King of Lingala Shuts it Down in Nairobi

Despite high temperatures that hit the city on Sunday afternoon, thousands of people thronged the streets of Nairobi for the 11th edition of Koroga Festival. Kenya’s Koroga Festival (a Swahili term meaning “mix’) is a bi-monthly festival with a mellifluous difference. It is one of Kenya’s largest and most popular music festivals that happens every year.

Most of other African festivals feature stars performing American-influenced commercial music. But Koroga’s mission is clear: it firmly supports the immense diversity of traditional African music styles. Many of these genres are under threat of extinction due to the dominance of Western popular music on eastern Africa’s radio waves.

For more than five years, Koroga Festival singularity has drawn hundreds of visitors – both local and international and this year they reminded us why they are a force to be reckoned with by inviting Congolese singer Koffi Olomide who made a grand return to Nairobi in a memorable afternoon at a heavily-packed concert. After an absence spanning over five years, the soukous singer, dancer, music producer and composer Antoine Christophe Agbepa Mumba, a.k.a Koffi Olomide and his music are still relevant to Kenya.

A close observation through the revellers revealed that all age groups were present (a contradiction to the assumption that Soukous is endearing to only the elderly).

Also present were a couple of public figures such as Sauti Sol, Annabelle Anyango just to name a few.
Local artistes like Wyre curtain- raised for Olomide. While ‘The Love Child’ breathed life into the audience, the air hereafter became filled with animated impatience for the Congolese Lingala icon to get on stage. Instead his usual sexy skimpily-dressed queen dancers reached first and “warmed” the stage by wiggling to high tempo Lingala tracks.

At exactly 5:30pm, 60-year-old Olomide got on stage and showcased his dance skills that made his music videos a beauty to watch. This inspired wild cheers from the audience. He opened his performance with Andrada (commonly referred as Malembe) a song that got folk onto their feet to shake their bones.
The France–based artiste endlessly thanked Kenyans for the love they have showered him since his music gained popularity in the country.