Coke Studio: Redefining music callaborations

06:03 by Kaggwa Andrew
Coke studio Africa is back. The show whose theme centers on fusion and pairing of unlike artistes was premiered at Zone 7, Bugolobi on Saturday night.
Some of the most memorable artistic musical fusions in Africa were as a result of Coke Studio season one, especially when artistes with knowledge and experience from different genres and unrelated forms collided to spark new ideas.
With artistes like M.I and King Sunny Ade from Nigeria, Uganda’s Qwela Band, Joel Sebunjo and Lilian Mbabazi, Lady Jaydee from Tanzania and Malian legend Salif Keita among others, the show served some of the wildest and outrageous collaborations the world could ever imagine.
A groundbreaking performance of Miniyamba by Sebunjo and Miss Karun or Lillian Mbabazi and Temi Dollface on Maria Salome showed that can break barriers and create a common sound the continent can easily relate to.
In less than five episodes, the show had redefined music collaborations  that some of the artistes went on to try out different sounds very far from their comfort zones – who can ever forget that Nakato/Blue dress song mashup by Maurice Kirya and Sebunjo earlier this year.
Sebunjo himself notes that being on the show changed his life not only creatively but even being able to meet his musical role model Selif Keita plus pulling off a number of meaningful collaborations for his upcoming album.
“I’ve recorded with Didier Awadi and already working on something with Navio and Lillian,” he said.
But its not just the exposure, a lot changed among many of last year’s performers, for instance, during their performance at the premiere, Qwela band lasted on stage for more than an hour without performing a cover song. Even their sound was clean, in place and Joe kihirimbanyi was always in sync with the instrumentalists – he indeed reminded us of the good old sound of Paul Simon.
In fact, during many of their performances, artistes took chances on unofficial collaborations like that off the hook Kora/Uga-flow combination between Sebunjo, Navio and Mun*G was totally out of the box.
“We want to see many of the mainstream crowd appreciate the African sound and that can’t happen without collaborations,” Sebunjo noted.
Fusion and collaborations are some of those musical activities that have not fully registered among local artistes.
Not that they don’t collaborate, many do but simply don’t understand the essence of recording such a song.
Brandon Ssemanda, brand manager Coca Cola, collaborations drive artistes to new market that presents them with newer opportunities.
“These collaborations were well received by many African critics,” he said adding that it’s the company’s fourth musical venture after Coca Cola real stars, Popstars and Rated Next.
The show prides in exposing Tanzania’s Diamond to other African heavy weights, the result was a collaboration with Nigeria’s money bags Davido on a remix of his Number One single, this year, he’s a double nominee at the Channel O awards, BET Awards and also featured on the continental anthem Africa Rising.
Joel Ssebunjo and Mun*G perform
The second season will debut on NTV this Saturday at 8pm. The season will feature twenty two artistes, forty four collaborations, all in ten episodes.

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