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How Kampala fell in love with Joss Stone

When her concert first made rounds on social media amidst the festive season, it was hard imagining that British vocalist and one time Grammy Award winner and five time nominee Joss Stone would shake the city.

For instance, she has not been a mainstream artiste since her very successful 2007 album Introducing Joss Stone, this was after winning Best RnB Performance by Group or Duo for Family Affairs in the same year.

After that, she went on to venture into acting and appeared in productions like Eragon, Tudors and Tomorrow among others, she even ventured in what many consider as world music collaborating with acts like Nneka from Nigeria and Angelique Kidjo from Benin.

In 2015, she was in the media for interesting reasons, after her reggae album Water For Your Soul was named the biggest reggae album of the year and the second largest selling of all time – an announcement that didn’t go down well with different Jamaican natives and artistes.

Not even explanations that the album was partly produced by Damien Marley helped things.

However, as Joss Stone was being announced for a performance at Design Hub in the Industrial Area, the issue wasn’t about her reggae album, in fact what many were thinking about was whether there were Joss Stone fans in Uganda.

Even the choice for Design Hub as a venue was too a sign that the organizers were not planning for a crowd overflow – and they were wrong.

Apparently, at least 800 Joss Stone tickets had been sold online by Monday (two days to the Thursday concert), and on the D-day, people started filling the venue at 5pm (two hours to the 7pm kick off).

By the time the only curtain raiser of the night Apio Moro took to the stage at 7:30pm, people were still lining up to access the venue.

Mostly an expatriate audience, it wasn’t a night one would argue people came to celebrate Joss Stone, many were not sure of who she is and even those that knew about her were not familiar with the big part of her repertoire.

But it was one where they allowed to fall in love with her immerse talent; draping in maroon dress, she loves adorning microphones with scarfs and it was no that different on Thursday – with only an acoustic guitar, peddle and a Mac book, the 30 year old made it to the African fabric back backdrop of a stage.

“Oh my God, I didn’t believe you were going to come,” she said with vivid surprise before getting into song immediately.

Since Sabina Ddumba in December, this was the second highly rated show that was totally acoustic and people seemed to welcome it, but unlike the later, Joss Stone had one hell of a guitarist who worked well with his laptop to create effects good enough not to make us miss her band.

For many that have followed her music, its Tell Me What We’re Gonna Do, that come to mind before any other song, though on Thursday she taught many songs and went on to make them sing along.

With songs like Stuck on You, I Put a Spell on You, Son of a Preacher man and of course the powerful cover of Aretha Franklin’s Natural Woman, she announced herself to many that had no idea of who she was.

Organized by the East African Records, the Ugandan concert was part of Joss Stone’s Every Country in the World tour that has been going for almost the past four years.

About Kaggwa Andrew

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