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Want a dose of bliss?

Henderson Events Africa and Neil Ribeiro International Events Concepts are breathing a new life into local live concerts. They have brought famed Swedish group, ABBA and this weekend they are hosting The Sound of Bonny M

They have only been in the entertainment business since December last year, yet they are proving a force to reckon with. Henderson Events Africa and Neil Ribeiro International Events Concepts are breathing a new life into live concerts. They are credited with bringing in All-Star Swedish pop duo of the 1970s ABBA this past March.

The group is known for hit songs such as Dancing Queen, Take a Chance on Me, Chiquitita, Waterloo, Knowing Me Knowing You and Money Money Money. They are promising bigger gigs. Neil Ribeiro who runs his firm from Goa, India linked with Rudolf D’Costa from Nairobi to create an outfit that targets the older folk. “We did our research and found out that the age set of 40-60 has been left out.

These is the group that grew up during the days of musical greats like The Beetles, Kool & The Gang, ABBA and many more. We just figured that we could make something to suit them and have them in the fold because that kind of music sells,” says D’Costa.

“The ABBA concert was a massive hit with hundreds flocking the event at Safari Park Hotel,” says Ribeiro. Tickets were going for Sh4,000. Ribeiro, who has 25 years experience events organising, attributes his prowess and passion from the bliss of Goa, a party city renowned across Asia.

“I come from an area where it is a routine to enjoy the moment. Goans are entertainment loving people and I felt I share this energy with Nairobi, which has a lively scene,” he says. Clearly relying on nostalgia to curve a niche, they hope Kenyans are ready for what is coming in the next few years.

Sheila Bonnick of  The Sound of Boney M based in London.
Sheila Bonnick of The Sound of Boney M based in London.

“We cannot say we are in it for the money straight away because that would be false. It is important to identify with a specific group that sets us apart from the rest of the pack, and for our case retro was it. We are not your usual run off the mill events unit. That is far from it,” says Ribeiro.

Henderson Events uses a strategy of availability of artists as opposed to high seasons. To them understanding the business model that fits their long-term interest is key.

“We are still assessing the viability in terms of getting clients who can stick with us. That means that we have to package ourselves and create networks moving forward,” he says.

With a rich background in strategy, planning, execution and research Ribeiro has influenced the approach to the business. Five months ago, it came as a surprise when the partners sourced for the Swedish entertainers and brought them to Nairobi, a first in Africa.

“This is virgin territory and we know what we see here. Nairobi has classes that represent everybody but importantly for us is the exposed attitude and love for richness in music. Therefore, we are channelling our efforts towards giving this market a dose of bliss,” says the event organiser.

The duo met three years ago and they say they have created a formidable business bond. “We have learnt a lot along the way. One of those lessons is patience. It took months of planning to bring ABBA here. It was challenging and draining. I think we share ideals, which then make us see the future together as bright,” says D’Costa.

Ribeiro got acquainted to the local art scene when he started taking acrobats to Europe and Asia eight years ago. “That is how I fell in love with Kenya,” he says. His firm back in India does Broadway musicals, product launches, jingles production and sound provision.

They also deal in talent management and recruitment. “In my backyard, even parents know events management is the real deal. Almost everyone gets into it after college. Even parents know that. In Asia, it is professionally done and even there are courses attributable to it,” he says.

Ribeiro and D’Costa promise to make Nairobi more enticing. They contend that the industry can be a good employer if well and carefully packaged. “Nobody should fear to fail because that is part of learning. I have fallen so many times but I picked myself up and moved on because of the passion. Events in the country can grow and has the potential to create a difference.

We started off small and I was young, but along the way I got valuable lessons. I am a social person and open minded, consequently, I can attract business,” says Ribeiro.

The two have also brought in The Sound of Boney M, an offshoot of the original Boney M band based in Germany to perform tomorrow at The Safari Park Hotel. The new group led by one of the original members, Sheila Bonnick, is now based in London. The group is famed for hit songs like Daddy Cool, Rat Street, Babylon. Tickets are going for Sh6,000.

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