Monday, September 11, 2006

Meeting the simple Akon


EDGAR R. BATTE
A moment with Akon just brings out the character of a simple and laidback star. During his visit to Tanzania last week, one could hardly believe the man before us was actually a multi-platinum superstar whose songs are topping world charts. If it were not for his mean crew and security detail that created airs around him, he could have passed off for any other average guy. Akon had all arms open for anyone. During a press conference on Wednesday, the US-based star revealed he would sign up any serious East African artiste.His most revealing moment was during an interview in East African radio studios where he was hosted alongside his six-man crew of notably more heavily built and taller guys.Ugandan born Dennis Busulwa a.k.a Ssebo hosted the show and introduced the star to Swahili phrases like mambo vipi (Swahili phrase What's up). "Kampala, Dar es Salaam and Nairobi mambo vipi," Akon kept interjecting all throughout the show, implying that he was a fast learner. When phone lines were opened, the callers asked Akon all kinds of questions and he answered them freely. One of the listeners asked him how he had 'found' the Tanzanian girls. "Well, I do not sleep around. Whenever, I am out on a show I move with my girlfriend," Akon answered. The star, who is a strict Muslim is said to be in his third marriage. He also neither smokes nor takes alcohol.
THIS IS GOOD: Akon admires a wood curving that was given to him a souvnier to remember Tanzania
ALL SMILES: Akon was down to earth and he didn’t carry himself around with airs. Below, he ponders after being asked a question during a press conference. Photos by Edgar R. Batte
After the show, Akon posed for photos with East African artistes like Uganda's Ngoni, Bebe Cool, Kenya's Necessary Noise and Nonini as well as the radio station's presenters.Later on , the star was hosted to cocktail party where he mingled freely with everyone. It is here that he revealed that he had actually been a Jazz percussionist like his father, who moved to the US with his family, when Akon was only Seven. After settling in the state of New Jersey, Akon learned how to play different percussion instruments. However, he was always on the wrong side of the law in a bid to make ends meet, leading to his imprisonment. While serving his term in jail, he wrote down what was going through his mind, coming up with the hot album Trouble. "The album is basically me. I wrote everything, basing on my experiences." He discovered that he could no longer do percussion and turned to hip-hop, becoming a successful songwriter, singer and producer. He freely obliged when people at the party asked to have a few photos with him. He was even eager to learn more Swahili and he tried to speak it with everyone he was chatting with.Although he was expected in Tanzania on Thursday, Akon arrived in the country two days before and explained that he needed sometime to move around and experience more about the social life in Dar es Salaam. "I decided to come early so that I could move around and meet people as well as enjoy my stay here before I get on stage," he said. Akon's debut album, Trouble, went multi-platinum worldwide, with hits like Lonely, Locked up, Ghetto, Keep On Calling, Bananza and Pot of God just to mention a few. During his stay, the down-to-earth Senegalese born star was able to visit Celtel Tanzania and Coca Cola offices, the main sponsors of his Friday show. He also visited a charity home and on his way, he kept waving to the crowds, occasionally saying, mambo vipi as he travelled throughout the city.

1 Comments:

Blogger Ubaludo Mgulunde said...

2006 asante kwa mempry

1:37 AM  

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