By Gilbert Mwijuke
LOCAL Hip-Hop group, the Bataka Squad, is set for bigger things. The rappers will be performing at the inaugural Trinity International Hip Hop Festival in Hartford, US next month. Babaluku, Krazy Native and Theila, make up the group.
Krazy Native will link up with Babaluku who is already in Vancouver, USA while the other group member, Theila (the only lady) will not perform.
The debut festival is slated for April 21 to April 23 at St. Vernon Circle at the intersection of Vernon and Broad Streets of Hartford. The city also harbours large African refugee/immigrant communities, specifically from Somalia and Ethiopia.
It will be a weekend of celebration of diverse music, dance, film, and spoken traditions.
The three-day event will feature performers from Brazil, Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria, Haiti, India, Mexico, Iraq, Korea, Puerto Rico, the Philippines, Australia, France and Uganda. Performances will be in over seven different languages: English, Spanish, Swahili and Portuguese among others, while Ugandaâ€™s flag-bearers, the Bataka Squad, will sing in Luganda.
â€œWe call it Lugaflow (rap in Luganda). This is rap identified only with the Bataka Squad. We wonâ€™t rap in English because we have to promote Luganda and Uganda in the US,â€ said Krazy Native.
Several award-winning documentaries will be presented and screened by their directors. Bataka Squadâ€™s film on Hip-Hop in Uganda, Diamond In The Dough will also screen at the fest.
Within the three days, there will also be lecturers and artistes leading discussions about the global phenomenon of Hip Hop music and culture.
They will also discuss the role of this music genre in increasing social and political awareness and uniting communities.
A festival is sponsored by Trinity Collegeâ€™s African Studies department, Music department, Human Rights Program, Tutorial College and Modern Language department.
The Bataka Squad set out in 1994 and has been in Ugandaâ€™s rap game the longest, according to their recordings.
The rappers were also PAM Award nominees last year for Best Hip-Hop single and Best Hip-Hop Artiste/group.