The collective Nyege Nyege expands the world of music. This evening three acts from the collective based in Kampala, will perform at Blå during Oslo World: Nihiloxica, Hibotep and Bamba Pana & Makaveli.
Producer Bamba Pana and rapper Makaveli plays singeli, a genre which was evolved in Dar-Es-Salaam in Tanzania and which dominates the country’s pop scene today. The music has absorbed both South African afro house and taraab music from Zanzibar. The most obvious characteristic, however, is the breakneck speed. Singeli is lightning fast and tempos can reach up to 300 BPM, which has led some people to call it “the worlds fastest music”. Bamba Pana was one of the central producers on the breakthrough Nyege Nyege Tapes release “Sound of Sisso” in 2017, when the singeli sound reached many new listeners. The following year, his album “Poaa” was released. Singeli is big in Tanzania, where it has blended well with more traditional forms of hip hop and pop. Like several of the other artists on “Sounds of Sisso”, Bamba Pana and Makaveli produce a more uncompromising, glitchy sound which can be reminiscent of different kinds of noise and experimental music, but which never leaves the dance floor all the same.
Nyege Nyege is a music collective based in Kampala, Uganda. Since its inception in 2013, it has led to the labels Nyege Nyege Tapes and Hakuna Kuaia, in addition to the festival Nyege Nyege. This activity has created a gravitational point for new, alternative east african music, which has attracted eager and curious listeners from all over the world. That is no mystery when you hear the output from Nyege Nyege Tapes. To browse through their catalogue is almost overwhelming – a myriad of different musical movements from the area, making its mark on the global music scene right now, spurred on by cheap musical software and increased internet access. The output spans from music inspired by older local traditions, through new spins on contemporary pop music, to futuristic, uncompromising sound experiments.
It all ends up on the dancefloor, though. At the Nyege Nyege festival, which is held in the city of Jinja, by the bank of the river Nile. In 2015, the festivals first year, between 500 and 1000 people attended. Last year, it had grown to almost 10.000 people. The festival also attracted a number of journalists, from Fact Mag and Resident Advisor to the Norwegian paper Klassekampen. The reports had one thing in common: the conviction that Nyege Nyege is a festival that compares to nothing else.
Artists from other parts of Africa, as well as Europe and USA are booked every year, but the program is built around new east african club music, in addition to acts representing music tradition as well as african pop and fusion. Nyege Nyege, which means an uncontrollable urge to dance or move in the local Ugandan language, has met resistance from strong conservative forces in the country. In 2018, the festival was threatened with cancellation until the very last minute, when the arrangers held meetings with the government. The political significance of a festival which expresses freedom in so many different ways as Nyege Nyege, is obvious. It represents the large youth population of Uganda. On a larger scale, Nyege Nyege points towards the future of the global music scene.