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Werrason to launch album, dance troupe at Nairobi’s ‘Handshake’ show

Saturday December 21 2019

Congolese musician Werrason

Congolese musician Werrason, real name Noel Ngiama Makanda, performs at the Koroga Festival in Nairobi on May 13, 2018. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

AMOS NGAIRA
By AMOS NGAIRA
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Congolese musician Werrason is coming to Nairobi on Thursday, with a promise of another big treat for Lingala music fans.

His show, dubbed Handshake Rhumba, is scheduled for the New Year’s Eve at the Bomas of Kenya, coming hot on the heels of the electrifying performance by Congolese greats Kanda Bongo Man and M’bilia Bel early this month.

Werrason is expected to be the highlight of the ‘Handshake’ show, one of several lined up for revellers in the capital city and other parts of the country.

The flamboyant singer and dancer, whose real name is Noel Ngiama Makanda, will be returning to Kenya just over a year since his last performance during the Koroga Festival held in May last year. It was during that tour that his former singer Ferre Gola also performed, but at a different event in Nairobi.

Ferre joined Werrason’s Wenge Musica Maison Mere in 1997, then left to work with Koffi Olomide, before going solo in 2004.

SENSATIONAL GUITARIST

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The star attraction at Werrason’s show is billed to be the sensational guitarist Sarah Kabedi Solo.

Sarah has become a darling of fans, especially for her alluring renditions of the rhythms of popular legends like Franco Luambo Makiadi, Flamme Kapaya and Japonais.

Promoter Jules Nsana of Nsana Promotions says that fans, most of whom have seen video clips of Sarah’s guitar wizardry on social media, who requested that Werrason bring her along.

Werrason is expected to launch his latest album, Formudable, at the ‘Handshake’ show.

Formudable is an addition to his rich discography, which includes 7 Jours De La Semaine, Flèche Ingeta, Techno Malewa, Kibuisa Mpimpa (Opération Dragon) and the evergreen Sololá Bien hit.

Speaking to the Nation on the phone, Werrason said he was delighted to have been invited to perform in Kenya again.

“I assure my Nairobi fans of the best of my music with new beats and dance styles,” he said.

A new-look Wenge Musica dance group will also be unveiled.

MAJOR TOUR

Werrason's last major tour of Kenya was in 2016 when he performed in Nairobi and Kisumu.

He was a member of the original Wenge Musica band, which split in late 1997, with JB Mpiana, who was the long -serving president of the original Wenge Musica band leading Wenge Musica BCBG.

Notably, "Kalayi Boeing" , one of the most popular songs ever produced by the original Wenge Musica, was composed by Werrason. The song is a mixture of Lingala and Mmbala (Werrason's native dialect from Bandundu Province of Democratic Republic of Congo).

The group broke up soon after a tour to Kenya in late 1997. On their return to Kinshasa, Werrason remained with Adolph Dominquez and Didier Masela, while Mpiana held onto others, including Blaise Bula, Alain Mpela.

Like Werrason, Mpiana is making a steady comeback to live performances. With most former members of their Wenge Musica bands now based in Europe, the two band leaders have gone for up-and-coming local talent.

Werrason's flamboyance on stage stems from his interest in martial arts during his younger days.

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