Battlelines drawn Nigerian pop sensation D’Banj (centre) is whisked away by security details soon after arrival at the Harare International Airport yesterday afternoon
Nigerian pop sensation D’Banj (centre) is whisked away by security details soon after arrival at the Harare International Airport yesterday afternoon

Nigerian pop sensation D’Banj (centre) is whisked away by security details soon after arrival at the Harare International Airport yesterday afternoon

Sydney Kawadza
IT’S that time of the year when Delta Beverages, through its Lion Lager brand, unleashes the Summer Beer Festival.
Touted as one of the best musical extravaganzas held in Harare in a calendar year dominated by such shows as Hifa, the Lion Lager Summer Beer Festival has risen to become one of Zimbabwe’s premier shows.
Today’s show featuring Nigerian superstar D’Banj and Bebe Cool from Uganda and Zimbabwean dancehall artistes Winky D, King Shaddy and Guspy Warrior will add a local flavour to the festival which is now in its fifth edition.

However, the question among most revellers is whether the foreign acts will live up to their billing. Launched in 2009, the festival has seen various international artistes performing in Harare.

It has been a long journey from the time organisers battled to contain the crowd when the festival hosted Jamaican artiste Beenie Man leading to the intervention of the ZRP.

The festival continued to bring in international artistes but a reggae tip with Fantan Mojah and Cocoa T.
The festival, however, reached its peak last year when the Nigerian duo of P-Square descended on the Glamis Arena for an unforgettable show.

The “Beautiful Onyinye” duo lived up to their billing and even the rains that pounded Harare a few hours before the show did not dumpen the spirits of people who travelled across Zimbabwe for this show.

Ably supported by local artistes including Winky D, Ammara Brown and Roki among a host of other artistes, the Lion Lager Summer Festival was incomparable to the previous show.

Everything on that day was cut to perfection.
From the car park to the entrances, no one had anything to complain about.The bars and catering services were out of this world and there was nothing like the long queues that had blighted the previous shows.

The stage set-up was brilliant and that could have motivated the artistes to give their best in that show.
Even when people had come to watch P-Square no one could begrudge the local artistes for coming to the party and laying a claim for recognition.

But today’s show could be a challenge judging by the hype that preceded the P-Square show.
Last year we had a duo who had stormed the entertainment business and had recorded with various American artistes including Ricky Ross and Akon.

Akon had rocked Zimbabwe and for P-Square to come against the backdrop of having signed for the Konvict Music label was a major draw card for music lovers.

Music from P-Square was everywhere – in the bars, commuter omnibuses, radio and television  – most of their songs had hit the country by storm.

However, some would argue that D’Banj and Bebe Cool are equally popular in Zimbabwe.
But are they popular enough to draw the crowd that was at Glamis Stadium last year?
What act do they bring to Zimbabwe to raise people’s expectations?

D’Banj is riding the crest of a wave that could be a major draw to Zimbabweans especially Hararians who would take every opportunity for a lifetime chance to be merry.

Bebe Cool has also enjoyed considerable airplay in Zimbabwe while his music is played in our clubs expectations remain high that he will live to his billing.

There is, however, a belief that the artistes from up there could face stiff competition from our local artistes.
Winky D, known locally as the Ninja President, has been rocking the country for the past five years with his support base growing by each release.

Currently riding high with his “Mafirakureva”, Winky D is set to take advantage of any flaws from D’Banj or Bebe Cool.
He has done it before outshining such international artists Elephant Man at the same venue.

He even had the audacity to dump a local promoter who did not meet his standards and that is how big the Ninja President has grown.
Guspy Warrior could unleash his “Seunononga” anthem while King Shaddy has matured as a performing artiste in Zimbabwe.

The challenge is with the visiting artistes who risk being outshone by the local dancehall artistes who have had time to prepare for this gig.
The Campus Nights have also given then enough “warm-up” to face the internationally acclaimed visitors.

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