Uganda's traditional sounds to get electronic makeover at Bayimba fest

The Bayimba International Festival will play host to a vast array of arts and culture-related activities between 16 and 18 September in Kampala, Uganda. 

Members of the Amadinda Sound System project. Photo:
Members of the Amadinda Sound System project. Photo:

Besides the musical headliners already revealed for the upcoming festival - such as US rapper Akua Naru, Tribute 'Birdie' Mboweni (South Africa), Kenyan acts Winyo and Gravitti Band and Congolese trumpeter Ya Tatchi - the three-day festival will also provide a platform for unique musical collaborations.

Arguably the most interesting collaboration in store for Bayimba this year is Amadinda Sound System, which will see Austrian artists Wolfgang Schlögl (aka I-Wolf) and Barca Baxant traveling to Kampala to perform with Amadinda Uganda, a group of artists who are renewing popular interest in the traditional instrument known as amadinda, a wooden xylophone comprising 12 to 15 wooden bars made that rest on a frame made of banana tree stems, with sticks inserted between the bars.

Amadinda Uganda was founded by Lawrence Okello in 2015. Okello is an established name in Ugandan traditional music, having collaborated in the past with with Ndere Troupe, Joel Sebunjo's Sundiata and Janzi. He was also one of the few artists selected to take part in the Nile Project's gatherings and tours in 2013 and 2014.

For the upcoming performance at Bayimba, Okello will be joined by up-and-coming artists Namisango Catherine, Bazibu Michael and Farouque Bukenya. Together these Ugandan musicians will share a stage with two important figues in the the Viennese music scene in Barca Baxant and Wolfgang Schlögl, the latter a founding member of popular Austrian group Sofa Surfers.

This groundbreaking Austrian-Ugandan musical mash-up will take place for the very first time at the Bayimba, presented under the name Amadinda Sound System. The aim of the collaboration is to forge new sounds and ultimately record a new album, which will be released in 2017. Fusing Austrian electronic music with traditional Ugandan instruments will not be easy - although the Austrian artists are upbeat, saying that music is a universal language that if practiced with empathy and respect can lead to a joyful adventure.


To learn more about Amadinda Sound System, visit the project's Facebook page.


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