In 2006 I had gone to see famous and reggae legendary, the late Lucky Dube performing in Pan African Dance Festival, FESPAD at Amahoro stadium. The way he danced, sang and cheered up the crowd inexplicably moved me to an extent that I found myself dancing along, something that I wouldn’t normally easily do. His sudden departure left a big hole, and inevitably his legacy will always live on. It was not just Dube’s music that made him loved the world over. His enthusiasm, his energy on stage and the way he went for hours and hours doing a non -stop live concert leaving the fans purely exhausted as a result of trying to dance along, really worked me.
When I entered Serena Hotel at Mani Martin’s Intero y’Amahoro album launch, I was flabbergasted by the way the Serena Hall was packed to full capacity, with some struggling to get a clear view of the stage where the singer would be appearing. I was also thinking that this was one of those other concerts that are hyped by the media and sponsors to give to an otherwise lackluster performance an extra polish that it really doesn’t deserve. I was in for a big shock.
When he finally made his way to the stage, I suddenly saw a change of aura in the room, from the minister to the public to the doormen at the entrance, everyone stood up, but not because of his stardom I guessed. It was rather something extraordinary in his powerful voice that echoed throughout the packed auditorium that made everyone want to sing and dance along. For many years, I experienced a concert full of life and joviality. After just three songs in his first appearance I suddenly felt some Goosebumps. His occupation on stage, his movements, combined with an extra finesse in dancing gives you an admiration for the star who a few years ago was only a little known figure in gospel music. My mind instantaneously flashed back at Lucky Dube.
Even the MC’s had a hard time trying to contain the crowd that hadn’t had enough of him, insisting he remains on stage throughout the night. I would predict a dominance of Mani Martin in Afro-music and RnB, if he keeps up the trend that has shot him to fame; one important aspect in showbiz that has eluded so many upcoming musicians who can’t maintain their celebrity status for far too long – humility. Mani Martin remains so humble about his achievements. Watching him mingling freely with the press, the public and everyone present after the concert, you would not believe it is the same Martin who has to his name a lucrative advertisement deal with the country’s largest mobile telecommunication network MTN. Kudos to him!