Back in the 80s I was suddenly exposed to the wonderful world of going to a live concert right here in Nairobi and dancing the night away. As a kid (I’m not even stating my age – you’ll sus out how many candles I’m blowing on my cake this year) it was great fun to make that long drive to Bomas of Kenya with my parents and siblings and other relatives and friends of the family. We’d be dressed in our best clothes and were going to enjoy an evening to the tunes of Alaap.
Now the family had a pretty close connection to Alaap because my Mum’s brother was the founder member and played the keyboards with Alaap right up to his death. So Mum would be really proud her brother was in town with the rest of the band members and make sure we were well behaved when they all came home to visit and have lunch.
Anyway, we’d go off to Bomas of Kenya and have a fabulous time and dance to Channi Singh’s melodious voice and beg him to keep going on and on until the audience could dance no more. Those were the days.
Last weekend Channi Singh, the lead singer of Alaap and his daughter Mona Singh were in the country and were accompanied by their dhol player Bobby. The event was held at Simba Union, which is a great venue, but such a HASSLE to get there at night. If you’re not used to driving around that side with all the road works going on you’re bound to get frustrated. There are no lights and hardly any signs; and if there are signs they’re invisible because of no lights! Thank goodness the folks at Simba Union had floodlit the entrance area so it wasn’t too bad.
The night kick started with East FM’s Gupz Saund unleashing his brand new single Kerre Velle and had the dance floor all pumped up. Then came the beautiful Mona Singh who wore a beautiful Chantilly lace and satin concoction. Her voice matches her beauty, no doubt and though the crowd was a bit slow they did warm up to her.
The Godfather of Bhangra was up next – the one and only Channi Singh and just as his name was merely mentioned the crowd went into a frenzy. He kick started off the evening with Teri Chunni De Sitare which was a track from Alaap’s very first album and it got me all nostalgic and teary as I thought of my Uncle who was in Alaap.
The rest of the night was spent dancing away and I observed something that seems to happen at so many gigs these days – instead of dancing away on the floor people stand right in front taking pictures and videoing the artiste with their mobile phones. By the way, I’m also guilty as charged but I did dance a lot! My feet will testify to that.
I must say the event was very well organised by Diamond Entertainment but I will complain about one thing only. When you have a VIP section at a gig like that it’s mean to cordon off the dance floor for the VIPs only. In my opinion the real fans are the ones who paid to stand at the back all night and dance wherever they are and not the ones who sit at the tables. Fortunately security was loosened and the crowd was allowed to come forth and dance the night away. So that was a good thing after all but in the future I wouldn’t like to be told that just because I paid Khs1000/- for my ticket I have to stay at the back.
In all, a fabulous night out dancing to the tunes I heard in my teens. I wouldn’t mind donning my heeled sandals again to groove the night away.