When Rhumba met Ohangla beat at Koroga Festival – PHOTOS

Fans of Rhumba and Ohangla music got an afternoon of their favourite hits from the best artistes of the two genres during the 28th edition of the Koroga Festival on Sunday afternoon at the Bomas of Kenya Auditorium.

Congolese crooners Mbilia Bel and Kanda Bongo Man were the star attractions on a chilly and rainy afternoon in Nairobi.

The venue of the two-day festival had been moved from the open grounds to the main auditorium on Sunday following heavy rains which rendered the planned venue unusable.

Koroga Kanda 2 - When Rhumba met Ohangla beat at Koroga Festival – PHOTOS
Congolese singer Kanda Bongo Man , King of the Soukous dance rhythm on stage during the 28th edition of the Koroga Festival at the Bomas of Kenya on December 1, 2019. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU

The bad weather however didn’t dampen the spirits of the visiting artistes and the their Kenyan fans.

Rhumba slowly trickled into the new set up venue from early afternoon as the revellers, who included veteran radio presenters ‘Uncle’ Fred Obachi Machoka and Leonard Mambo Mbotela, warmed up for the show.

In their long radio careers, both Machoka and Mbotela have been faithful ambassadors of Benga and Rhumba music in Kenya.

Koroga Kanda 3 - When Rhumba met Ohangla beat at Koroga Festival – PHOTOS
Congolese songbird Mbilia Bel performs on stage during the 28th edition of the Koroga Festival at the Bomas of Kenya on December 1, 2019. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU

And just to set the right mood, Kenyan artistes Steve Kaya and Emma Jalamo – backed up by a live band, dancers and drummers – performed on stage for nearly an hour.

One aspect of the dancers of both artistes is the influence of Gengetone music. The dancers gyrated their hips and twerked, much to the enjoyment of the revellers.

Koroga Kanda 4 - When Rhumba met Ohangla beat at Koroga Festival – PHOTOS
A rhumba fan get her groove on during the 28th edition of the Koroga Festival at the Bomas of Kenya on December 1, 2019. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU

Before the two final acts got on stage, fans were kept waiting for nearly 40 minutes with a DJ set which was not so well done.

Then the Cabinet Secretary for Culture and Sports, Amina Mohamed, got on stage to greet the fans. But all she got was a hostile reception from the fans who heckled and jeered her off the stage.

Mbilia Bel finally got on stage at 7:35pm for a 50-minute performance. Inspite of the sound system glitch she kept her fans on her feet with some of her favourites hits, including Nakei Nairobi.

Koroga Kanda 5 - When Rhumba met Ohangla beat at Koroga Festival – PHOTOS
Dancers perform on stage during the 28th edition of the Koroga Festival at the Bomas of Kenya on December 1, 2019. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU

Kanda Bongo Man, who last performed in Kenya in 1991, stepped on the stage at exactly 8:50pm.

He did not disappoint as he took his fans back in time with famous hits such as Monie, Muchana and Sweet Elizabeth.

The fans loved it as they twirled their waists, placed one foot forward and bit their index finger in that famous Soukous dance style of the 90s made famous by Kanda Bongo Man.

Despite the poor weather, last minute change of venue and sound issues, the show still lived up to its hype and the fans went home with a rhumba-like feeling in their hearts.

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