Nyege Nyege: Uganda representing new East African electronic music
January 3, 2018 9:06 PM   Subscribe

Electronic music is booming in East Africa, and a small collective based in Kampala is at the heart of it all. Aaron Coultate travelled to Uganda to hear their story. Nyege Nyege: East Africa's New Wave, on Resident Advisor | See also: The NyegeNyege Urge hit me, a festival review by Maureen Shelmith for Jazz Symphonic | Soundtrack, part 1: Nyege Nyege Tapes on Bandcamp; part 2: Kampire's Nyege Nyege mix on Soundcloud.

Pullquote from Resident Advisor
Since 2013, Nyege Nyege has grown rapidly. In 2015 they opened a recording studio in Kampala called Boutiq Studio, a place for local, regional and international collaborations. That same year they held the first edition of their annual festival in an abandoned resort in Jinja, by the source of the Nile. And in late 2016 they started Nyege Nyege Tapes, a label that is releasing thrilling, mostly East African music, ranging from northern Ugandan electro acholi to singeli from the streets of Dar Es Salaam.

Nyege Nyege is named after a Luganda word that means "the feeling of a sudden uncontrollable urge to move, shake or dance." (It also translates to "Horny, Horny" in Swahili.) Its home turf is Bunga, a neighbourhood whose main artery, Ggaba Road, arrows diagonally from downtown Kampala towards the edge of Lake Victoria, Africa's largest lake. It's a part of the city where many African nationalities mingle, creating a lively, cosmopolitan atmosphere. Bunga and the surrounding area has no shortage of party spots: there's Capital Pub, which Dilsizian calls Kampala's "oldest and grimiest nightclub," where heaving crowds writhe to dancehall and pop. A couple of doors down from Capital is Vision Congo, a small, cheery Congolese bar with DJs playing regional sounds like soukous, lingala and ndombolo. Another Congolese venue, La Reference, has live bands playing soukous (loudly) on weekends. Also in this neck of the woods is Deuces, an afterhours spot that, like any good afterhours spot, gets increasingly sloppy as closing time nears.
The article is a good long read, going on to touch on the religion, politics and generational differences in Uganda today. For a lot more music, here's links to the 2017 Nyege Nyege festival line up, showcasing musicians and other artists from Uganda, broader Eastern Africa, and others who fit with those scenes and sounds: * East Africa premiere
** Uganda Premiere
*** Africa Premiere
**** World Premiere

Bonus links: New Bell Music on YouTube, presenting Reniss and Jovi, plus other Camaroonian musicians | Gqomu Oh! on Soundcloud and on Bandcamp, "a blistering variant of South African house popular in the coastal city of Durban"
posted by filthy light thief (6 comments total) 53 users marked this as a favorite
...just...damn, flt, fantastic post. My thanks!
posted by bird internet at 9:36 PM on January 3, 2018

Really great post, thanks. Nyege Nyege Tapes were a big discovery for me from many people's end of year music recommendations and this has given me so much more to explore.
posted by alanbee at 4:36 AM on January 4, 2018

Thanks for this! I help to run a queer, femme-forward POC night in Berlin, and I'm always eager to find electronic music coming from outside the Euro-Anglo-sphere…
posted by LMGM at 7:09 AM on January 4, 2018 [2 favorites]

Nyege Nyege Tapes were a big discovery for me from many people's end of year music recommendations

Mine, too, which lead me to want to know more about Nyege Nyege Tapes and the scene they have (just started) to represent, which is where I found the Nyege Nyege festival website and this stellar list of musicians and artists. The festival page also includes short blurbs about the artists, as well as links, many of which I shamelessly copied here, but some of the links were dead, and other artists didn't have links. And then there were those without (much) presence on English language websites, as captured by Google, but I included them here for future reference, and in case anyone had more links to add.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:12 AM on January 4, 2018

I'm always eager to find electronic music coming from outside the Euro-Anglo-sphere…

Behold, Howwe.biz, home to Ugandan entertainment news, as well as a ton of musicians with streaming and downloadable music, all apparently for free. You can browse audio, which lists trending songs, and there's the Hot 100 for another top list.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:17 AM on January 4, 2018 [1 favorite]

Thanks for compiling this post, flt.
posted by Evstar at 9:40 AM on January 5, 2018

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