DOADOA brings the trade to the arts

07:25 by Kaggwa Andrew
As a shopaholic, spending money to go to a distant means a lot and for all reasons, it has to be worth the travel – you can compare it with a trader that buys an air ticket to Dubai or China, they hope to comeback with lots of merchandise.
And that’s the story of DOADOA, Uganda’s only performing arts market place that tends to present performers to different agents like festival organizers, international concerts, promoters and distributors.
Every year, these people converge in Uganda as delegates to look for talent they can book for their events, this year’s DOADOA showcase had delegates from many of Uganda’s outstanding festivals like Bayimba, Milege, Pearl Rhythm and Kelele Ku Nalubale among others, while those from other countries included African Music Festival that happens in London, Kigali Up from Rwanda as well as representatives from Womex in Spain, Sauti Za Busara and Kenya’s Ongea among others.
The list of performers showcasing at this year’s market included Grace Matata, Ze Spirit Band and Dbass Ganun from Tanzania, Gravitti Band, Lulu and Zakaleo, Ricky Na Marafiki and Christine Kamau from Kenya, while Uganda was represented by Milege Acoustic Project, Kenneth Mugabi, Apollo Kagimu and Ruyonga among others.
The very first performance was the Entenga Drum Music Performers, not exactly ready for the booking but simply a fight to have the almost distinct Entenga sound to get an audience, in fact, Prof. James Isabirye, a lecturer of music and drama at Kyambogo University noted that the main aim for the performance was to have the sound heard by this generation, as one of the initiatives to revive the sound.
One of the outstanding performances of the day were on the second and third days, Gravitti Band proved that there are more than one ways of making reggae crisp and African, they play in a way that is inspired by the Jamaican reggae than copycats.
But for many delegates, it may have been Mugabi, for Ugandans, we’ve seen him at Blankets and Wine, Qwela Junction and Pearl Rhythm thus we had an idea of what he’s capable of, during his performance on Friday, the vocalist and guitarist wowed with his playful lyrics, high notes and  mellow sounds.
Yes, he borrows a lot from the Maurice Kirya we listened to on Misubawa but still Mugabi finds a lot of room to describe himself especially with the way his lyrics are scribbled as stories.
With songs such as Nambi and Mumulete, he kept the chair tight audience nodding to him, but it was his favorite Kibunomu that got girls raising their hands, thanks to the perfect team that included saxophone ace Happy K.
Tanzania’s Cultural Arts Center was amazing with the way they fused the past and the future to create a beautiful African sound and so did Ricky Na Marafiki, who have mastered ways of bringing the African to much of their jazz and blues inspired signature sound.
DOADOA ended on Saturday with a showcase by Ruyonga.

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