Capital FM (Nairobi)

25 June 2012

Kenya: DJ Cleo Turns Up the Heat in Nairobi

Photo: The Star
South Africa's Dj Cleo

Nairobi — The Fahrenheit Party took out the chill in Nairobi on Saturday night, in a star studded line-up that ended with a bang at the able hands of South Africa’s master of House Music, DJ Cleo.

Flanked by his four ‘Teddybears’, a masked hype-man and backed up by DJ Soul T, the Mister-T lookalike had the girls screaming within seconds of him getting on stage.

Deafening shrieks followed every time he said: “are there any ladies in the house?”With more than 11-years experience in the bag, DJ Cleo’s performance was explosive, superior and well worth the wait.

As is the custom for foreign musicians, the tall and buff DJ Cleo made the effort to learn some Swahili. He started his performance by helping to sing the first verse of the Kenyan national anthem, and after a few songs said: “Nataka msichana mrembo niende naye South Africa (I want a pretty girl that I can take with me to South Africa)”.

Later on he got a bit sneaky and edited the phrase, saying: “Nataka msichana mrembo niende naye hoteli”!

DJ Cleo and the hype-man sang ‘Ndihamba Nawe’ and ‘Side to Side’ before calling up the Teddybears, who performed their latest track ‘Happy Day’.  He joined them on stage for ‘Turn Around’ and ‘Follow Me’ but the crowd still wanted ‘Facebook’ and chanted for a solid minute before the DJ complied.

The choreography as the South Africans sang had the crowd aping them, some very unsuccessfully.

Organisers had tipped him to be on stage at 11pm, but he did not make it up there until two hours later. Fans craving South African house music were deprived of it until Cleo was about to be ushered in.

Festivities kicked off promptly at about 8.30pm with Code Red DJ Stylez – wearing slacks, shirt, bow-tie, sweater and a white Texas chainsaw massacre mask – ripped his decks apart with hit song after hit song, including a crowd thrilling Life History by ‘Jackiwa’.

Camp Mulla was first up, getting the crowd going with ‘Fresh All Day’ and ‘Party Don’t Stop’ among other chart-blowers. The elusive K’Cous was part of the crew whose members were mobbed by fans every time they moved between backstage and the cushy VIP area.

After a brief lull, filled in by radio presenter G-Money, Madtraxx was up next in a shirt, scarf and trench-coat – taking the ‘swag’ element up a notch. He was in the company of the equally talented rapper Meja, who was a welcome surprise for fans.

Just A Band went in third, adding the tempo to their songs ever so slightly. ‘Ha He’ and ‘Hey’ resonated well, and were the closest to house music that the crowd had heard all night.

Avant Garde PR’s head honcho Cherop Koech had promised a ‘production’ and not just a concert. This was evident in the lights on stage, detailed chronology of events and armed guards ensuring the property was well secured. The VIP section was neatly arranged on the right side of the massive marquee at the Ngong Race-course with black and white leather seats and puffs that were quickly filled up by local celebs and other fans.

Though piped to start on time at 7pm sharp, organisers waited for the crowd to start filling up before DJ Stylez took the mantle. There were one or two brief sound errors, and a lack of South African house music, but Avant Garde made sure Cleo got on stage before the murmurs about the music got too loud.

One thing that stood out during the concert is that DJ Cleo and the Teddybears are miles ahead of several Kenyan artistes in terms of putting on a performance. So what’s their secret?

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