By Kennedy Nyavaya
Forget the harsh economic conditions in the country, a convincing Harare crowd turned up for Nigerian dancehall musician Patoranking’s gig on Friday night.
Harare International Conference Centre (HICC) once more served as a venue for a historic night of merrymaking for many after a considerably long time without hosting a music concert of a colossal magnitude.
One would be forgiven for thinking the event was reasonably priced or that many that pitched up had complimentary access, but that was not the case as people parted with fortunes to secure entrance.
Ultimately, the event had its highs and anti-climax moments.
The spirit of the late jazz icon Oliver Mtukudzi was reincarnated on the HICC stage following an emotional tribute performances from Winky D, Jah Prayzah and the main act Patoranking. Tuku, who died in January, is an apt example of what they mean when they say legends live forever. Jah Prayzah started it with Seiko, Winky followed up with Panorwadza Moyo and the Nigerian artiste proved true his claim that he loves and listens to local music when he slotted Mtukudzi’s Tozeza Baba into his performance, albeit mumbling through most of the native Shona lyrics. In the end, Tuku’s soul was appeased.
Since February many have only fantasised about watching Winky D and Gemma Griffith’s romance on the MuGarden video unfold live and on Friday night they were served.
Donned in matching black and gold outfits, the duo did not disappoint when they performed the mega hit. Many would pay again to hear Gemma’s pulsating voice especially dishing out lyrics from MuGarden.
Promoters behind the gig invested heavily on the event and it may have been a relief to see the gigantic auditorium packed. The view was definitely fulfilling for them, but having such a line-up supporting Patoranking and his band definitely costs a fortune. One can only wonder if they even managed to break even or make any profit, but it’s none of the revellers’ business. Hopefully,they will continue in this rough business and create more Kodak moments to ease the socio-economic tension stalking the nation.
For a foreign main act coming after local masters of live shows, Winky D and Jah Prayzah, Patoranking stood his ground. He lived up to his word that he was ready to “deliver a due pregnancy” when he staged a medley of hit songs in his vast discography.
With songs like Suh Different and Available, the 28-year-old singer kept fans on their toes despite making them guess lyrics of other unfamiliar songs. Visibly having a time of his life, Patoranking splashed US dollar notes to an unexpecting VIP crowd during the Follow Me duet with Jah Prayzah.
He may not have given the best act of the night, but bringing him back could be mean a windfall for a promoter as he ranks highly in the league of Nigerian chaps that have performed in Harare before. That said, he probably justified the cost for those who woke up yesterday wondering if attending the show was a sound economic decision.
Show promoters have many a time struggled to select good MCs for their events and Kayse Connect are no exception. At the peak of the event,one of the programme directors, Merciless, kept reminding the crowd of the troubles they had tried to elude back home. The mention and throwing of bread into the crowd came as a cold anti-climax for many.
The reception that Gemma received when she came on stage was not only approval that she has become a force of reckon, but proof that the thousands inside HICC yearned for female voices that promoters did not consider in the line-up.
Those behind such big gigs may need to look into the abundant female talent in Zimbabwe and at least feature some of them. They are definitely not bad if Gemma’s appeal can be used as an example.