MTV Africa Music Award winner Amani (Cecilia Wairimu) launched her latest video, Kiboko Changu, Thursday night at an intimate party at Aqua Blu Lounge in Westlands, Nairobi. The video, featuring Ugandan super stars Radio and Weasel, also launches the lead single off her upcoming album.
The invite-only event hosted a gathering of the press, as well as friends and family of the singer and a few select fans. The event was sponsored by Hennessy, who provided complimentary drinks to the guests all night. Close friends, including Susan Wong and Tim Kamuzu Banda, toasted the singer and celebrated her success and longevity in the industry thus far. Her proud parents, Mr. and Mrs Ngoiri, pledged their support for their talented daughter and revealed to the crowd that Amani had been singing since the age of five, first using flowers in the garden as her microphones.
Amani personally greeted all her guest before taking the stage in a beautiful pink Afro-print mullet dress. Backed by the Kapuka band, she performed her earliest hits, from the smash hit Ninanoki (featuring Nameless, who attended the event in support), Tamani, Missing My Baby and Tonight. (I was secretly disappointed she didn’t perform my personal favorite Bad Boy-hopefully next time!) In the interludes between the performances, Amani revealed that her songs have always been like a personal journal, with Missing my Baby being the most personal song for her to date.
With her powerful vocals, Amani engaged the crowd throughout the performance, and even coerced this writer to get on stage and do an embarrassing jig! The culmination of the evening was the video reveal of Kiboko Changu, a catchy tune that is bound to be a radio hit. The video is produced by Ogopa Djs, the same record label Amani has been with since signing with them in 1999.
Amani was among the crop of Kenyan artists that popularised the Kapuka style and local music in general, and has had a successful career since her first single Tahidi in 2001. She has won three Kisima Music Awards, three Chaguo la Teeniez Awards, a Pearl of Africa Music Award, and as well as being the recipient of the MAMA award for Best Female Artist in 2009. Her debut album Tamani was released in 2006.
Here’s a sneak peek at her video from behind the scenes: