Many of us love the arts but we are not good artists or artisans. But the arts always find us. The arts will find you.
So Speaking of the arts in a society obsessed with the last seen,updates and notifications, in my pursuit of the same i ran into one of the most iconic rappers Africa has seen whose career unfortunately for me and other fans took a detour i guess but still i could not hold back my groupie glee when because of the good sound and music blaring from the electro stage(one of the many) at the Nile discovery beach in Jinja, i looked up from my mud covered sneakers to catch a glimpse of the DJ, lo and behold it was ‘thee mc Africa’ formerly of the trailblazing hip hop group Camp mulla. More enthusiastic fans, friends of mine first had to dash to the stage to ascertain and then shouted back at me ‘he is the one’ before they were hastily bounced by security. I could not still believe it was him so i found my way around the security , sneaked on stage and talked to him. He now goes by Taio Tripper real name Mathew Wakhungu. Him and Camp Mulla brought us fresh sounds that were ahead of their time with hits like party don’t stop, fresh all day and for me this gentleman stood out. Back then they were actually compared to the black eyed peas. Then there was a spawn of similar groups like airport taxi back down here in Kampala and others who did not get to see the light of the day since even camp mulla split up later. Taio is still in the industry as he released an album man made machine recently.
I try to always seek out different unique new sounds,people and activities because i also easily loose interest in many so i fell into Ugandan arts by first ditching my daily fun activities for more meaningful and fun activities. I started by going to the Goethe Zentrum Institute Kampala for their movie nights, arts forums, sundowner end of month parties, poetry recitals, book readings and the Laba! annual art festival. This is where i met most of the artists, poets(special mention is Peter Kagayi), Authors, dancers, choreographers, tourists, expatriate friends and interns working in Kampala. You can check out Goethe Zentrum Kampala monthly activities at GZK programs
Then on my quest i also took more interest in my friend DJ Aothewalker’s usually nocturnal activities. DJ Aothewalker is an afro house DJ and music producer in-house at Embers bar and the pineapple music factory studios both at Studio on the 7th on 7th street industrial area. He has been dubbed ‘the soulripper’ by his fans. you can check out his mixes at AO mixcloud and AO soundcloud , you will never want to listen to David Guetta Nigerian music playing DJs again.
Taking up artisan-ship in food and beverage by participating in the Friday night market at studio on 7th and different festivals and events in Kampala with Vuzi Smoothies further helped me meet with the right crowds,artists and artpreneurs.
My whirlwind chase for the arts is how i found myself at the nyege-nyege international music festival at the Nile discovery beach in Jinja and ultimately running into Taio tripper and my dance choreographer brother who i didn’t know would be at the festival as he was previously in Rwanda doing his thing. This may be up to debate but i introduced him to break dance, as i was the first to start attending the B-boy classes at Nsambya sharing hall but that’s a debate we are yet to have given that my break dancing did not go past me passing a wave to the next person(most overdone break dance move).
The festival was a whole new experience. Having gone with FOMO crazed friends and being familiar with the crowd there including the expatriates and tourists as these are the same people i met at the different arts events i attended back in town. This was the weekend of a lifetime. From new sounds in kuduros, kwaito, Afro house, hiplife, Tuareg rock, cosmic synths from Niger, Arab tech, Morrocan bass, zouk bass, soukous, balani, funana, and swahili trap and Tigrinian blues from all over Africa to new DJs and music acts, accidental mud sliding after heavy downpour which brought tears and laughter at the same time, 24hr partying, zombie walking looking for friends out of sight to finding new friends, seeing crazy wazungu dancing like babies learning how to walk to seeing the sun rise over the Nile. It was a small haven and i loved every bit of it.
After the three day festival, Monday blues struck immediately and hard . The body was spent and i had unsettled nights still dreaming of the experience, sweating the gin and rolex and catching up with normal meals. I actually just recovered this week to reminisce.