“Nairobi is like home for me. I have done shows in Nairobi, Mombasa, Nakuru, Kisumu; but I have never performed with a live band. It is finally happening this Sunday at the Koroga Festival!” the Bongo Flava superstar said earlier in the week, promising a super show for Sunday’s all-ages festival.
The fans and festivalgoers definitely were not disappointed. Sunday’s much-anticipated performances by Atemi, Kidum and headlining act – Alikiba – went off without a hitch! Blue skies and sunny weather set the tone for record-breaking crowds to descend on Nairobi’s Arboretum.
DJ Andre set the afternoon in motion with his energetic mixes, whilst Atemi’s soulful performance delighted the crowds – easing festivalgoers into a dancing mood. Fans who haven’t seen Burundian crooner Kidum live in concert in a while, jumped to their feet the moment the laidback musician walked-up on stage in black sweats and a cane. The crowd swelled and swayed in unison as they danced. The audience cheered in recognition during the opening notes of nearly every song, even singing along to many of them. As Kidum’s set was finishing, the anticipation for Koroga Festival’s headlining act, Alikiba, was palpable.
Tanazanian superstar Alikiba took the stage a few minutes past 5 o’clock in the afternoon in a long grey tshirt and backed by a full band. He’s a captivating singer and performer with little accompaniment – full of romantic inflections and heartfelt emotion – but on this afternoon he was in vintage showman mode, amplifying his routine with energetic dancers and even a “Hulk” moment where he ripped off his shirt to screaming fans.
If you missed the Koroga Festival, here are some beautiful photos by Nairobi-based photographer Paul Munene that capture the spectacular afternoon!