Lusaka has been stirring back to life in the last few months with a busy calendar of events in food, music, art, and sport. Two years on from the start of the pandemic, it seems everybody wants life to return to normal.
But normal seemed to be the furthest thing on stage at Ciela Resort last weekend when United States artists Bobby V and Rotimi wowed the crowd with their sing-along hits and commanding stage presence. Brought to the country through Kudu Crescent Entertainment, who already staged the successful Dru Hill concert earlier this year, the event also showcased local talent in Cleo Ice Queen, DJ Geshgroove, and VJeezy.
“If you don’t support local, you won’t be able to see somebody like Cleo on the world stage. We’re here because we were supported by our own where we come from,” said Rotimi at a press briefing before the show.
And so, VJeezy warmed up the steadily growing crowd with a mix of club bangers and dancefloor fillers. VJeezy, in recent years, has become a staple on the entertainment scene with his sets at private events as well as big entertainment venues. This was his second set with Kudu Crescent, having opened at the Dru Hill concert and he did not disappoint.
Cleo Ice Queen has become very comfortable in her skin and her stage presence continues to show signs of readiness for the international stage. Her ability on the night to have the crowd sing along back-to-back to her songs was good for Zambian music – that local can identify with local.
“You have to keep your head down and not let the criticism and praise get to your head,” was her statement earlier, when asked how she keeps grounded even with a new record deal with industry heavyweights Def Jam Records.
By the time DJ Geshgroove was playing his set, the crowd had swelled to a completely packed VVIP section – everyone there eager to see the main attraction. The veteran DJ worked the crowd in typical fashion with a blend of classics and new hits to set the stage for Bobby V.
The “Anonymous” hit maker didn’t waste time raising the roof with his energetic entrance, flirtation with the crowd – especially the women, who he handed out roses to – vocal range and all-round command of the stage. We were seeing an experienced artist who knew his way around a crowd, incorporating “Zambia” throughout his set and delivering one of the best international performances in Zambia in recent times.
Even as the crowd sang along to Bobby V, everybody knew there was more and this is where Kudu Crescent got it right for the night. Blending a well-known artist like Bobby V with new school, fresh talent in Rotimi, it showed how music is timeless but also current.
Rotimi’s afro-infused music certainly got the crowd dancing along. While he’s still honing and perfecting his stage presence, the Power star delivered a set that his loyal fans sang along to and for those unfamiliar with his music, this was a good opportunity to Shazam or dance to the rising star.
On a night where Lusaka stirred back to life with multiple events in the capital, Ciela Resort felt like a return to life as we knew it. People dancing, having a good time and enjoying stage performances that they have been starved of for two straight years of the pandemic.