Kenya’s Makadem to perform at Uganda’s inaugural festival

More than 60 critically acclaimed instrumentalists, producers, bands, emcees and deejays from across the African continent will converge on the shores of river Nile for three days of non-stop music celebration in Uganda. The inaugural Nyege Nyege International festival will spur the Nile Beach Resort into a musical carnival as the festival holds between 16 and 18 October in Jinja, Uganda.  

Kenyan artist Makadem. Photo by Quaint Photography
Kenyan artist Makadem. Photo by Quaint Photography

The festival will feature international acts such as UK reggae sound-system Mungo’s Hifi, Ambassador of rhythm DJ Zhao, Kuduro pioneer DJ Marfox, DJ and producer Blinky Bill from Kenyan electro music band –Just a Band and Riddlore from Project Blowed. Representatives of pioneering labels at the forefront of underground African music including Akwaaba Sound System, Discrepant Records and Principe Records will also be present.

Regional and local favourites Shoeshine Bwoy and the Tunedem band will provide fans with great Ugandan music sounds while Kenya’s Makadem, Dread Steppa and Burundi's Lion Story will ensure that fans experience the best of East African music sounds.  The festival will also showcase the diversity of music from across Africa including regional performances from Ghanaian duo of Fokn Bois and Burkina Faso’s Art Melody. 

A charismatic performer with powerful vocal delivery, Makadem uses humorous and witty lyrics to address deep socio-economic struggles in modern-day Kenya.  Over the years, his music has evolved from Ragga to a Benga and Ohangla- based style that he calls Anglo-Ohangla. Anglo-Ohangla is a fusion of Ohangla (traditional drum-based Luo music), Nyatiti (Luo music based on a Luo lyre) and Dodo (traditional Luo singing) style. All these are mixed with other modern African beats accompanied by heavily accented Luo-English vocals.

The furious wordsmith from Ouagadougou, Art Melody whose  lyrics tell stories about young people’s lack of work and education, will offer a glimpse into Burkina Faso's hip hop music with his performance. He used to work as a taxi driver, practicing his rhymes during breaks and dreaming of Europe. In an effort to get to France without a visa, Art Melody ended up in an Algerian prison. He promised himself to return home and devote all his energies to rap; and that the next attempt to get to Europe would be done as a professional musician.

Traditional band from North West Uganda; the West Nile Fusion Band will bring fire to their performance while offering festival goers a glimpse of Uganda’s traditional rhythms. With dancers, traditional West Nile instruments fused with a horn section and some electronic elements, the band will keep the crowd on its feet during the entire performance. Their music neatly amalgamates the original West-Nile pulse with an assortment of “Adungus” traditional Ugandan harps skillfully punctuated by a 2 piece brass section.

Aside from three days of non-stop performances by cutting edge regional performers and international acts, the festival will feature a wide range of local visual artists and performers, culinary experiences highlighting East Africa’s diverse food heritage, film screenings and workshops.  For more information visit the Nyege Nyege festival website.  

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