Kenyan musician Anto gets the crowd to dance with him. PHOTO/Denis Dibele
By Emmanuel Ssejjengo
The three-day Bayimba International Festival of the Arts left most of its regular patrons rather confused. Saturday had Coco Finger hitting the final note, as did Bobi Wine on Sunday.
The two musicians did not cut the grade of what we have come to expect of Bayimba artists - attention to instrumental detail and a relay of more emotion than energy. But that is not to say that the festival completely lacked it “bayimbaness”.
We had Lawrence Okello, that very fascinating drummer whose movement from fury to joy was well calculated. We did not have to pay attention to that nondescript stage set up, Okello let the drums speak, something Bakabulindi tried to achieve when he played with Herbert Kinobe on the first day of the festival.
Dan Mugula, whose singing was drowned by cheers most of the time, did not improvise and went by the rule of rehearsal. He did not try to stop the noise and at some point he seemed to sing to only his band.
That was sad for Kadongokamu, an art form that requires close listening. He deserved as much quiet attention as Kristina Johnstone’s contemporary dance piece, Room.
A musician from Gulu's Bali Wa Movement plays the adungu (left) and African wear on show. PHOTOs/Denis Dibele
The jazz moment that was started by the Maria Braganca Quartet, followed by Myko Ouma, was one of the moments that festival goers will not easily forget.
Visual art came out of the periphery too.
The National Theatre’s upper garden was a picnic area where visual artists had a field day. From on-spot statement T-Shirts, furniture improvisations like the wheel barrows and paintings, it was eye-grabbing.
The festival is one artists use to promote themselves, from introductory salsa classes to the Lantern Meet of Poets announcing the date of their upcoming recital at the end of each poem, which became annoying.
And for another year running, the organizers still cannot find the right MCs for the events.