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Maurice Kirya makes his mark at home

By Vision Reporter

Added 5th September 2011 08:00 PM

By Moses Serubiri

FRIDAY night at the Serena Conference Centre was a homecoming concert for Maurice Kirya, who has been globe trotting throughout last year having won the Radio France International Award, which took him touring parts of West Africa: Niger, The Gambia and Mali, plus parts of Europe.

For his first major concert in Uganda, Maurice appeared on stage looking like a rock star, the follow-spot picking up on him donned in black sunglasses and an army-inspired buttoned blazer.

The crowd, which nearly filled up Victoria Hall, the biggest at the conference centre, let out a shrill cheer like they were on cue. Then they ran towards the open arena before the stage, making it feel like an outdoor amphitheater concert.

Playing songs from his Misubbawa album, he paused midway and prompted: “How many people in the audience have the Misubbawa album?”, to which everyone screamed in assurance they had it.

Then he launched into I Will Sing with versions of the famous verse, “Leka leka nze ne’ngenda...”, styled into a more funky bass-induced groove.

It suitably changed the song’s mood into a celebration of his journey from the streets of Najjanankumbi to the world stage.

Maurice is one of the few Ugandan musicians who have written music inspired chiefly by Soul, which he refers to as Mwooyo.

His band, which comprised of Micheal Ouma, Roy Kasika and acclaimed bass player Sam, brought out the intimacy of jazz music. Its bravado shone through with drum solos especially on the track Wooye, which began with all the lights coming off, leaving only the disco ball illuminating bits of the hall in a rather romantic way.

The other highlight came with Kenyan singer Valerie Kimani joining Maurice in a rendition of Village Girl an R&B classic from the 1980’s. Clad in a yellow dress, Valerie’s soft but aching voice did it. There was roaring applause, going all the way into the set of Boda Boda, another well-known Maurice hit, introduced by a boda boda cyclist riding onto stage, turning the modern folktale into glaring reality.

All through the concert, there was a spirit of improvising, urging a unified state of liberation, which proved to be the most successful element at the concert.

The audience, awash in poetry, modern folktales and free improvised jazz music, felt a keen freedom while leaving the concert. After making it big for long abroad, Maurice Kirya, in a fundamental feat, finally proved his point at home. It was a real Maurice Kirya Experience.

Maurice Kirya makes his mark at home

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