“Mugamba mutya, muli bulungi?” he said. He has been advertised to perform in Uganda twice before, yet on all these two times, Chris Martin did not really perform. In 2012, he had been coupled up with Mavado another Jamaican but they never turned up for some reasons and in 2015, he was supposed to perform at Freedom City, apparently the show was poorly handled and the artiste did not make it to the venue even when he had jetted in earlier.
The third time round at Lugogo Cricket Oval on Friday, he seemed to be sure of those organizing the show and was willing to do all it took to see that ghosts from the past could be Ugandan shows were totally exorcised.
He stepped on stage with only twenty minutes to midnight, the time most Ugandan shows in Kampala are supposed to end; all smiles, he was here for business, he dived into music – a clean cut band, a vocalist he is, Chris wanted to give Ugandans something worth their money.
But he couldn’t believe his eyes, the sea of people cheering him, he got overwhelmed and almost broke down various times, probably reminiscing the two past aborted shows. He did not want to be a jukebox just producing music without life, he tried to engage by laughing with his audience. And they returned the love.
Chris Martin is famous for a number of songs among Ugandans, from ‘Mi Friend Dem’, ‘Paper Loving’ to ‘Cheaters Prayer’, there were many boxes for music lovers to tick, for those that enjoy English folk artiste ‘Passenger’ had their moment when he did the cover of ‘Let Her Go’.
But the night was just a culmination of an activation that have seen the famed Bell Jamz Allstar Tour go to different parts of the country with artistes such as Vinka, Fefe Busi, Winnie Nwagi and Nina Rose.
Of course, this being the finale of it all, alongside Sheebah and Kent and Flosso came together to create something memorable; Swangz Avenue outdid themselves with the production of the show, for instance the Kenneth Mugabi collaboration with Fefe Busi on Naki was out of the box and so was Fik Fameica’s session with rappers Byg Ben and The Mith.
It was seeing how many local artistes are willing to push themselves on lives sets, they did the rehearsals and many were willing to go an extra mile even when the sound failed them a number of times. D-Major, the other headliner of the day had a lot of energy but probably let down by a fact that the audience did not many of his songs, but he later got them to sing along to ‘That’s What’s Love is About’, probably many had no idea he did the song in the first place.
The show ended at half past midnight, then, Chris Martin had been on stage for fifty minutes, he got to prove to Ugandans why he is a ‘Big Deal’, a song many in the were waiting for.
Since he had rehearsed his Luganda as much, he did not forget to say “Mukama Akume.”