By Moses Serugo
The annual Bayimba International Festival of the Arts could easily be the “signature sound” of Kampala City, even though it lasts for just three days. City residents, whose ears are weary from the noise of honking boda-boda’s snaking through the traffic gridlock, will find some reprieve at the music festival as will anyone tired of the chorus of noisy taxi touts calling out for commuters.
This year’s festival is the third to be held and sees a shift in dates from June to September, in order not to compete with the Northern Hemisphere summer festival schedule. International artistes also come at a fraction of the price when courted to perform in September than the elevated fees charged for June appearances.
The festival will be held this year from the 17th to the 19th of September, offering a Friday-to-Sunday fete that comes at zero charge. Forty acts have been lined up to perform at the festival which takes place at the National Theatre. Some of the recognisable local talent to look out for include veteran chanteuse Julie Sessanga formerly of the Big Five Band, Alur Afro-pop princess Suzan Kerunen, Sarah Ndagire another talent from the folk pop stable and, upcoming rock songstress Rachel K.
Waving the male musical flag will be guitar whiz Harry II Lwanga, traditional orchestra player Albert Bisaaso Sempeke, another traditional musical talent Karim Saava, and National Theatre Jam Session regular Hytham Ssali Muserebende. There will also be ample representation of group bands and ones to watch out for include Milege Afri Jazz Band, The Uneven, which has carved itself out a niche as a notable rock outfit, Bonfire Uganda, who command the weekly hip-hop night at the National Theatre, and the Golden Gate Choir, one of the last remaining contemporary gospel choral acts.
Trickling in from across the border are fusion artiste Makadem Charles Odero Ademson from Kenya, DRC R&B reggae sensation Mista Poa, MicCrenshaw and the Glue, a Hip-Hop outfit from the US; Vusa Mkhaya from Zimbabwe, Ane Lan Company from Norway, Simona Abdallah from Palestine and Katja Lenart and the Real Band which is a fusion of Ugandan and Norwegian jazz.
While the festival is mostly driven by musical activity, it also accommodates a broad spectrum of the arts and will feature examples of art & design, books, stage, film, TV & radio. The festival has contracted Ugandan visual artistes to present small projects. The selected ones are Stella Atal (Culture with Style), Ben Parkinson (Imagine Us Here), Armour Arts Uganda (Live Painting Project), Boxa Franklyn Boko (Kids Corner Project) and Bavubuka All Starz Designs (Fashion Show Proposal).
Theatrical stage performances will come from Zimbabwe’s Afri Remedy Arts for Development Trust; YAWA, a contemporary dance from troupe from Kenya; Uganda’s Diamond Product; Yuttah Konvitcz Society, a Ugandan contemporary dance company, and Tabu-Flo Dance Crew, arguably the hottest Ugandan Hip-Hop act. There will also be pre-festival workshops in live performance, photography and arts journalism.
With five stages this year, the National Theatre will yet again buzz with activity enough to last the cultural tourist a lifetime. The playhouse’s parking lot will be the principal venue. Auxiliary stages will include the auditorium, CICP (the Centre for Innovative Cultural Performances) on the 1st floor, the dance space at the back of the National Theatre, the theatre gardens and parkway (between the National Theatre building and parking lot) will act as the runway for the catwalk of fashion designs.
In a build up to the September fete, Bayimba Cultural Foundation hit the road with the Bayimba Regional Festival of the Arts concept that took the festival experience to the upcountry metropolises of Gulu in the North, Mbarara in the West and Mbale in the East.
For more information, please contact:
Bayimba Cultural Foundation and
Bayimba International Festival of Music and Arts
Tel: (041) 4591670. Mobile: +256 712 291973
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com. Website: www.bayimba.org