How times change! Four years ago the buzz that surrounded an Ernest Zamba, alias GNL Zamba, album launch or concert would be of epic proportions.
However, that script has changed as the ‘Baboon Forest’ boss gets set to launch his latest album this evening at Kati Kati gardens. Not much can be said about his show. Some argue that it is because the concert is being swallowed up by the numerous Easter performances all over the country.
But that is not an excuse one can give for a man of GNL’s stature. True, there were Luganda rappers before him, the likes of Bataka Clan, but this is the man responsible for ‘Luga flow’ as it is now called. This is the man who made rapping in Luganda a genre in demand.
This is the man who had his concerts bought at Shs 45m by promoter Balaamu Enterprises. And despite not being signed by any telecommunication company, went on to have MTN Uganda fully sponsor his ‘Kikankane’ concert which made full house at Kyadondo Rugby grounds.
From Koyi Koyi, Mr Right, Mwana wa Baaba, Ani Yalyamanyi, to Kikankane, GNL was received with the same applause from, corporate gigs, and Nakivubo stadium to the endless FM concerts. He made music which was loved both by the boda boda guy and the corporate CEO.
Though the success of Koyi Koyi, Dreaming in Colour, and Speaking in Vernacular made those albums the bombs, one can’t say the same with his Renaissance album. It doesn’t have that commercial or public interest appeal like the rest.
Recently, GNL was invited to perform at the Friday Night Lights basketball tournament at YMCA but the crowds were more focused on their drinks than on the man who calls himself ‘Mr Amazing.’ He had to switch to the old songs to get a little attention.
I had a chat with GNL at Club Silk during the Unplugged session of runaway Baboon Forest member ‘Mun G’ about his concert. I didn’t introduce myself I just asked as a fan. He was enthusiastic about the concert, arguing how it would be grand.
This evening he faces a task of living up to those words at the same venue where Mun G choked terribly last year. Does GNL Zamba’s magic wand that dropped those lyrically-rich songs still have the power to turn round an album that has struggled to have airplay?
Revellers will have to part with Shs 10,000 or Shs 30,000 to be part of the show.
Source : The Observer