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Big cast for Phat Fest

Kris ErrorChristian swag. Now in it’s fifth edition, the Phat Fest has proved that Christians can also have fun in the name of the Lord, writes  Joseph Lagen

It has been dubbed the biggest Christian concert in East and Central Africa. One of those shows that make all others look overrated. Before you rub it off as just another church event, this concert since its inception in 2009, has managed to garner over 8,000 revellers at the Kyadondo Rugby Grounds annually.

Surprised? If you have never attended any of the Phatfest concerts in the past, you are yet to see a side to Christianity that has “swag”. This evening, Phatfest 2013 lights up the city once again and if you were having other plans for your Friday, here are a couple reasons why 7pm should find you at Kyadondo Rugby Grounds.

The line up of artistes
Since they are by and gone, I am going to use last weekend’s events to get you a better picture of what Phatfest is to offer. On one end of Jinja Road, people sang to (basically) one international artiste backed by some few of our own. On the other, a battle between two local camps had ensued. This Friday, we are to see a matrimony of those two events to give us the best of international and local gospel music. Here are some of the artistes gracing the stage tonight.


If you are a true urban Christian, then you must know Sho Baraka. He is a Christian Rapper based in the US under the recording brand 116 Clique. Born Amisho Baraka Lewis, Sho Baraka has bagged a couple of awards, including three Grammy awards nominations, 2010 Dove Awards, AMAs for Gospel Artiste in 2009 and his most recent album Talented Xth  (Read tenth) is being cued for big things next year.
Some of his hits include, Word, We Can Be More, Fool’s Gold and I.T.W.M.O.I. (feat. Tedashi, Benjah)


From the neighbouring Kenya, comes a rapper whose beats, particularly from his hit Mmh Baba, made my 2010 and 2011. Kris Erroh is a proudly Masai urban Christian rapper from Nairobi whose lines, a combination of Kiswahili and English, are bound to stick to your musical palate. Don’t take my word for it, with just that one song (basically), Kris bagged two Mwafaka Awards for Best Video and Male Artiste of the year in 2009 and 2010 and more recently a Groove Award for Best Hip Hop artiste last year. Though he is more of a one hit wonder, his performance tonight should still get crowds singing along.
His hits include Mmh Baba, Katikia Yesu and Mede (Mapepo) (feat. friends).


When it comes to Jamaican urban gospel, Benjamin “Benjah” Thom is the biggest it gets literally. He stands in the ranks of Papa San, having bagged many awards and Grammy nominations for his music. He is an upbeat performer whose verve gets to revellers, if you have a hard time believing that, there is only one way to prove it, tonight at Kyadondo. In his most recent tweet (as of press time), he says “Uganda here I come”. This will be one of his first live appearances after his most recent album release, Vanity Fair. Some of his hits include Walkin’ Out, Jezebel, Work and Vanity Fair.


Few words can describe the musical worth of Zambian gospel sensation Pompi, whose songs have taken the continent by storm. I actually have the guts to say that if you have not yet heard one of his hits, Giant Killer and/or No Rent, you are living in an airtight hole. Real names Chaka Nyathando, Pompi, C.E.O of Lotta House, has done in four years of his stardom, what many others have taken decades to achieve. For a gospel artiste to be recognised with the mainly secular Channel O and MTV accolades is no mean feat. If that doesn’t move you, Pompi made entertainment history as the first Gospel Artiste to perform live at Big Brother Africa’s 2013 eviction show. This is his second trip to Uganda this year, and having watched him the first time, you would be duping yourself not to see him live tonight. He is a born poet and his performance, though simple, is breathtaking.
Some of his hits include Giant Killer, No Rent, Packaging, Assignment, Mizu, Hygiene and Make-Up.

D.K Kwenye Beat

This artiste too, is from Kenya. However, instead of having a strong Kenyan touch to his music, D.K Kwenye opted to go West African, which, according to me, he manages honorably. In fact, if you ever heard and loved Furi Furi Dance, you are yet to be floored by his Asusu, that also holds that Nigerian touch to it. May I add that he is one sharp performer, whose songs go beyond their catchy titles? Oh, he is the reason you must take your dancing shoes to the event.
His hits include Asusu and Sari Sari (feat. Anto Neosoul).


Signed under Pompi’s record label, Lotta House, Zambian rapper and producer Mag44 is known for his killer beats and knockout punch lines, much like Pompi’s. However, his performance grants a twist to the whole show, having been a secular artiste before his conversion. His music took its time to get to Uganda, but his singles Vichani and Pwililika from his Album Jijue (Self Discovery) are household names in South Africa, and tonight, anyone with a musical bone will go humming to those two along with his latest single One Hit Wonder. The beauty of his (and Pompi’s) is that though the choruses are sung in their native and Swahilli (ocassionally), you are bound to be floored by their unrivalled poetry and yes, catchy choruses.
Some of his hits include Salvation Ni Weka, Pwililika, Me I Beat and One Hit Wonder.
Uganda performers include, Ruyonga, Levixon, Coopy Bly, Pastor Wilson Bugembe, Exodus, Holy Keane Amooti


This Year’s Phatfest is to be held in honour and memory of fallen Ugandan gospel artiste, Elvis Mutalya Elvis a.k.a Mac Elvis, who died this October, while in Tanzania on holiday. The artiste, who liberally, had named himself “Mr Twentythirteen”, breathed his last this year in a swimming pool, to the shock of many Ugandan Christians. He left behind hits such as Church Boy, Topowa Game and a fan base only hoping to meet him in heaven someday. For obvious reasons, there will be a moment of silence to the father of African freedom, Nelson Mandela.

Tickets: If you are out wondering how to get a ticket, they are available at every Vine Pharmacy outlet and if you are reading this at 6.59pm, do not despair, just walk to the gate with 20k for ordinary and 50k for a V.I.P ticket.
The performances: Unlike many a Ugandan show, the entire event will be played live by Watoto band instrumentalists alongside other notables. Those who attended last year’s Phatfest will agree that Roy Kasika’s drumming and Myko Ouma’s playing was nothing short of astounding. This year, another revered drummer, Valeur Kalinda has been added to the repertoire.
Great production: The event will be lit and powered by events gurus, Silk Events so like all their other shows, you will be fooled to expect less. The stage and lighting too are all courtesy of the Silk Events company. However, it is not just the smoke and mirrors that will be worth seeing… (suspense ought to take effect).
Sponsors: This year’s Phatfest is sponsored by Hotel Sojovalo, NTV and Sqoop (which obviously, is deep!)


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