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Getting the groove on at the Nyege Nyege festival

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By Evelyn Masaba

There is a growing trend in the events section right now, a sort of ripple effect that keeps people busy almost every weekend with a festival here and there.

Over the past few months, there have been festivals ranging from food related, fashion and music. You will not fail to find one that fits in your niche for weekend related plans.

The Nyege Nyege festival is however different from the rest and this is not just about the name; the festival itself is about blending a fusion of several different artists, people and art into one colourful and beautiful show that lasts three days.

Nyege Nyege can be loosely translated as “The feeling of a sudden uncontrollable urge to move, shake or dance.”
The festival is organised and curated by the Boutiq Foundation, a community based organisation in Kampala that aims to develop the local arts and culture industry by creating platforms and opportunities for upcoming artists.

The festival also aims to connect underground musicians from around the continent with one another and with producers and musicians working with African music outside the continent. This helps bring diversity to what most Ugandans rarely see in other festivals, experience and feel rhythms and tunes from Europe, USA, West, South and North of Africa; whilst listening to hidden gems of the East.

Last year the festival was held with a throng of thousands showing up to not only enjoy the music that was being showcased but at the same time, discover different forms of art from the artists that had gathered in Jinja.

The setting for this year’s Nyege Nyege festival is not going to be any different from 2015. Right on the lush banks of the Nile in the gardens of the Nile Discovery Beach Hotel, a little distance from Jinja town and partnering with Jumia Travel gives most of the revellers discounted prices for their hotel bookings in Jinja throughout the festival.

The lineup
A number of acts from countries such as the Kenyan and Ugandan underground scene with performances from Blinky Bill, The Dons, EA Wave, Lady Slyke, Albert Ssempeke, Otim Alpha, Tetuni Shani, Yellow Light Machine, Cosmic Homies, Kaya Collective and Shoeshine Bwoy, Blessed San, Undercover Brothers and Lawrence Okello.

Many acclaimed international artists renowned for their work with African sounds will also be joining the lineup, including Tropical Bass pioneer Daniel Haaksman from Germany, Dub Morphology from the UK, DJ Zhao from China, Tropikal Camel from Israel, Schlachthofbronx, also from Germany, and the legendary MC Zulu will grace the two fully decked stages with state-of-the-art sound systems.

Arlen Dilsizian, one of the organisers says, “In Luganda, Nyege Nyege means ‘irresistible urge to dance’. The idea of the festival came up because we felt that existing festivals in the region were not paying enough attention to new exciting genres of music that were emerging from across the continent, like kwaito, balani, kuduros, coupe decale as well as to recent trends to fuse African sounds with European dance aesthetics.”

According to Arlen, whilst there were many urban festivals in the region, what was missing was a festival in Nature, where music lovers get away and let loose for three days of music, art and culture in an intimate setting. The festival is also a chance for different producers from different parts of Africa and Europe to meet, interact and collaborate.

“We find it crazy that legends of African music like Mamman Sani, the godfather of electronic music in this continent, have in their 30 years’ career played all over the world but not in another African country other than his native Niger,” says Arlen, noting that the same can be said for young Balani star Luka Productions and afro-futurist Ibaaku from Senegal. “They are all playing at this year’s festival.”

The festival, taking place from the September 2-4, will also feature a daily screening programme of films and documentaries about music, art installations, food from some of the best restaurants in Kampala at great prices and a kitenge corner where tailors will modify people’s clothes. It will be a fun-packed weekend that will set you back by Shs120,000, and tickets are available on Jumia.

The writer is the public relations manager at Jumia Travel in Uganda. Travel.jumia.com is Africa’s No.1 hotel booking website, allowing you to get the best prices for more than 25,000 hotels in Africa and more than 200,000 hotels around the world.
Jumia Travel has offices in Lagos, Accra, Dakar, Abidjan, Algiers, Douala, Kampala, Dar Es Salaam, Nairobi, Addis Ababa, Porto and Paris.
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