Barefoot Nneka casts a spell on Nairobi

With only a lead and a bass guitarist to back her up, Nigerian singer Nneka Egbuna let her voice carry to the audience in an entertaining round of music on Saturday night. Using melody not too far from the original tracks, Nneka performed a special acoustic session of about eight of her hits songs from her latest two albums.

Nneka crept onto the stage with tie and dye pants, a grey t-shirt and a fading blue jean jacket. She shushed the crowds when they started to cheer her and immediately got down to business.

The 31-year-old made every effort to take away from herself and have fans focus on her music. She sang Shining Star, Do You Love Me Now, VIP, and My Home, among several others, after telling the crowd that she hoped they could “take in her message.”

Happy fans at Nneka concert
Her songs told stories of an African revolution, unrequited love, and an end to helplessness in the continent that made her.

The event was mostly without incident; a drunken man who removed his shirt on the front row was quickly coerced by others in the audience to put it back on and some revellers were forced to cling fast to their spots because it was a case of you move you lose.

A cool 30 minutes or so before the concert was due to officially begin at 8pm, the venue (Treehouse) was well on its way to being packed. The bars were jammed as revellers stocked up to limit their movement once the music began.

Dan Chizi performs
Crowds swiftly gathered at the foot of the stage, gazing at the lights and waiting for the opening act Dan Chizi Aceda to get the show on the road. And when he did, he entertained the audience just enough to make them like him and not resent him for taking up too much (of Nneka’s) time.

As always, his KBA number plate track got the crowd’s attention and they showed their appreciation by singing with him and laughing at the all the right moments.

When Nneka was done, chants from the crowd forced her to perform a last track – her very popular Heartbeat.

“That acoustic display was amazing. Nneka has an amazing voice. In fact, I think she should have more acoustic music on her albums,” said one concert-goer.

Nneka left Nairobi for Kigali on Sunday and ends a tour of the region in Zanzibar where she has a number of performances at the Sauti za Busara festival.

Government Spokesman Alfred Mutua attended the concert, as did TV show host Patricia Amira, musician Kaz, TV presenter Edith Kimani, saxophonist Chris Bittok, fashion designer Jeffrey Kimathi and director Wanuri Kahiu among others.

Designer Kimathi transfixed as Nneka sings

(Pictures courtesy of Paul Munene of Quaint Photography).

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