It was a hot Saturday afternoon throughout most parts of Nairobi, no less Jamhuri Park, where the Coke Studio sessions would be taking place. Film Studios was relatively packed and the crowd was characterized by young party-loving individuals that were so full of life; at least I choose to believe that ‘life’ is what had these youngins so happy (*grins away*).

It was the typical crowd for any hype event; there were the anti-social bourgeois looking guys that were constantly glued to their smartphones before the performances, the more comfortable ones that went about socializing with everyone (to the passive-aggressive distaste of the anti-social), and those that looked like they had just walked out of their last exam and had no idea what was going on but were happy to be there nonetheless. Additionally, the ladies were very beautiful but the ratio of dudes to chicks was overwhelmingly in favour of the guys; there’s a common name for this phenomena but I’ll refrain from using it lest I receive a stern talking to from my editor.

Hint: it’s a festival, but the sort of festival that would be held in JKUAT.

However, there was one thing in common from this crowd; they were all buzzing with the anticipation of seeing a performance by Nigerian megastar Olamide and Mozambican beauty Neyma. So was I; there I was seated calmly, trying to be cooler than a polar bear’s toenails but coming off as a pretentious human being (story of my life), when I got my ‘Press Access’ badge. It was showtime, and I had barely made a friend (remember that story about my life?); I had to live through this awesome moment alone, but it had to happen. I moved.

(Olamide at Coke Studio season 2)

The stars are everything you’d imagine them to be. Olamide was sharply dressed as always but hardly spoke to anybody; he kept to himself a lot and only responded to instructions, the kind of cool guy we all wish we could be. His performance with Neyma, however, was a stark contrast of pure and explosive energy; and Neyma, oh my Lord. At 36 years old she exemplified the saying that ‘black don’t crack’; she looked so stunning that for a moment my body felt like it was in rigamortis with my soul having temporarily detached from it. Additionally, she danced so beautifully and she was so bubbly. She was so nice to everyone, so goofy, and she blended in so well that she would have passed as a member of the audience; I mean, she would stand out by a mile but a member of the audience nonetheless.

(Neyma with Phyno at last season’s Coke Studio)

As a unit, the two of them had beautiful chemistry; the kind of ‘Notorious BIG Lil Kim’ chemistry that the world so dearly misses and needs in equal measure. Olamide’s Yoruba inspired rhymes were done with so much intensity, and her voice sounded melodic. I may have talked so much about her looks but they take nothing away from how she sings. Having worked with Kenya’s own Musyoka, they did two mash ups which sounded truly and beautifully African and will no doubt set out to achieve the intended intention of Coke Studio season 3; to showcase Africa’s musical talent on a continental level.

I’m looking forward to more sessions. So far, however, Coke Studio is already a contender for its best ever season and one of the best ever African talent shows.

Article by: Doug L Fresh

Musical enthusiast who thinks Andre 3000 is king.