Carnivore was all decked out on Saturday night in readiness for the concert that would launch Atemi Oyungu’s second album Manzili. An intimate set up met guests who trickled in as early as 6.30 pm at the Simba Saloon, where neo soul and RnB blended perfectly throughout the night.
First on stage was Anto Neosoul, whose set was unfortunately cut short because of time constraints-but he certainly made the most of his fifteen minutes.
Nigerian singer Praiz was up next, and there is no denying the fact that he can carry a tune and then some. Best known for his collaboration with Bez, Stupid Song (which the crowd absolutely loved), the John Legend comparisons are immediate when he starts crooning. Performing songs from his upcoming debut album, such as Rich and Famous, I Love You and Can’t Let Go, Praiz ventured off stage and gave a few audience members a personal serenade and left quite a few ladies swooning.
The lady of the night took to the stage thereafter, backed up by an amazing band, including Aaron Rimbui on piano and a very impressive violinist who lent an amazing sound to the entire performance. Atemi, in a flowing African print dress and bright yellow accessories, kicked off her powerful performance with one of her more popular songs, Speechless. Her performance throughout the night was interspersed with anecdotes that had the crowd in stitches, and she had her audience enthralled all through.
From declaring love for her city in Nairobi, the quintessential love song Usijali (which features Sauti Sol’s Delvin Mudigi), to the Motown sounding Work It, Manzili the album has a diverse range of sound, soulfully delivered by Ms. Oyungu whose vocals as always were in superb form. Atemi’s back up singer was wonderful as well, and gave a beautiful birthday serenade to actress Mumbi Kaigwa who was moved to tears.
At one point Eric Wainana got on stage to join Atemi for their song Imenibamba much to the crowd’s delight, and the final performance was the acoustic version of her hit Happy, which is certain to become a favorite for many on the album. To wind up the night, Atemi performed a rendition of Harry Kimani’s Waithera, dedicating it to her manager Peter Nduati as a thank you. Praiz then got on stage and replaced the ‘Waithera’ with ‘Atemi’, and their onstage chemistry made many in the crowd wonder just how true the dating rumours between the two are. All in all, a successful and very entertaining evening.
Manzili, which means ‘state of life’ is on sale now.