Uganda’s dynamic collective Bavubuka Foundation took their signature local sound, luga flow, to the John F Kennedy Centre for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC on Sunday. This pioneering group of leading Ugandan hip hop artists, known as The Builders, brought to the US the spirit of their communities and their experiences.
The foundation was created by musician, producer and youth activist Silas Balabyekkubo aka Babaluku, also a founding member of Uganda’s legendary hip hop group, Bataka Squad. Known for introducing luga flow to Uganda’s creative scene, Babaluku has inspired young people to celebrate their languages, culture and tradition.
“It’s a blessing to see what the power of indigenous hip hop can manifest when we follow the spirit and voices of our ancestors," Babaluku said. "Music and the arts are indeed powerful weapons and vehicles of the transformative power of change."
While bavubuka means youth, luga is a Swahili word meaning language, and the artists harness the power of local languages in storytelling and poetry in a style that fuses emceeing with music performance.
Babaluku performed on the Millenium Stage alongside Ugandan songstress and guitarist Tshila Sa as well as Brown Rice Family roots band member, percussionist and vocalist Okai Musik from Haiti.
Through the Bavubuka Foundation, Babaluku supports projects in the creative arts, youth empowerment, education, community development, sports, fashion, journalism and community building.
Bavubuka worked in collaboration with Nomadic Wax, an organisation that works at the nexus of youth culture and social change, as well as American hip hop advocacy group Words Beats & Life, which works with young people to foster community development through hip hop.
Here is a video of Sunday’s Kennedy Centre performance: