Nyege Nyege International Music Festival (#NNIMF17) returned to the source of the Nile river in Jinja,Uganda on the 1st – 3rd September 2017 for its third edition. More than 5,000 revelers descended upon Nile Discovery Beach, Njeru, Jinja for the 4 day event which featured more than 100 acts across 4 stages. The festival which launched in 2015 immediately established its reputation as one of the best new music festivals worldwide. It has since been hailed as one of the best new music festivals globally by news and music outlets such as EverFest, Wanderlust Magazine, Resident Advisor and others.
Featuring a live stage (the Bell stage), a dub/reggae sound system (The “Umojah Arena”) , an Electronic and Dance Music Stage (“Eterna Disco” stage”) and a “Chill stage”, the audience was spoilt for choice of genres and acts to enjoy over the four-day event. Supported by the British Council’s East Africa Arts Program, Scottish immersive fun machine Samedia Shebeen collaborated with the Nyege Nyege design team to create the incredible “Eternal Disco” stage dedicated to electronic music.
Cameroonian performer Reniss set the Bell stage on fire performing her viral hit “La Sauce” on Saturday night, following the Friday night performance of her country mate and rapper Jovi. Ghanaian act Jowaa (French DJ BBrave and Ghanaian producer Gafacci) also performed for the first time in Uganda, introducing East African fans to their unique sound of “electronic kpanlogo”-Afrobeats for the rave age. Pioneering Portuguese producer DJ NK performed two sets, a slower tarraxinha set at the Umojah Arena and a more frenetic set at the Eternal Disco. Italian performance artists Ninos Du Brasil took over the Bell stage with their energetic percussion and Dutch DJ Marcelle
proved why she is such a legend on 3 vinyl decks with two incredible performances. Tanzania’s Sisso Records gave Uganda its first taste of the 170bpm Singeli music that has taken over the scene among Dar es Salaam’s youth.
With the generous support of the Arts Council (UK), NTS Radio, the internet’s most influential music platform curated the Eternal Disco stage on Friday, giving British DJs Moxie, A.G., Anu and Skinny Macho their first experience with Ugandan dancefloor lovers. A.G gave an additional performance on the Bell Stage, serving heavy hip hop and grime beats to an impressed and impressive crowd.
Not to be outdone by their international counterparts, Ugandan acts held their own with DJ Kampire opening the festival on the Bell Stage and delivering the most rambunctious set on the Eternal Disco stage. The live performance platform A ka Dope showcased the talents of local acts Jackie Akello, Esi and more. Byg Ben Sukuya put Mbale on the map with his Lumasaba rap and Maro gave the audience a warm welcome as a son of Jinja. The performance by Otim Alpha and Leo Palayeng proved why they are legends in Northern Uganda and why their Electro-Acholi music is set to take over Europe following Otim Alpha’s release on the label Nyege Tapes. Acclaimed contemporary Faizal Mostrixxx solidified his credibility as a producer of tribal electronica, a genre most often interpreted by European appreciators of African music, but now seeing contributions by skilled young Africans reinterpreting their own traditional music with an understanding of its context.
13 different performance troupes from all corners of the country including the Domadana Kadodi Performers and Abonga the blind zither player from Gulu. Nakibembe Xylophone troupe stunned the crowd with their giant zylophone that requires a pit to be dug in the ground to create resonance and takes 8 – 10 performers to play it.
The 2017 edition saw over 5000 festival-goers, and attracted a global audience thanks to its forward thinking curation of African music. In previous years the festival has served as the East African debut for Kuduro pioneer DJ Marfox, the satirical Ghanaian rappers FOKN Bois, Scottish soundsystem Mungo’s Hi-Fi, Niger-based synth pioneer Mamman Sani, South African house producer Aero Manyelo, Burkinabe rapper Joey Le Soldat, North African electronic music collective Arabstazy, Senegalese electronic producer Ibaaku and Mozambican/ Ghanaian duo Gato Preto.