Nyege Nyege Festival
10 Acts at Nyege Nyege Festival Proving the Strength of the African Dance Music Scene
After a two-year hiatus, East Africa’s essential electronic music festival Nyege Nyege is back. Nyege Nyege translates to the “uncontrollable urge to dance”. With over 200 shows internationally, the festival and its associated labels and collective have defined the vanguard of new sounds emerging from the Continent.
This year’s festivities will take place between the 15th and the 18th of September on the Nile’s shores, near Itanda Falls, in the heart of the Busoga region, a few kilometers from Jinja town in Uganda. Nyege Nyege focuses on merging African genres with electronic music, instilling a constant need for innovation and with a diverse lineup, this festival serves as a showcase for the potential of African music. Here are some of the acts to look out for at this year's edition of Nyege Nyege festival.
1. Otim Alpha
Over a decade ago, Otim Alpha started reinterpreting Ugandan Acholi wedding songs with frenetic electronic beats and traditional instruments. The result gave birth to fast-paced poly-rhythmic music ready for dancefloor madness known as Acholitronix. He is always a favourite at the Nyege Nyege Festival.
Born in Somalia, Hibotep grew up in Ethiopia but is based in Kampala, Uganda, where she moved to find her twin sister Hoden, who also plays under the name Houdini. Based on the principle that rules are made to be broken, Hibotep's art is then shaped by this philosophy. and her DJ sets naturally reflect this rebellious side. A key figure at the Nyege Nyege Festival, she connects baile funk, gqom, techno, reggaeton, and uptempo delirium in a delicous contemporary collage.
Kampire ('Kampi-reh') is one of the biggest names in the underground electronic music scene in Kampala, Uganda. Kampire’s vibrant bass-heavy sets have transported her to clubs & festivals across the world. As a core member of the Nyege Nyege collective, she is definitely one to look out for.
Nairobi-born, Slikback makes forward-thinking club music that eludes genre limitations. Mixing influences ranging from techno, gqom, and trap to soundscapes, deconstructed electronics and traditional pan-African percussion. His music and DJ sets can most succinctly be described as fierce and unique. Also known for experimenting during his live sets and for adapting his sound to the space he performs in, Slikback continues to transform his style channelling moods and colors into visions via transcontinental dancefloors.
5. DJ Travella
Hailing from Dar Es Salaam – the economic capital of Tanzania – is DJ Travella. Producing since he was fifteen, DJ Travella embodies the new wave of Singeli producers. This style of electronic music at the crossroads of several cultures (Arabic, Indian, African) was born about ten years ago in Tanzania.
Borrowing from taarab, kwaito, Tanzanian hip hop, and soukouss, it is inspired by the traditional vanga polyrhythms of the Zaramo tribe and ultra-fast techno rhythms from 180 to 300 BPM. DJ Travella is bound to have the people dancing as he creates a contemplative universe.
Born in Angola, but living in Portugal since childhood, Zakente started his career as a producer around 2010.In the last few years he has emerged as a leading artist in the afrotech and future afro house sound with residencies in Ibiza and a busy release schedule. Zakente will be making his East African debut at Nyege Nyege 2022 in September.
7. DJ Znobia
It's no exaggeration to call Angolan DJ, producer and MC Znobia the most important African electronic musician alive. Since the mid 1990's DJ Znobia has pioneered the sound of Kuduro and it's slowed down cousin Tarraxinha throughout the continent and the world with productions for the likes of Diplo, MIA, and many more. Be sure to join DJ Znobia for a special live set at Nyege ‘22 for the first time in East Africa and the first time DJ Znobia performs outside his native county in over a decade.
8. Authentically Plastic
As a DJ, producer and artist based in Kampala, Uganda, Authentically Plastic’s sound is necessarily political. They run a roving, riotous, club night in Kampala called ANTI-MASS which opens up space for femme, queer, and experimental artists in an increasingly repressive social climate. Risk-taking in this political environment informs Authentically Plastic’s sound, which has an accelerated, densely layered, improvisational feel. Their sets can be described as dark and playful, using gqom, vogue, and techno as a base for exploring other unknown sounds.
Phatstoki is a DJ from Johannesburg, South Africa. She is the co-founder of Pussy Party, a group that gives a regular platform to queer femme and woman Dj’s and Artists. Phatstoki is one of the most intuitive DJs reading the room perfectly, timing the drop, and leaving dancefloors defeated and hungry for more.
Turkana is a South Sudanese DJ and producer who grew up in a refugee camp in Kakuma, in the Turkana region of Kenya. It was here that she got her stage name. She delivers hard-hitting sets that wave the flags of South Sudan, Kenya, and Uganda, colliding visceral techno and experimental African sounds.
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