Alpha Blondy (born Seydou Koné; 1 January 1953 in Dimbokro, Ivory Coast) reggae singer and international recording artist last night arrived in Kigali Rwanda for a music festival.
Many of his songs are politically and socially motivated, and are mainly sung in his native language of Dioula, French and in English, though he occasionally uses other languages, for example, Arabic or Hebrew.
Unlike previous editions that have always been scheduled over the weekend (Friday-Sunday), this year’s KigaliUp music festival kicks off Thursday, July 26, at Amahoro National Stadium and runs till Sunday, July 28.
This time organisers opted for the Amahoro National Stadium, away from last year’s venue, the IPRC Kicukiro playground according to New Times Rwanda.
Like last year, the most anticipated performer this year is the globe-trotting Ivorian reggae icon Alpha Blondy, who will be holding his maiden musical performance in Rwanda.
Blondy was drafted into this year’s line-up of performers to make up for his no-show last year, and it’s perhaps the best reward from organisers to those that had hoped to catch a glimpse of the artist last year.
Blondy is the most high profile among the performers lined up. In a career spanning over 35 years, he has released 17 studio albums and toured in all corners of the world.
Other foreign names at the concert are; Ugandan traditional folk musician Annet Nandujja, who will perform with her The Planets band, German singer Kenny Wesley, who will perform with his three piece live band, Joey Blake, a US performing artiste and associate professor of music at the Berkeley College of Music in the US, Scottish singer Lulu, and American rock band Third Eye.
Local acts lined up include Andy Bumuntu, Danny Nanone, Active, Phionah Mbabazi, Alyn Sano, and Jodi Phibi, among others.
According to organisers, entrance is Rwf5,000 per festival day, with free entrance for the second day, July 27.
Additional reporting by New Times