Rema Namakula’s Bannyabo show last Friday at Serena hotel went down as a monumental success.
In filling up Victoria hall’s 1,500 seats at Shs 100,000 per ticket and Shs 3m for the 40 VIP tables, the show broke a record for a Ugandan artiste. My simple mathematics point to Shs 270m for the show!
Question is; was it down to Rema’s popularity or simply shrewd promotion by Musa Kavuma’s KT production?
For now, that is immaterial because it was a kill for everyone involved even though the dozens of fans who missed out may say otherwise. By 5pm, early birds who had planned to buy tickets at the venue were shocked when organisers advised them to buy tickets for Rema’s other shows at Freedom City and Satellite beach, Entebbe.
By 7pm, the crowd had grown and most could not believe that with their Shs 100,000 in cash, they could not access the venue.
I hadn’t witnessed a sold-out show since Zanie Brown’s October 2017 performance at the crammed Theatre La Bonita, where fans were locked out. It was understandable, given the venue’s limited space.
The first such sell-out was Chris Evan’s debut concert in March, 2012 at Club Obbligato. Even then, the show’s promoter underestimated his potential by pricing the tickets lowly.
But this was Shs 100,000, the kind Ugandans only pay for international acts. Indeed, Rema was eager to show the fans’ money’s worth a few minutes after 8pm when she hit the stage performing Fire Tonight. I
t was followed by Sitaki and Katonotono. That first of five segments set the trend for the rest of the show with a good blend of up-tempo and laidback songs. In-between breaks in which she changed into five different costumes, several artistes took to the stage to perform.
These included Eddy Kenzo and the Triplets Ghetto kids, Chris Evans, Mariam Ndagire, Ykee Benda and Rockies Cultural Troupe.
WORTH THE WAIT
A lot was expected from Rema, whose musical initiation was singing background vocals for Sambagala, a 2002 collabo between Bebe Cool and Halima Namakula, her mentor.
She has put together a body of work that showcased her wide vocal range in songs such as Lean On Me and Kaliba. She also did renditions of songs like Natural Woman and Falling before delving into a tribute session for the late Mowzey Radio.
She has since evolved to become one of the exciting talents and this show will go a long way in entrenching her among the best. By midnight when the show came to a close, there was a sense of satisfaction from Rema as well as the crowd.
The little girl who started singing in the school choirs of Kitante primary school and St Balikuddembe SS, Mukono can now look back with relish at her achievement.