The fifth edition of the DOADOA East African Performing Arts Market will take place in Uganda from 4 to 7 May.
This year's event will be held for the first time at the Uganda Museum in Kampala. It has been moved to the capital from the eastern town of Jinja to make it more accessible to delegates.
The 2016 edition promises to carry forward the conversation about the music industry in the region with a series of panel discussions that artists, professionals and anyone serious about the music business will no doubt find useful.
The conference kicks off on the night of Wednesday 4 May at the Uganda National Cultural Centre’s National Theatre in Kampala with Gambian promoter (and Music In Africa contributor) Oko Drammeh, who will be in conversation with DOADOA director Faisal Kiwewa about the historical role of African artists within the diaspora.
Over the following three days, highlights include a special session on music education (training musicians to understand their trade), which will bring to focus the ongoing debate as to who qualifies to be a musician and what makes a professional musician. Charles Houdart of the African Music Development Programme (AMDP) and James Isabirye of SELAM Uganda will explore this thorny issue.
Also of significance will be a discussion and networking session aimed specifically at songwriters, who are often overlooked in favour of performing artists. This is an important session for individuals who want to understand more about the vital role played by songwriters.
For artists, DOADOA's organizers have put together a useful session where artists will get to meet promoters from Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda and learn how to get their work to potential buyers. This session will host promoters including Abdi Rashid Jibril (Kenya), Karengera Eric Soul of KigaliUp! (Rwanda) and Uganda’s Elijah Kitaka.
The four-day event has also lined up a conversation about the performing arts funding ecosystem, in which Alliance Francaise Nairobi director Harsita Waters will share insights on funding for the arts and culture sector.
Yet another interesting session is on the preservation and digitization of old music. Rebecca Corey from the Tanzania Heritage Project will talk about their work in preserving Tanzanian music. She is currently working on a documentary celebrating Zilipendwa music in Tanzania.
Other topics up for discussion include women in music, music publishing and music in dance and theatre.
Outside these exciting discussions and networking opportunities, each evening will also see artists from throughout the region showcasing their talents. Performing at DOADOA this year will be Ugandan acts Entenga Drums Music Performers, Ruyonga, Kenneth Mugabi and Apollo Kagimu. Joining them will be Dbass Ganun, Grace Matata, Ze Spirit Band and Cultural Arts Centre from Tanzania, as well as Christine Kamau, Lulu and Zakaleo Band, Gravitti Band and Ricky Na Marafiki from Kenya. The showcases take place at the National Theatre (on 4, 6 and 7 May) and at Cayenne Bar & Restaurant (on 5 May).
Tickets for DOADOA range from 20 000 UGX (US$6) for a one-day pass to 50 000 UGX ($15) for a full four-day pass.
For more information and a complete programme of events, visit the DOADOA website. Watch highlights from last year's edition in the video below.