Monday, July 09, 2007

Big show in Lobito

Most of my weekends in Lobito involve watching TV, going to the supermarkets, and cooking. That’s about it, unfortunately. This weekend was slightly more eventful, thankfully. At ShopRite I saw a poster advertising a show by Yola Semedo at a local restaurant at the tip of the peninsula. Yola Semedo is a big kizomba artist and happens to be from Benguela, so the event looked promising. I made plans with Juan, my boss and big kizomba fan, to go.

We had three options for tickets:

  1. US$130 for a table for 4 people, including a bottle of whiskey
  2. US$90 for just a table for 4 people
  3. Regular entry, at Kz. 1000 ($13) for the ladies and Kz. 1500 ($20) for gents. (Sorry, boys!)

We, of course, chose the cheaper option.

According to the restaurant, the show was to begin at 11 pm. We took this to mean midnight. We show up around 11:30, and the place is completely deserted and quiet- no music, no lights, nothing. At first we thought we had the wrong place. Finally, around midnight the DJ starts playing some music. The restaurant itself is very small, but had turned the surrounding beach area into a makeshift concert area. The perimeter was marked by a not-very-strong straw fence. Juan and I looked at the stage and suddenly realized that there is no band equipment, no mic set-up, so it looks like the show will be starting much later.

Around 1 am the crew from Alto Nível, a music/youth show on TPA. Now, I happened to just be watching Alto Nível before leaving for the concert, and was not impressed. On this particular episode, the host, a middle-aged man with Tom Sellec-esque mustache (pictured here) was interviewing Tito Jackson. Yes, Tito Jackson, Michael’s brother!! For the first question, the host had the temerity to ask Tito - in horrible English- if he was rich. Tito was confused and asked him to repeat the question. The host said, “You! Michael Jackson! Many money! You many money like Michael!” Surprisingly, the interview ended there. Obviously this guy has not been following MJ’s finances these days. So when I saw the host at the show, I threw him dirty looks. Nobody disrespects Tito like that- nobody!!

Soon, we hear a lot of confusão and see fighting at the entrance. The “security” is overwhelmed by people trying to get in. They are surprised that the straw fence has not held in the throngs of Yola fans.

Finally, around 2 am, Yola shows up. And starts singing along to recorded music. Geez. Angolans don’t seem to mind when they get cheated with canned, recorded music instead of live music. At least she was actually singing, which is more than what usually happens. Immediately, many of the regular ticket holders bum-rush the stage and seated table area, pissing off all the rich people who spent $130 on over-priced whisky. Juan and I congratulate ourselves on our wise decision to be cheap. In the middle of her second song, a fan- young guy with a macho swagger and hip-hop gear- gets up and greets Yola with two kisses on the cheek- while she is singing. She handles it well. Security is lax, to say the least.

After the third song at 2:30 am we leave. As with many things here, at least I can say I got a good story out of it.

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