organiser, the festival has become popular and it is beginning to attract international coverage.

As part of its trademark, KigaliUp strictly considers live music as its key pillar. If the turnout is anything to go by, then that has paid off.

Diverse audience

From tourists to locals, the audience was diverse and, as it turns out, one of the major objectives of the festival is to bring people from all walks of life together.

There were lots of food with the Meze Fresh and Skoll stalls offering a variety of food choices to pick from. Beer and soft drinks were in supply with each ticket entitling you to one beer and a soda. Other restaurants also had stalls and made huge sales.

There were art stalls too with arts and crafts particularly Rwandan ones as well as T-shirts emblazoned with ‘Rwanda’ and its features such as the national parks.

“This festival has showed me what the real Rwanda is. I am here for a few weeks volunteering but I had not had an opportunity to venture out and experience real fun. Such festivals can actually help foreigners do away with the stereotypes they come with about Rwanda,” said Mya Xiang, a Chinese educationist.

According to Mighty Popo, next year’s KigaliUp festival will be bigger and better especially now that it has attracted big sponsors.