Zahara rocks Kampala's Blankets and Wine

04:50 by Kaggwa Andrew
Blankets and Wine is by far Kampala’s most impressionable event – the type where people mostly show up for a statement.
Last Sunday, Uganda Museum’s Gardens once again hosted the event; the tenth episode of the do that has fast become one of Kampala’s must attend.
You see, impressing a Blankets and Wine audience is easy – you make them pay more than shs80,000, they buy their own drinks, food and spend the day listening to mostly cover artistes, you ice all this with a foreign artiste that 98% are going to learn about an hour before they get on stage – anti - knowing this artiste is the most artistic venture they will ever embark on and dda being artistic is cool.
Of course none of them will want to look out dated so they will google, try to pick interest in the music as well as get the lyrics in that one day…yes, some people can dearly want!
South Africa’s Zahara was the perfect bait.
It wasn’t any different, of course the socialites had their best dresses and phones ready to snap and inform their followers that A-Pass, K!Mera and Solome are on stage, while them on the other hand are having fun tweeting about having fun at Blankets and Wine!
So what’s Blankets and Wine about?
This is one question you don’t want to ask if you want to pay for the future editions – the event is not about anything, it neither sets out to promote music or art and nor does it set out to introduce a wine culture!
Like seriously, this is the only wine event where there’s no wine tasting and beer is sold at a discount.
You would imagine that if they are not willing to take care of the wine, they should take care of the performances!
Seriously if people are paying shs80,000 for an event, they shouldn’t be fed on cheap cover songs and even the artistes that are programmed should be briefed on what the event sets out to do.
Blankets and Wine, unlike Bayimba, has an audience that doesn’t know what to love or hate – they love Zahara because it’s cool to say or tweet about being her fan and loathe local staff because the DJ tells them to.
Thus, as an artiste, you must work your ass off to simply get them off their shisha tubes, and it’s this little homework that neither A-Pass, K!Mera, Solome or Lillian Mbabazi didn’t get right – the entire Sunday show only started when Weasel joined the former Blu3 vocalist for their Vitamin collaboration.
Zahara too had a great time on that stage, thanks to FOMO, the gardens were full, which was good for photography, but in actual sense, the inspirational singer was indeed performing to a clique of less than 70 people that crammed the stage, and you can imagine half of these were South Africans.
Clad in her signature floral dresses, big hair and a guitar the artist and song writer got a section of picnic enthusiasts feed on songs in zulu and xhosa.
They sang and danced with her as others kept asking what her claim to fame was; in an emotional tone she celebrated her Phedula album by doing songs like Impilo, Indlela Yam and Okwami Ngokwakho among others.
But it was Destiny, Ndiza, Umuthwalo, Loliwe and Phedula that indeed mesmerized her audience cry, sing and wave.
Unlike the performers before her, Zahara did her best to connect with her audience engaging them on things like which songs she would perform next – of course many kept requesting for Loliwe but she kept it for the middle of the show.
When she finally played that acoustic intro of it, all the uninterested wine tasters and art buffs got to their feet to dance, and phones to either record or tweet about the moment; of course Zahara is immaculate while performing this song.
Legend says the song was inspired by her grandfather that took a train to Johannesburg to look for work and never came back. In fact Loliwe is Zulu for train.
In the times of apartheid, there was a train that took or brought workers back home after many years away working in Johannesburg, where they often had other families. Others would die there leaving kids that had never met them.
According to the artist, the song is like metaphor; “It’s like… just pick yourself up. No matter who’s your mother or father…I believe you’re not a mistake.”
When she performs it, almost everything doesn’t matter to her – maybe call it her hallelujah moment on the stage, she closes her eyes and at that time it’s just her, the guitar and the music.
She ended her set with Mandela and Phendula to give way for a DJ. And just like that, Bulelwa Mkutukana alias Zahara had left an impression on not only genuine music lovers but also artists that were part of the audience.

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