Last bank holiday Monday-27th August 2012, I attended the Africa Unplugged Concert expecting to see a great show… and it certainly did not disappoint.
The aim of the organizers was to host the biggest African concert and bring together the biggest African gathering ever in Europe. Well it was certainly well hyped to do achieve that aim. There were nearly 20 acts billed to perform from all over Africa, and it was all in support of two key African charities, Save the Congo and War Child.
The host of the night was Congolese born, UK-based star comedian Eddie Kadi, who got things off to a flying start with his stereotypical African phrases and mannerisms that are very funny yet very familiar, and he got the party started with an impromptu performance of his own, with the help of two dancers.
New Nigerian RnB sensation Iyanya then continued the rhythmic tribal dancing, at one point whipping off his shirt while gyrating in rhythm with his female dancers.
The most authentic, perhaps stereotypically African artist was Madtraxx from Kenya whose music was accentuated by melodic drumming. The music then seemed to switch from Africa to the Caribbean as Zimbabwean artist Winky D belted out some Jamaican riddim-type music.
Cabi Snoop from Angola was up next, and he won over many in the crowd with his high energy and crazy dance moves. Next up, Zakes Bantwini from South Africa brightened up the arena with his pink suit and smooth vocals.
It was then time for Ghana to represent-maestro rapper Sarkodie stepped up accompanied by DJ Mensah. He warmed up the crowd with one of his tracks, I believe it was “Dangerous”, before launching into his hit smash “U Go Kill Me”.
This was the one point of the night when everyone in the stadium got up to do “azonto” to his track. Afterwards, DJ Mensah smashed the place with other hit hiplife songs “The Ting” and “Muje Baja” along with popular Nigerian songs “Dami Duro” and “Oliver Twist”.
After that Ghana interlude came the only female vocals of the night, from Zahara (South Africa) who had a very smooth, relaxed set, though a bit too long.
The last-but-one performer was Nigerian veteran Tuface, who crooned a somewhat X-rated version of his hit song “African Queen”. Perhaps he was inspired by his antics backstage-a reliable source tells GhanaCelebrities.Com that they saw two indecently dressed girls coming out of his dressing room. He’s a newly wed right? Hmmm…
The night was rounded off by legendary Afrobeat king Fela Kuti’s son-Femi heading a half hour set. Those who were familiar with his music loved it, while for those who were not so familiar like me, it was a good initiation, though again too long.
Really and truly, the only negatives are the late start and how long some of the performances went on for, which is typical of most African events.
Also lack of the full Ghanaian representation as advertised can be counted towards the negatives. Ghanaian UK-based artist Mista Silva warmed up the crowd during the pre-concert preparation about an hour before the main event with azonto track “Bo Wonsem Ma Me”, but I was really looking forward to R2Bees, who were also billed to appear, and I was even thinking they may team up with Sarkodie to perform their track “Agyeeeiiii”… but alas, it was not to be.
Overall though, it was a great night with great vibes, and I look forward to the next one.