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.
The group Nihiloxica is made out of the seven percussionists in Nilotica Cultural Ensemble, in addition to a drummer and a keyboard player. The band mixes club music with traditional percussion styles from Buganda, a kingdom in central and southern Uganda. Their eponymous debut was recorded live in Boutiq Studios and was released in 2017 on Nyege Nyege Tapes. Sparse and strange analogue synth sounds and huge bass lines blend with the rhytms of the large drum collective, which holds everything together. It is a dark and mystical musical landscapes which has gotten them a lot of fans. The band has gotten a lot of fans these last years, they have toured extensively in Europe and played a very well received concert at the Roskilde Festival last year.
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.