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Contours East Africa Music

Swiss music professionals at Nyege Nyege Festival [Jinja]

Nyege Nyege

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Nyege Nyege is a collective in Kampala, Uganda that promotes outsider music, primarily electronic, by African artists. In addition to organizing ongoing parties and an artist residency, the collective runs two record labels and a multi-day annual festival. In collaboration with Nyege Nyege, our office has invited a group of Swiss music professionals to travel to Jinja, Uganda from 12 – 20 September 2022 to attend the «Nyege Nyege International Music Festival 2022» and gain insight into the East African alternative music scene.

Nyege Nyege is the biggest platform for alternative African music. The festival, which encompasses not only music but also visual and performance art, brings together artists, programmers, bookers, agents and audiences from all over the continent and diaspora.

One of the festival founders, Ugandan multidisciplinary artist Darlyne Komukama will act as liaison for the group of visiting Swiss professionals, facilitating interesting connections and exchanges. The trip will coincide with a residency ahead of the festival where more than 20 artists of various disciplines will be working together on new collaborative projects. This dynamic context will provide the Swiss programmers the opportunity to make connections and build relationships that may lead to new opportunities for collaborations and the presentation of work in Switzerland and the region.

The invited guests include jean foncé and KA-RABA of OKRA collective and BALA BALA of Zagaza, both BIPOC-led DJ/art collectives with particular interest in engaging with the music scene in the diaspora; Lhaga Namlha Koondhor whose various projects centre around inclusive practices; Claudia Popovici who is artistic director of the Norient Film Festival, a format that aims to document and connect subcultures; the two Swiss festivals Ferme Asile and bee-flat that book interesting outsider music and art from the African continent are represented by Audrey Powell and Lea Heimann respectively; and from Kinshasa, Eddy Ekete of KinAct is creating a collaborative performance at Nyege Nyege.


jean foncé is a writer, spoken word performer, DJ and cultural worker currently based in Basel, Switzerland. They are pursuing a Bachelor degree at the Institute for Experimental Design and Media Cultures at the Academy of Art and Design. At the heart of their practice is storytelling, using sound and word as mediums. Thereby, jean engages in a process of un-learning and re-writing internalized dominant narratives, that historically erase and misrepresent Black trans and queer bodies.

Lhaga Namlha Koondhor, also known as Asian Eyez, is a curator and cultural connector based between Zurich and Shanghai. She has spent her career establishing inclusive, border smashing strategies, finding innovative ways to bring together various networks and communities. Recent curatorial projects include Body Archive Project, Zurich; Gessnerallee Theatre, Zurich and Nvshu 女术 a multi-disciplinary creative project centering femme and LGBTQI talents in Shanghai. In 2021 she launched Haus Gawaling, a residency in the Swiss Alps which is situated within the framework of a Tibetan community house.

Born in Kinshasa, DRC, Eddy Ekete Mombesa lives and works between Paris and Kinshasa. After finishing his studies at the Ecole des Beaux-arts de Kinshasa in 2002, Eddy continued his training at the Ecole Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs de Strasbourg and obtained his DNSEP degree in 2008. Since then, he has been working and experimenting with his research in his studio at the Semencerie in Strasbourg. In his work, Eddy experiments across several artistic fields including sculpture, painting, performance, installations, music, drawing, photography, dance and video. Eddy is a founding member of the Ezapossibles collective (Kinshasa 2003) and of the association La Semencerie (Strasbourg 2009), and of the Rencontres Internationales de Performeurs Kinact (Kinshasa, 2015). He is artistic director of the ndaku ya la vei est belle cooperative in Kinshasa 2018, and regularly participates in artistic events and exhibitions.

With a solid background in the organisation and programming of cultural events, Audrey Powell worked for almost 10 years for the MUTEK festival in Montreal. Coordinator of the NIFFF EXTENDED professional activities for the NIFFF (Neuchâtel International Fantastic Film Festival) since 2018, she was also music programmer of the Mapping Festival from 2013 to 2017, director of the Menuhin Competition Geneva 2018, and general coordinator of the Label Suisse festival in Lausanne in 2020. She is now based in Sion, and in charge of the musical programming for Ferme-Asile (artistic and cultural centre) and also co-manager of SALTO! (a new 7-month training programme that aims to help young Swiss musicians become professionals).

Hailing from Basel, KA-RABA is a member of the OKRA Collective and local DJ of Switzerland. Her sets are best described as Electronic Afrocentric sonic with a polyrhythmic and erratic approach to Diasporic club music. By finding ways to bring communities together through music, KA-RABA is as well a resident at TRNSTN Radio in Fribourg, co- hosting the bimonthly show “Jollof & Cheese” with ESENGO that broadcasts and connects local artists from across Switzerland.

BALA BALA of the collective Zagaza is a transdisciplinary and multifaceted artist of Zimbabwean and Cameroonian descent. She is a care curator, social educator, facilitator and cultural worker who anchors her research-creation in the development of “care spaces & technologies” anchoring her knowledge in symbiotic cultures of alchemical Black healing. As a Master of ceremony & sound practitioner, she offers in her performances a glimpse into therapeutic practices of sound production & spoken work while exploring diverse cultures & traditions of vocalization  that are deeply embedded in the philosophy of Black Spirit creating social resonance & commentary into the politics of voice & liberation.

Music has always been central for Lea Heimann. Trained in jazz saxophone, piano and singing, she played in various bands, worked as a theatre musician and became increasingly involved in the Swiss music scene as a cultural manager. Today, Lea is artistic director at the concert promoter bee-flat in the PROGR Bern. Her work focuses on developing musical and artistic visions, connecting people, researching new urgent music, focusing on the exchange between social issues and music, distilling a demanding, high-quality, diverse programme from all this – this is her central intention. Lea is one part of the jazzy electronic duo Paradisco.

Claudia-Andreea Popovici was born in Romania and grew up in Germany. She
studied art / photography at the Zurich University of the Arts in Zurich and in São
Paulo, Brazil. She works as a photographer/filmmaker/video artist in the field of
theatre/live-music performance, where she focuses on the act of documenting. Her
focus is on explosive socio-political issues. She is also a cultural producer for art
festivals in Zurich, Switzerland. In the past few years she has accompanied festivals
such as the “International Performance Art Week” in Venice and the “Porny Days
Filmkunstfestival” in Zürich and worked with collectives such as the Coletivo Elástica
in São Paulo, Brazil. Since March 2021 she has been Artistic Director of the Norient Film Festival, a format that aims to document and connect subcultures. As a curator, she moves across the spectrum of the documentary, audio-visual and music research and explores its phenomena in the contemporary world.