Forget the trending battles for weekend dance party supremacy every Friday and Saturday as Ugandans dance in their living rooms thanks to broadcasters’ innovation to bring the nightclub to their viewers currently under lockdown.
On Sunday, May 10, the trending hashtag was #BobiWineOnlineShow, which at its peak had almost 30,000 people watching live on Facebook as Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine performed. This has been the biggest audience for an online concert in Uganda so far.
Staged in his Gayaza-Magere gardens with his colourfully lit up house offering the only backdrop, the People Power pressure group leader finally had his long-awaited concert. The only difference was that there were no ticket sales and no live crowd, but the self-proclaimed Ghetto president went to bed a satisfied artiste.
“Thank you very much for the love, ladies and gentlemen. Your online attendance was amazing (naye olulala mujja kusasula). We apologise for the glitches in our Internet but we promise you an uninterrupted version of the show on my YouTube channel by tomorrow,” Kyagulanyi told his more than 600,000 followers on Twitter.
Backed by Solid band and Nubian Li, with Sir Dan Magic doing audio production and Myko Ouma bringing his guitar skills, many agree that this has been the best online concert Uganda has witnessed during the Covid-19 lockdown.
The concert dubbed ‘Quarantine Special: Ensasagge Mu Nyumba’ featured the artiste-cum-politician’s songs in reggae, afrobeat, kadongokamu and raga, and even had time to pay tribute to fallen legends Mowzey Radio, Paul Job Kafeero and Philly Bongoley Lutaaya.
Wearing an all-black outfit only accentuated by red suspenders and matching bowtie, Bobi Wine left his fans on an adrenalin high as he sang Superwoman – a timely tribute to Mother’s Day, Bus Dunia – a tribute to Kafeero, Born in Africa (for Lutaaya), as well as his own including Mazzi Mawanvu, Size Yo, Singa, Abalungi Balumya, Sisimuka, Aidah, Ndi Munayuganda, Byekwaso and Carolina, whose traditional instruments and aesthetics made it one of the night’s favourites.
Of course the show that started at 9pm and lasted two hours would be incomplete had Bobi Wine not performed his more controversial hits including Kyarenga, and Kasukaali Keeko, as well as his several edutainment songs.
It was also the MP’s first show in more than two years; all his previous attempts to launch songs or stage a live concert have been controversially shut down by police, which could have explained the huge attention he received online when technology and a nationwide lockdown came to the rescue.
Some commenters even asked for a mobile money number to pay for the show, while others said the online show had even surpassed his live shows in organisation, production and class.
Jenifa Ochwo later tweeted: “Wow. What a show... I’d never attended a @HEBobiwine concert nor listened to him perform live bulungi. We should have paid.
Lights [check], sound [check], band [check], performance [check].”
Mark Keith Muhumuza a social media influencer tweeted: “Well done @HEBobiwine. Acoustics – clear. Lighting – clear. Music – clear. Everything – clear.”
Patrick Kanyomozi, the Uganda Sports Press Association president, tweeted about the show also watched by President Museveni’s publicist Don Wanyama: “Not the climax it deserved but that doesn’t take away the fact that it was a great show. Thank you @HEBobiwine and @NubianBukenAli for the extraordinary performance...”
Kanyomozi was possibly referring to the unsteady Internet towards the end, a problem other artistes streaming online have experienced too.
Artiste Bruno K wondered why no corporate companies advertised or sponsored the show, despite its big turnout. These online shows have become musicians’ lifeline during this pandemic and have great potential of changing the way future concerts and album launches are handled.
Other artistes including Jose Chameleone, Kenneth Mugabi and the Swangz Avenue stable have performed online during this lockdown, but Bobi Wine’s Sunday serving raised the bar due to his international fame and political undertones.
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