Opening for UB40

When I was booked for the Stanbic Music Festival in Lusaka, Zambia back in mid-2016 I was initially pretty concerned about how I would fit into the festival line-up. It’s previously been known as the ‘Stanbic Jazz Festival’ and although I do have the habit of playing a blues-y riff when sound checking; I definitely wouldn’t rate my technical abilities as jazz tier – so I relaxed when I heard that it was being re branded to appeal to a wider audience. Then I found out I’d be opening for International reggae legends UB40 and the pressure was back on – never mind jazz lovers, what the hell would die hard reggae fans think of me?!

Photo by: Fortress Media Photography

Now I don’t generally get nervous before a gig but UB40 is arguably the biggest act to have ever played in Zambia, the biggest I can think of anyway – so there was a lot of hype; a lot of excitement and I had absolutely no clue what I was going to play! Vaughan was booked to perform with me and so we initially planned on putting together a chilled & commercial house set but something just didn’t feel right about it. The night before we left for Lusaka we decided it would be best to cover all bases and put together a set that included EDM, Pop, Rock (even Symphonic rock) and an original.

CaitlinUB40FortressMedia2 Photo by: Fortress Media Photography

I know I’m slightly biased but Zambian audiences are the best. In my experience they’re always so supportive and appreciative and if you’re a local talent then even more so! It took a whole 3 minutes (or however long the first track was) for me to totally forget any of my worries and realize that as long as I was feeling it then they were too – and the set seemed to go down just fine.

Photo by: That Zed Photographer

It’s always a treat to work with a great crew and the Phoenix 5 Production team from South Africa were as pro as they come; the actual rig was the best I’ve ever performed on in Zambia. It really was a world class production made even more special by the fact that all of the supporting acts were actually local. The standout performance for me was from James Sakala. Although I had to watch them from backstage him and his band had me dancing around and forgetting I was up next.

Photo by: Fortress Media Photography

UB40 – well, they’re legends for a reason. We joined the audience to watch their set and it was pretty special.

I represented the Zambian line up at the press conference held with UB40 on their arrival in Lusaka. There’s quite a lot of ongoing drama between the band and a few former members over who has claim to the name and branding etc etc – so Zambian audiences (who have been left disappointed in the past by other promoters promising big names and then not delivering) were understandably a little worried that it wasn’t going to be the real deal in town.

The press conference served its purpose and put the rumours to rest though. I was interviewed by a few different journalists afterwards too which saw me featured in the Nkhwazi in-flight magazine (on Zambian domestic airline Pro-flight) and a couple of blog posts and newspaper write ups.

Photos by: Fortress Media Photography

“Caitlin DeVille and her electric violin were up next. When I tell you this girl has gifts! I was mind blown by her violin skills alone but she dances while she plays, barefoot on the stage might I add. The stage smoke and the brilliant set lights topped off an amazing violin journey as she played some pop records, popular rock anthems and a few of her own compositions. What stood out for me was when she played Clean Bandit’s “Rather Be” and the crowd provided backing vocals. At that particular moment there was genuinely no place I’d rather be…”
Quirky Boi Blog


It was a pretty surreal moment not too long after the gig when I heard ‘Red Red Wine’ on the radio and thought to myself ‘la la la oh I know this song’ followed swiftly by ‘hold on, I opened for them!’. Thanks for having me Stanbic!

2 comments on Opening for UB40

  1. .RobKier.

    I am just so ……in AWE of this fantastic person….almost as if she was from another planet…..frighteningly compulsive………where may I find more info. on this beautiful, talented,compulsive lady…nothing on Wikipedia…alas !!…how may I follow in her slipstream???

    1. jorge duarte

      South Africa , Cape town.

      Just ask for her!

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