If there is one thing that is catching up of late, it must be the rave.
Made famous by electronic music movements in the early 2010s, various collectives such as Nyege Nyege Tapes and Hakuna Kulala, the rave has been catching up in various ways.
For instance, since the year started, at least two electronic dance music based shows have been held such as the Fiesta in Kampala and Mbarara, the Techno Underground and this month, the Vibez Nzuri Piano People at Alliance Francaise in Kamwokya.
The show was a melting point of Ugandan DJs that have taken on house music and its hybrid Amapiano.
Amapiano, a Zulu or Xhosa word loosely translated to “the pianos”, is a subgenre of house and Kwaito music that emerged in South Africa in the mid-2010s. It is a hybrid of deep house, jazz, and lounge music characterised by synths and wide percussive basslines.
When the pandemic kicked in Amapiano had existed for years but it’s only at that time that it picked up and its stream went up in places far off South Africa.
Uganda wasn’t exceptional.
Vibez Nzuri brought together a great cast of DJs such as Jean, Drum Doctor, DJ Xhaga, Dziz and Kamali among others.
Unlike most DJ shows, these used more than the decks, they had drum kits and congas on their set, a combo that has previously been made famous by another South African duo, Black Motion.
The DJs of the day experimented with different instruments that even with the sound, it wasn’t about amapiano, but a mix of both house, techno, lounge music and bits of garage.
Kamali was leaned more towards house than amapiano, mixing a great number of songs from Africa, Europe and some gospel music surprises, he knows how to have an audience feeding from his palms.
He actually used the performance to drop an original song, Seasons, noting that most of the time, people have taunted DJs of only playing other people’s music.
Nzuri Vibes’s Piano People is just one of the many electronic dance music events that keep showing up in unconventional spaces such as warehouses, garages and gardens.