After six months of preparations, globally acclaimed African Underground champion Nyege Nyege Festival is presenting its most ambitious program to date for this truly special (6th) Edition.
The 4-days/nights program includes live performances, concerts, DJ sets, AV installations, a specially curated film program, fitness and dance workshops, dance performances and a pan African dance battle organized by Cameroonian outfit Last Popper, featuring five categories, prize money and prestigious jury members. Pre-selections are open and competition will unfold during the festival. There will also be puppet shows from Central Africa, performance art from Kinshasa, rasta cooking shows, an online art gallery and even a Haitian hypnotist. The Festival is a symbol of resilience, creativity and solidarity in the face of the global pandemic and other matters affecting underground African artists on a structural level.
Nyege Nyege’s home town of Kampala has suppressed Covid-19 with relative success using social distancing, stimulating the festival to imagine a new vision for their ever innovative party this year. For those who live in Uganda, Nyege Nyege has marshaled the country’s famous network of motorcycle taxis – or boda boda as they are called in East Africa. Called “Nyege Nyege Is Where You Are” the boda boda will deliver party packages including discounted food and drinks from partner restaurants in Kampala as well as nyege masks, tattoo artists, and t-shirts, sound systems, make up artists and hair stylists and mixologists. The result will be a decentralized network of private parties across the city run by the hometown crowd so they don’t miss out on this key date in the Ugandan cultural calendar. There will be one secret official Nyege Nyege party outside the city for a limited number of attendees selected from those registering on the website, following strict Covid-secure procedures. The secret party will also be available online to those who find the “magic key” on the website.
The festival will mark the launch of a new on-going platform that will showcase cutting edge Afrocentric content while building a community based sustainable economic model for artists that is independent from institutional or corporate funding. The Nyege Nyege Community will be a fair, transparent and respectful home for artists to present their works and be paid accordingly, guaranteeing means of survival for so many stakeholders of the creative community across the Continent.
What started with a small gathering at the Source of the Nile has now become a global phenomenon. This year the tireless Nyege Nyege Collective from Kampala brings the spotlight on Africa by inviting some of the most exciting music and arts collectives from the continent, together with Afro-centric collectives from around the world and across many disciplines. The online platform was specially designed by Jepchumba, founder of African Digital Art.
For the benefit of people without means of online transactions, the festival has decided to remain free and accessible to all, yet will offer people the opportunity to become an integral part of the project by becoming members of the wider Nyege Nyege Community, thus generating a simple and fair economic model to continuously support the arts sector in Africa. The program will also air on prime time Ugandan TV NBS showcasing the biggest Ugandan pop stars on the lineup.
Nyege Nyege wants to make its 2020 edition a truly pan African affair with labels, collectives, curators and crews from all over the Continent co-curating the four-day program and building momentum towards more collaborations and solidarity. Female curators have taken the lead, with Violaine Le Fur (Cameroon), Nadah El Shazly (Egypt), Suzi Analogue (USA) and Amilcar Patel (South Africa) making major contributions.
The festival provides a totally immersive, mesmerizing African party experience, diving deep into the cauldron of contemporary African music and its wider diaspora. Highlighting Singeli, Mchiriku and Sebene from Tanzania, Dennery Segment from Santa Lucia, Gqom and House from South Africa, Balani from Mali, Coupe Decale and Rap Ivoire from Cote d’Ivoire, Kuduro and Afrohouse from Angola, Gengetone and Metal from Kenya, Tcham and Elone from Gabon, Hip Hop from Kenya, Togo and Burkina Faso, Maloya from Reunion Island and many others. The program will include several special showcases including Sahel Sounds in Niger and Mauritania, Nadah El Shazly in Egypt, LaSunday in Ivory Coast, Pussy Party, We Heart Beats, Soundz of the South and the Durban Underground in South Africa, Jacaranda Festival in Zimbabwe, ABC and Baara in Burkina Faso, Radio Benbakan in Mali, SHRAP Life in Kenya, Singeli Mouvement in Tanzania and so many more. The dance and performance art program will be orchestrated by Violaine Le Fur and includes Cameroonian performance art collective Modaperf and Congolese arts collectives Kinact and puppet masters Balabal’art. The dance battle with 750eur prize money and an international jury will be organized by the Last Popper Collective and take place over the 4 days of the festival. Joining the party will be Principe from Lisbon, Moonshine from Quebec, Jookoo from Barcelona, Leaving Living Dakota in Brussels, AS A SS and Al Hara from Palestine, a special footwork showcase by EQWhy and the GHB crew from Chicago, Miami based Suzi Analogue and the Never Normal Collective and unique works by Tormenta in Brazil and Gabber Moddus Operandi in Indonesia and more. Special commissions by DJ Marcelle, Bad Sista, Metal Preyers and MSHR. A specially curated film program will feature films by Tabtha Rezaire, Dilman Dilla and Francois Koetze, as part of a collaboration with Digital Earth, as well as a special series from Sublime Frequencies, Sahel Sounds and other gems. A Special comedy program curated by Kenyan comedy star Mammito
Despite this year’s physical limitations, Nyege Nyege’s vision remains the same: to declutter the global culture space of an old idea of what contemporary African music is about, to break existing and oppressive stereotypes, to create more equitable access to international markets for African creatives and provide a space for diverse voices from the musical underground to connect with one another.