The Russian Center in Lusaka hosted a WASALA (WORDS ACOUSTIC SOUND AND LIVE ACAPPELLA) concert on the 1st of December 2013 to commemorate Word Aids Day and it was as intimate and up-close as it gets. The first of its kind, participants mingled freely with guests who were treated to acoustic music, poems and acappella music in an ambient setting whose theme was getting to zero infections and fighting HIV/AIDS in December and beyond.
More than 10 performers took to the stage to either sing, say a poem but three received a standing ovation. The best of them was Joyful Ken, a folk singer who lives once used to perform for tips in the street till one of the Russian Center workers discovered him. His story is inspiring. He started singing in Monze when he grew up and came to Lusaka, guitar in hand with the hope of singing for a living. He is so good that he was asked to perform twice, on both occasions commanding such attention from the crowd that they clapped along to his songs. He sung about loving your neighbour as you love yourself, mixing vernacular with well pronounced English as he plucked the strings while his thumb made a beat on the guitar board in perfect song.
Another was Ariel, a Zambian singer who did a piece he wrote for his mother called ‘Woman’ over guitar. The song is going to be a single from his debut album he is working on with Abel Chungu and Code14. The album will be called ‘Songs Of Love: Hope and deliverance. Stephanie, a Russian visiting Zambia, also stole the show with two songs sung in Russian, the latter being a dedication to Russian World War Fallen Heroes.
H-man who was also the dj, stunned the crowd when he picked up the guitar and did a piece in Russian titled ‘There is a thin line between the past the future, and that line is Life’, melody and pitch all flawless. Code 14 are vocal group who usually back Mag44 on his shows. They had the crowd swaying with their acappella rendition of ‘Silent Night’, sending out a festive season feeling on the first day of the last month in the year, a month that signals giving and togetherness as Christmas draws closer.
The whole show was heart-warming, with several participants delivering thought provoking poems in line with the theme of the show. It begun at 14 hours and in what seemed like a little time, was over at 17 after which people mingled with each other and took photos and got to know each other.