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JOURNEY TO THE OTHER SIDE

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A PLATFORM FOR ZAMBIA’S BUDDING MUSICIANS

An eclectic mix of modern décor with locally sourced design elements, beautiful paintings by local artists and a Spanish feel. The Other Side stands out because of its décor, which includes giant mirrors that are made from metals and large beaded chandeliers. There’s an air of happiness on nights when the live music acts perform. Cocktails, whiskey and wine flow while diners enjoy one of the best culinary experiences in Lusaka, from tapas to three course meals.

Diners are seated both indoors and outdoors, there is a cozy indoor lounge by the bar which is more apt for cocktails and lounging. The poolside patio outside is where most diners will sit to enjoy their meals before drifting inside to watch the band. There is no stage and the band performs on the main floor of the bar creating a friendly and intimate atmosphere. You are up close and personal with the best voices in Lusaka. The environment is so welcoming that patrons often get up off their seats and sing along and dance with the band.

Having built up a reputation for being one of the leading live entertainment hot spots, they have a rotation of artists who perform there every month, on Wednesdays and Fridays. Among these artists are Afro Red, Blu Note, Musonda, Becky and The All tunes, Kuni and Michael the jazz and blues saxophonist and vocalist.

Speaking to Kuni he explains his experience at the Other Side. “I’ve been playing here for about three years, since they opened …I think I was the first resident artist, performing with the Soul Sessions, an acoustic set. Recently I did the New Year’s Eve bash. It’s a great venue to perform at and I now do two residency gigs twice a month, two Wednesdays in the evening. The Other Side has a nice, chilled crowd and I also love up close and personal crowds because you can connect more. You have more intimacy and you can sit with them or go up to them and sing to them, I talk to the crowd during breaks with my microphone.”

Michael plays once a month on Wednesday and as for the exposure he shares, “To a great extent I have met clients here and when they hear what we do and if they like it we book other gigs and private shows. It has been a way to expose the talents we work with and the band.”

Becky has been performing at the venue for nearly two years and she explains, “I genuinely love it, the artwork is inspiring. The first time I came here the artwork gave me energy and grounded me, I felt like I was one with the space and I felt like I was getting so much energy from beneath me and around me and it gave me power. It was thrilling.  I’ve notice that whatever the crowd is at The Other Side they are down to have a good time, they get up and dance everyone from hotel guests, locals and expatriates vibe with our music. They are ready to get up and dance; every time that I have been here it’s always a party.

I love the element of no stage and I enjoy engaging with the audience. The energetic exchange or transfer is not something you can duplicate and it’s a beautiful thing. I love to move outside to the patio to ask if people are having a good time or ask if there is a birthday. I want them to feel welcome!”

When it comes to the audience Becky shares, “Because of the changing crowd and the dynamic nature of the crowd, regulars aside… Every week is different there are always new faces and people discovering us. Nicholas of the Latitude 15 group has been fantastic in terms of pushing the envelope. It has been great working with him. He has encouraged us and introduced us to people from outside of Zambia. He has been a great support system. I’m happy they have put their faith in us and given us this platform.”

Music is universal and the people that visit The Other Side are fluent in its language. In typical Zambian fashion the lead singer is always up for a dance or interaction with the crowd. The bands that play there offer everything from covers to original songs, Afro-jazz, blues, 90s, Afro pop, pop rock and R&B. The venue is perfect for the die-hard music lovers who might be one of the last few people to go home just when the bar is closing and the band is packing up but not before asking for an “encore”!

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