Sheraton Hotel Kampala has hosted many events this year but one has definitely stood out. Not because of the attendance, but because of the kind of event that it was.
It was the Fête de la Musique’s Sentire perfume concert on Wednesday where people came to enjoy classical and jazz music and sip on some wine that was served at the entrance.
Then Kampala Symphony Orchestra came on stage at around 8pm and with Fredrick Kiggundu on the piano; Duncan Katimba on the cello; Mark Langa on the clarinet; and Jonathan Beggs, Racheal Ellis and Petterson Wasswa on the violin. They played several classical pieces, such as Sonata in A major for Violin and Piano by César Franck, which is considered one of the finest sonatas for violin and piano ever written.
Suzan Kerunen, the director of Pearl Rhythm Foundation, briefly took to the stage, before the main act Laurent Assoulen, introduced his perfume-enhanced solo piano performance.
The French jazz composer and pianist merged piano music with scents. Ushers passed out blotters sprayed with different perfumes to accompany the pieces of music he had composed for each scent.
“I composed each piece of music based on vibration of specific raw materials,” explained Assoulen.
“I then shared the creation and inspiration with three Master Perfumers: Anne Flipo, Napoleon Bastos and Carlos Benaïm, who in turn interpreted and translated these sensations into perfume.”
Throughout his performance, ushers distributed five different olfactory strips with a different essence created for each piece. The five perfumes corresponded to five essential fragrance families – woody, floral, citrus, fruity and oriental – and each corresponded with a piece of music that Assoulen played on the piano.
The concert continued until after 10pm, by which point most of the audience was saturated with wine and perfume, and the evening concluded with people discussing their unique experience over a final glass in the Sheraton Hotel lobby outside the Rwenzori ballroom.