Dancing with the Diaspora


Interview Faisal

DOADOA is in its 7 th year. We have been focussing on devoting the market to East Africa bringing artists and event organisers festival directors and venue owners and studio companies and distribution companies to come and meet for one week every year to meet, network and discuss how to distribute east African music within the region and without. We have been focussing on the East African circuit with ideas like the DOADOA caravan, where if artists are selected to showcase at DOADOA. If they come from Dar es Salaam they can stop in Barangwa or Arusha on the way. And Nairobi, Kampala, Kigali. So we create an East African tour for every selected artist. And that is why it has been successful. For most artists it is not feasible for them to travel because it is by road. And they are in similar communities so there are not many differences. At the moment it is about 1500 delegates attending and we invite a lot of foreign delegates from Europe, US and Asia.

It is the same concept as IOMMA which is focussing on the Indian Ocean and connecting the far east, India and Australia. We focus on East Africa and that is not yet including the islands Camores, Zanzibar and all that. We want to first strengthen the mobility within and access to the cities. And then from there we will start opening it up.

With Igoda there are potential festivals that will be interested with artists from East Africa. Sakifo, Azgo, Bassline, IOMMA, - all these festivals are interested in East African content because it is not that popular and they don't have the connections and contacts. Our connection to Igoda is to open up our horizons for East African artists to be part of the programme.

That is one of the conditions. If you are a member you have to propose at least 4 artists and at least 3 have to be booked within the circuit. A guarantee of a performance is an advantage.

We haven't booked any from our side. We have Alida from an island in Senegal and we have got Nakhane Toure. We are still looking to our programming. We sent some suggestions Jemima, Cindy Samuel around 6 artists being selected.

We do 5 significant festivals and a bunch of other small things. This week we have the Internaytional film festival, DOADOA in May, Bayimba International Music fedstival in August, Dance convention in September and the Kampala International Theatre festival in October.

We work mainly with foundations. We are still young we are ten years old so we don't need money from the government.

We are moving Bayimba festival operating in the city centre for ten years. Our idea was to create a vibrant arts scene in the city. We have done that. For the future of the festival we have needed to create a new path, vision and excitement. The organisation in the city had a lot of limitations with noise, advertising and limited numbers. We needed a bigger space that could accommodate a significant number. The other thing in the city people were walking in and out so it was difficult to monitor. We wanted to consolidate the space. First it is our home we are not renting it. And it will consolidate our programming people will come to the festival and stay there for the duration.

In summery:  Bayimba has brought about tremendous change to the cultural landscape in Uganda ever since it started its operations in 2008, impacting the sector at multiple levels (individual, organisational, sectoral) and creating countless opportunities for jobs within a growing creative arts industry in Uganda. First of all, Bayimba has fostered an increased understanding and encouragement of participation in the arts, among the general public by presenting quality arts programming to a wide range of audiences (audience building), seeking meaningful involvement with the arts (learning about the arts, creating art and engaging with artists), but also among private sector and government through consistent lobby and advocacy activities. Bayimba has furthermore contributed to increased creativity, professionalism and innovation among artists and art practitioners by providing quality (arts) education, empowering artists through artistic and entrepreneurial skill development and encouraging experimentation and risk-taking; by offering various platforms/festivals to artists to showcase their work and talent, stimulating them to engage in collaborations and develop their connections and networks. 

From a quantitative perspective:  Bayimba's operations started in 2008, with the first multi-arts festival of its kind in Uganda coupled with a number of artistic skills training workshops. A varied programme of activities has been implemented ever since to 1) raise awareness and appreciation of the benefits of arts and culture to development, 2) to ensure greater access to (a variety) of artistic and cultural expressions and provide artists with platforms for exposure and networking, 3) to promote creativity, artistic and entrepreneurial skills among actors within the sector, and 4) to strengthen its brand and organisational capacities. 

Till date 10 successful editions of the three-day Bayimba International Festivals were held while 15 one-day festivals were organised in various locations across Uganda between 2010 and 2015. A special festival was introduced for theatre (Kampala International Theatre Festival), in 2014, while Bayimba took a lead in reviving Uganda's oldest independent film festival (Amakula International Film Festival) and sought a partnership to revitalize Uganda's premier dance festival (Dance Week Uganda), both in 2016. Moreover, DOADOA | East African Performing Arts Market was established, in 2012, as a regional platform for networking and learning among (performing arts) sector stakeholders. 

Within the framework of its arts education programme, over 500 trainings were organised till date, with over 3,000 artists and other stakeholders participating and benefiting in terms of skill development as well artistic exchanges and collaborations. Bayimba has also been at the forefront when it comes to advocating for arts and culture by organizing debates and discussions and in building relevant national and regional networks and networking platforms. 

And the size of the East African Music market:

DOADOA | East African Performing Arts Market was initiated to develop the East African market for performing arts. During the past six years of existence it has developed into the leading professional networking platform for regional and international industry professionals in the performing arts business, witnessed by a growing number of attendance, from a mere 200 delegates in 2012 (1 st  edition) to 1,700 in 2017 (6 th  edition). As a unique meeting place to connect, explore, co-learn and innovate, it has supported the career advancement of artists and industry professionals as well as the development of the local creative economy. As an initiative it has demonstrated the benefits of regional integration. DOADOA has tested and demonstrated visible and tangible benefits to more than 15,000 artists and professionals over a period of 6 years, proving that earning a living within the creative industry has become a reality in today's East Africa. 

Because the market and need for creative content is there - The East African Community stands at 156m citizens with an established common market for goods, services, persons,  labour and capital yet to expand and sustain the integration of economic activity across the region so as to accelerate economic growth and development. It is generally acknowledged that the creative industry as a dynamic and growing sector in terms of employment, economic growth and wealth creation, not only contributes to individual well-being and social cohesion but also impacting other sectors of development. This is recognised by various declarations and action plans made by various governments and regional bodies like the East African Community as is witnessed by the passage of the EAC Culture and Creative Industries Bill in 2015 that aims to spur the integration aspirations and operationalize the relevant provision of the EAC Common Market Protocol for the cultural and creative industries. 

Since its inception in 2012, DOADOA has contributed to the development and integration of the regional market of performing arts by promoting the mobility of artists and industry professionals; developing and opening up routes for exposure of content and enhancing access to East African citizens so as to enhance business and employment opportunities for (performing) artists and other professionals, thus stimulating increased trade in creative goods and services. 

As an artists, I was looking for a platform that would help others in the arts business to learn, practice and present their work in the most conducive and appropriate environment. The founding of Bayimba was to bridge this gap and cause the vibrancy that we enjoy in the industry today.

Can you describe what Bayimba means and your long term goals for Bayimba ?

Bayimba can be qualified as an exceptional and courageous cultural forerunner that has managed to bring about the increased vibrancy in Uganda and East Africa it aimed for and has been a source of inspiration to many other (multiple new arts organisations/initiatives have emerged while aspiring artists now opt to pursue an artistic career). through the extensive and strong connections it developed locally, regionally and internationally, Bayimba was able to extend its impact way beyond the confined borders of Uganda. It has acclaimed a reputation well beyond and has developed into a highly respected arts organisation on the African continent, a household name and an innovating force to reckon with. 

Interview Jerome Galabert

First of all Faisal attended IOMMA last year and this occasion had a meeting with all the Igoda members who were there everybody except for Jiggs who couldn't make it. We had a discussion with Faisel about joining the Igoda circuit because of the quality of work Faisal is achieving both with Doadoa and Bayimba. Obviously at the moment things are coming in and all the members we are know that it takes time for any new member to take his place in the circuit. We will have discussions at the next IOMMA to see how we can improve and what can be done. And maybe include other members in the future. We are that kind of institution every time we have board meetings for Igoda, we have a relationship with IFAS, we have talks with Madagascar and other structures in Mauritius it has always been a subject of how do we expand. We made a try with DoaDoa because of the quality of his work.

Our vision of the Indian Ocean is the vision of a big Indian Ocean and all the countries of East Africa are concerned, Tanzania and Kenya having a physical link with the ocean. IOMMA it has been seven or eight editions and we have become this great platform where all the different people from this region can meet and exchange. There is already some discussion because of Moshito, we have linked with Botswana and went there in November with the Igoda members and there is already some discussion with Botswana to get involved in one way or another. The minimum basis is to take the information of what is happening in this region who is doing what and what opportunities there are. In the future Tanzania, Kenya maybe Uganda as well can inspire themselves with the dynamic we have created with Igoda. Obviously IOMMA is a great platform to exchange on those experiences. It is a practical network. We have been improving a lot within our network and it has been a real pleasure to see how it grows. There can be similar experiences in either periods of the year with counterparts that could be started and then in the future we will see if we can link those different experiences one way or another.

Igoda works well as it is now, but we are precautions as we want to keep the quality as we have achieved so far. We know where we are coming from and how difficult it is so we are not trying to oversell the project. We are trying to be practical and realistic of our goals.

Not only IOMMA but Moshito and other markets help us make the same moves forward. So much has improved in the music industry in our region that we want to keep our doors open and open new doors.

We had a lot of meetings with delegates from Sakifo itself to create the market. We need to take any kind of opportunities to improve the quality of the work of the industry people. There is different levels in the knowledge and the practice. The industry needs some places where once a year you can have this bigger meeting.

Jiggs and Bushfire has a huge experience. We have some exchange programmes with AZGO in Maputo where we can do specific training because it corresponds to a demand. For example we have an exchange with a structure in Madagascar which is based on training programmes. It is more a la carte. Within the Igoda one thing for sure is we have two or three annual meeting times it has made all of us improve. You learn from the experience you share with your counterparts.

One of the things that leads us to create the dynamic of Igoda, one of the motivations. If you look at our artists from reunion Island what we realised is most of the time they were not getting enough shows when they were going overseas as an export, mainly in Europe compared to other developing bands on the Francophonie market. The band there would have the opportunity to play a lot more gigs before going onto an export dynamic. What we did in Reunion is we started to develop a local network that could help our local bands to play more before even attending events like Sakifo.

And then when you have a South South network it is an extraordinary experience to go and experience your music in front of people from Swaziland, Mozambique and South Africa before targeting other experiences. It is about giving them the tools to have that down.

Maybe in the future instead of having 5 festivals within in a circuit you have 10 25 opportunities for our South African artists to express themselves and work their show in front of audiences it is in evidence that it will make them stronger to go and eat the world and have a bigger strength to have this ambition. It is almost about maths.



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