US rapper Akua Naru to join African stars at Uganda's Bayimba Festival

Uganda's annual Bayimba International Festival of the Arts returns to the National Cultural Centre in Kampala between 16 and 18 September.

American hip-hop artist Akua Naru will headline this year's Bayimba fest in Uganda. Photo:
American hip-hop artist Akua Naru will headline this year's Bayimba fest in Uganda. Photo:

The organisers at the Bayimba Foundation recently unveiled the first batch of acts to perform at this year's ninth edition. 

With the aim of presenting a diverse and international musical programme, Bayimba will host artists from all over the world - including the USA, Austria, Kenya, South Africa and Congo-Brazzaville - as well as a host of local talent.

One of the festival's international headliners will be German-based American rapper and poet Akua Naru. Since the release in 2011 of her debut album The Journey Aflame, Naru has established herself on the music scene as a role model for what young women can achieve in hip-hop. The album was followed in 2015 by The Miner's Canary, featuring the singles 'Heard' and 'Seraphim', the latter featuring German-based singer Fetsum (who was born in Egypt to Eritrean parents). With classic 'boom bap' influenced hip-hop sounds, socially conscious rhymes and elements of jazz and soul, Akua Naru has been associated with key hip-hop figures such as Lauryn Hill and The Roots. 


From other parts of Africa, this year's Bayimba line-up includes upcoming South African diva Tribute 'Birdie' Mboweni, as well as two stars of the Kenyan scene: benga artist Winyo and Gravitti Band, one of the country's most exciting emerging reggae bands

Ya Tatchi meanwhile is a celebrated trumpeter, born Patrick Renaud Tatih in Pointe-Noire in the Republic of Congo. In 2009 he collaborated with Moroccan oud player Majid Bekkas on a seven-track album, African Jazz 'n Bar, recorded in both Congo-Brazzaville and Rabat, Morocco. The project aimed to foster closer ties between the music industries of Central and North Africa. The musician is currently based between Basel, Switzerland and Abidjan, Ivory Coast.


Representing the host nation will be local favourites Mathias Walukaga, Chris Evans and Ronald Mayanja, who will help ensure that Uganda’s oldest mainstream music genre, kadongo kamu, will take centre stage at the event. Other Ugandan talent on stage at Bayimba this year includes female Afro-soul saxophonist MoRoots, gospel artist Exodus, Irene Namubiru and Magic Hornz.

The three-day festival will kick off with sets by Ugandan DJ collective Femme Electronic, a female-focussed project experimenting with the fusion of East African folklore and electronic sounds, courtesy of Santuri Safari.

Bayimba will also serve as a platform for artists to collaborate, with traditional Ugandan music set to be mixed with electronic music from Austria in a project dubbed Amadinda Sound System, which features Austrian artists Wolfgang Schlögl and Barca Baxant collaborating with Ugandan xylophone masters to create fresh sounds.

Festival tickets are on sale exclusively at all PayWay kiosk outlets/locations around Kampala. Simply go to any PayWay kiosk location and on the main menu select 'Bayimba tickets' under 'other payments', then follow the prompts to pay. 

To learn more about the festival, visit the Bayimba website or watch highlights from last year's festival in the video below.



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