Women’s Day means different things to different people; for many, it is their second Mothers’ Day, while for others, it is a day to celebrate strong women. For singer Ann Nassanga, alias Afrie, it is the day she took a major step as an artiste.
On Friday, as the world was basking in celebration of a woman, the soul Afro-fusion artiste was making her mark on a local scene that is yet to embrace what she does.
Titled Afriedom, the show was a testament of the artiste’s hardwork that has seen her perform at different gigs and festivals such as Pearl Rhythm, the Stage Coach activations, A Ka Dope and Doadoa, among others.
From all such places, she has made a legion of fans and thanks to her bubbly self, all these people keep following her wherever she goes — of course besides those performances, in 2017, she started something new, the Afrie-bytes — online concerts that people can watch for free on her social media sites every last Thursday of the month. It was not surprising that much of the audience even knew each other from somewhere.
With an artistic stage that remained minimalistic, probably because of the budget constraints, her name Afrie created the backdrop that was crafted out of bamboo, bits of wood and sunflowers.
The show’s theme colour from the posters she had released earlier had been yellow thus the sunflowers were easily predictable, but what threw the audience off since it was out of the box were the more than 100 yellow balloons that were spread on the ground they were meant to dance.
The balloons later defined the experience and engagement of both the artistes performing and the audience, especially when they went flying over Afrie’s head during her performance.
Afrie took to the stage at 8.30pm, after a performance by her collaborator, rapper and poet Gordons Mugoda, alias Wake. Clad in a sparkly metallic dress, she kicked it off with Yodi Yodi, a feel good fusion song that is better appreciated with its organic audio sound.
Afrie has presence and energy while performing; she will pause and tell a story that led to a certain song being written, throwing balloons back to the audience or solving riddles with them.
But as she sang, she made you feel the emotions of the song. An instrumentalist, Afrie was the opposite of Uganda’s mediocre mainstream scene that has given DJs and producers lots of power, she knew how and when to change the tone and tempo of her songs at will.
She performed Let Her Know, Askari as well as Go to School. She finished the show at 10:30pm after laughing, dancing and crying with her audience, but that was before her ballad Mulala, and the audience was not willing to take any of it.