What started as a cloudy evening with threats of rain didn’t stop revelers from turning up at the National Theater upper gardens to celebrate music at the Fete De La Musique organized by Alliance Francaise Kampala as they celebrated 30 years of existence. It was time to jam, party and catch up on the weekend and nothing was to stop that. A whole 6 hours of non-stop live music swaying us through traditional, electro, blues to techno and with food stalls and craft vendors.
Fete De La Musique is an annual international French music festival launched in 1982 and supported by the French Cultural Ministry. In Uganda, it sought to gather a buffet of artists both local and international with different music genres for the Uganda multi-national audience and true to that they didn’t disappoint with their mega cast of artists like Multi award-winning Ugandan urban Rapper Fik Fameica, pioneering female MC and artist Mc Yallah, live performing multi-instrumentalist, co-founder of Janzi Band and inventor of the Janzi string instrument (an advanced adungu of sorts), Ssewa Ssewa & Friends like Giovanni Kiyinji, JJ Bugoma, Aloysius, Lawrence and Leo Mkanyia, Congo-Techno genre pioneer Ray Sapience as well as the main act of the event, Gato Preto who are one of the most vibrant and extravagant, Afro-futuristic artists of the recent years and all this was on free entry. How can we ever be thankful enough?
The event officially kicked off when the evening’s Mc, Thomas took to the stage and welcomed the first main act; L2, a Congolese refugee currently based in Nakivale settlement who treated is to a cocktail of French, English and Luganda contemporary rap music. Second was Spot Lite Crew of Breakdance Project Uganda, which gave us a breathtaking open drum performance and it is the moment we lost the chills and knew that this was it. The crowd wowed and clapped and stood in awe of the way the boys were doing things we only watch on TV. Their performance was followed by a number of other performances like Ssewa Ssewa and friends who took us through a number of instrumental backed songs that had revelers dancing to the magical sounds of the janzi, thumb piano, drums and gourd rattles. The crowds’ reception was warm especially to the last two songs they played. Mc Yallah brought the party people closer to the stage with her energetic hip-hop flows and there after Fresh Bwoy took to the stage and got everyone going ballistic with excitement with a spirited performance of most of his hit songs that he even stepped off the stage into the crowd, a rare occurrence on Ugandan events. He mixed and mingled with fans as they danced and sang along. I can tell you I saw whites sing along to some of his songs. Fik Fameica was a just a tip of what was the grand finale and all this was happening as people were having light moments with friends and making new ones. Lovers tight together while at the same time not missing any of the performances as well as others showing off their dance moves to the amusement and cheering of their friends.
Gato Presto got on stage at about 11:00 p.m. and true to the hype, they did not disappoint as they fused music and culture from Mozambique to Germany, Ghana to Senegal. They put up a stunning high energetic live performance, and need not hire back up dancers as they invited the crowd to the stage and danced away with them. By the time Mc Thomas came to close the event and bid us farewell, we were well drenched in sweat, eats and happiness to a night that lived up to its billing
There was indeed no better way to celebrate World Music Day than a successful multi genre music show, Fete De La Musique by Alliance Francaise Kampala who have made a name in supporting multi-cultural events in town as well as the local performing arts/ talents in Uganda. It was indeed a gig well done. ‘Till next time, smiling from ear to ear, we gratefully said fare well while still yearning for more.