Bukoto Street in Kamwokya transformed into an arts space with music, dance, poetry,
theatre and visual arts being brought together.
When a whole street is filled with different art forms across the board, one is ever lost for choice. And that is what Laba’s 10th edition was made of yet again. From visual artists painting the streets, actors in street theatre, musicians on the big stage to fashion shows and dance genres of all sort, Bukoto Street in Kamwokya was a hub of arts festivities.
Reagan Kandoole’s piece installation piece of an “eye” beholding the logo of LaBa lay dominantly over the main stage. Along the street, other artists showcased their works in paintings, fabric, and costume. The wooden Taxi gave the children a new play toy.
New kid on the block Afrie (Ann Nassanga) is rising at rocket speed and her songs Askari and Yori were a force to reckon with. She has a sultry voice that echoed with such youth.
Giovanni Kiyingi, the closing act brought energetic repertoire in Ugandan music that stays true to its roots. He strummed his guitar to excellent backing from the rest of the band. Ethan Muselebende took the audience back in time with Lingala and cultural ‘Ngoma’ sounds.
His popularly revered song, Njabala, was received with applause and the crowd danced endlessly to his music. It was evident that Uganda’s musical classics are still eminent.
Mame N’Djack whose band mixes Senegalese with Uganda drum sounds and Sandy Soul who ‘vocaled’ her way to revelers hearts were equally memorable.
Gloria Kiconco sold self-published ‘little’ booklets of her work, strutting a pair of red suspenders and carrying her box of poetry. Ruyonga impressed with solid salvation rhyme in music as Ife Piankhi sang poetry to percussion resounding her vibrant word selection.
“I am Not A Condom Are you?”, a piece by Joshua Kagimu the Rap Poet, left audiences both shocked, scared and alarmed. As he lay in the ground occasionally jumping up in random spaces, he chanted about self-imagery dashing condoms about. After a while, one end of the street was spilled with condoms.
AfroMan Spice reflected three women, the pretty one, Sandy Soul, a hardworker-Namulondo Rashida, and the intelligent one, Nada. They fought in rounds, for this one man (wholly covered in blue tights) and left empowering messages for women, accompanied with gists of laughter and humour. They performed with no dialogue, but chants and gibberish which was dramatically fulfilling.
Kampala Street Theatricals who include Desire Tereka, Prince Okuyo, Richard Kasozi braved the rains and continued in performance. The audience stayed loyal that despite the down pour, they enjoyed every bit of it. Jackson who was face painted in yellow added to the comic thrill of the act.
This festival begun 10 years ago as a space for visual artists painting the Pot Holes along Bukoto Street into colourful art pieces. Today it hosts all art forms and is sponsored by Goethe Zentrum.