It was one of the largest confluences of art in diverse forms I had ever seen.
I would never have imagined a boiling pot of so much great art, music, and performance right here in Kampala in the past 10 years. Art has been put in different niches and those with louder mouths get to be heard more. In terms of music, pop music (in Uganda, that might be Kidandali music) has managed to excel above its peers – that is, rap, traditional, world and the like. However on Saturday, it was like a huge arts communist party that invited underground, mountain top and valley artists to be experienced. What’s better is that it was not just music, it was dance, drama, comedy, visual art, fashion, and the like. For an art lover like I. Nirvana.
Friday you needed to have seen the Dream House Dancers perform. Their dance fusion of traditional, old school, and interpretive dance was nothing short of exciting! Saturday, the “Thriller” performance by Street Dance Force Jinja took us back in time to the days of the excellent Michael.
On Saturday, the LugaFlow, MC, Hip Hop community enjoyed the “End of the Weak – MC Challenge” where four of Uganda’s best MC’s were pitted against each in several rounds to determine who would represent Uganda in the – End of the Weak International Hip Hop Festival on October 25th, Open House. 7pm. There were cyphers, DJ-MC battles, freestyle rounds that determined to see who was the most creative. At the end of the 90 minutes, only one was left standing – Jay Sentino.
“Honestly there was so much happening at Bayimba, it is impossible to record every piece of art unless of course you are Bayimba Foundation, the ones who brought it all together.”
Comedy had it’s say at Bayimba too. There were very entertaining pieces from some of Uganda’s comedy acts like FourSum, Abazeeyi Be Bama and the Punchliners.
Not to be left out was a Fashion show titled “Trash on Fashion” by Afrika Arts Kollective which partnered with Modo Fashion House from Gulu. Models were dressed in different forms of trash, like take away packets, mineral water bottles and buveera.
The two days we were there after dark surely provided a lot of options for the music lovers. The Santuri Safari DJs played an electric fusion of house music, CAB (Cameroon, Algeria, Brazil) played so well on Saturday, revellers did not want them to leave the stage, Ruyonga’s rap fused with current chart topper renditions sent the crowd into a frenzy, Sarabi Band’s performances with Slim EM Cee were welcome to spoken word and poetry enthusiasts, and newbies in the silent disco couldn’t overcome their glee when they discovered how enjoyable the experience was. And this was just Saturday. I haven’t even mentioned Ras Kasozi, Zawuka, and Angela Kalule!
Sunday was the last day of the 3 day event and even the earlier afternoon shower could not keep revellers away. As soon as the rain clouds disappeared, the people trickled in. There was food in plenty, with rolex stalls, kikalayi stalls, roast chicken, burgers, hot dogs as well as shawarma.
Sunday was particularly interesting because of the expectation of Henry Tigan and Maddox. Before that however, we had Jackie Ssenyonjo adding a Gospel tint to the event, Skin Tosh and Ajambo Barbie from Mbale with an Eastern sound, St. Nelly Sade and Burney MC beefing up the presence of HipHop/Lugaflow at the event and SMADJ from Tunisia who gave us rounds of fusion music drawing from hip hop, Arabian sounds, acoustic and even horns.
By the time Henry Tigan came on, the crowd was anxious for him. While his individual performance was brilliant, his back up singers were something of a mystery! Except for the one lady on the right side of the stage, the other, dreadlock-clad back ups were barely saying a word. They simply moved around the stage, jumping around and occasionally throwing their hands in the air. Tigan did many of his famous songs which got the crowd singing along.
After his performance, the crowd were ready to crown their Bayimba experience with Maddox Ssematimba. In no way was the crowd disappointed. Maddox loves music. You could see it in his grin as he sang some of his classics. And the synergy between the crowd and him as he played was just fitting.
It doesn’t matter which day you went, from experiencing dance, fashion, spoken word, music, it was a bit overwhelming given we only paid 2,000/- to get in on each day but from the Bayimba Foundation, the arts benefited a great deal.
Photos: Courtesy of Bayimba Foundation : © Kibuuka Mukisa Oscar | Kibuuka Photography, Bwette Daniel Gilbert and Daniel Echwalu. You can view all the photos on Bayimba