Who is Suzan Kerunen? Nairobians seemed to be asking as they watched the Ugandan singer take the stage at the Thursday Nite Live gig Choices Pub and Restaurant on Baricho Road last week.
The African contemporary singer started her musical career back in 2006 when she released her debut album “Nimefika”.
This garnered her double nominations for KORA All Africa awards in The Best East African and African Artist 2008/9. Since then she has gone on to perform in the UK, Trinidad and Benin.
At the Thursday Nite Live gig, she launched her third and new album into the Kenyan market, Achera Achera.
She has been together with her band for eight years and what they put together as a unit was incredible. They blend reggae, jazz, and pop beats to give the largely Alur-inspired arrangement of Suzan’s songs into sounds that are easy to the ear.
Together with these were combined percussions from different regions of Uganda played by Hakim Kiwanuka. He played the Tamur (talking drums), Akogo (thumb piano), and Ndigidi (tube fiddle); brilliantly.
Suzan’s songs are mostly sang in Alur, a tribe from northern Uganda.
All her songs have a story behind them that inspired her to write them: an encounter with an HIV victim who told her of her struggles, words that her two-year-old daughter finds trouble pronouncing, folk tales she heard as a child among others.
The audience was also treated to a Spanish musical journey by Atahualpa Mejia (Nicaragua), Lucas Pez Mago (Spain) and Perrozompopo (Nicaragua). Their vibes were really exotic, and snap-your-fingers, slap-your-thigh, salsa-like feel to it.
They had stopped by the event for a brief exhibition as they promote their upcoming performances at Casablanca in Kilimani, and Kilifi later this month.