Imagine the sound of vibrant drums reverberating in a ballroom. The soulful strumming of a guitar and the professional pianist manipulating his keys. Imagine this accompanied by two beautiful African women with voices so sweet you actually envy their power of song. Then you can imagine the atmosphere in the Victoria ballroom of Serena Hotel on the 29th of October.
The Milege Jazz band was expected to entertain the audience with gentle afro-jazz that they would nod their heads to in appreciation. They took it one step further by singing and playing music that is meant to be heartily danced to. They partnered with Uganda Heritage Roots who provided the traditional dancers, celebrating Uganda by playing music dedicated to Tororo, Mbale, and the West Nile. Celebrating Africa with a special tribute to Rwanda which saw the Rwandese in the audience running to the front to hug the performers and the rest of the audience erupting in thunderous applause.
The hall was completely packed with, surprisingly, mainly the young corporate members of Uganda, and when the band begun to dance and sing the traditional Muganda dance, these young corporate officers simply could not help themselves. Equally talented spectators rushed to the front to dance with the performers, creating for ten minutes, a festive and party like atmosphere. Those of us with less skill simply stood up and wiggled our hips in fervent appreciation!
After this little episode, the show was truly on the road. The band assured the audience that they were about to be treated to “finger-snapping jazz” and were told to start snapping. The ballroom then had the extra instruments of hundreds of snapping fingers which merged surprisingly well with the rest of the performance.
With elections being round the corner, the band did not forget to remind us that music is a little bit like politics. They had a responsibility to their “office” and their “constituents” to render services paid for. The reference was not lost on the crowd who laughed in understanding. The band then recognized the presence of our very own kickboxing champion, Golola Moses and the audience was overcome by national pride, clapping and ululating for a full five minutes.
Judging by the number of people that kept creeping up to the stage to line the pockets of the band members with personal gratitude, one can almost assume they left with a tidy retirement package.
Two and half sweet, but too short hours later, the band performed their last two songs where the audience rushed to the front and danced away.
Milege Jazz band and Uganda Heritage Roots delivered what they had promised. Pure funk, pure style, pure jazz and pure entertainment.
Find out more information at www.milege.org.
By Lindsey Kukunda