Nyege Nyege: A New Hope

The conversation tape


“Nyege Nyege: A New Hope” is the first instalment in maat’s music programme Terra Irada, and it was presented on the occasion of the International Museum Day, May 18, 2020. This video is the streaming of the complete talk, with welcoming words by Beatrice Leanza (director, maat), conversation between Pedro Gomes (curator of the programme), Arlen Dilsizian and Derek Debru (Nyege Nyege co-founders), moderated by Shannen SP. At some point, there were also three residents in the Nyege Nyege HQ involved in the exchange.

Nyege Nyege is part of a Kampala based arts collective that includes an artist residency and community studios, and two record labels (Nyege Nyege Tapes and Hakuna Kulala). Its renowned four-day festival is self-described as standing for “abundant joy, for underground music and musicians in Africa, from Africa or with a deep interest in getting to know the continent better, it stands for fun and curiosity and pushing boundaries always with a sense inclusivity and an invitation to wonder.”

The underlying thread within the Angered Land programme, curated by Pedro Gomes, has to do with grassroots, communitarian expressions of music from all around the world, particularly highlighting local manifestations and the worldwide plethora of intercultural links which Portugal has developed, in several and mostly convoluted ways, throughout the centuries. It also deals with crucial tangents of other segments of the post-colonialist fight, as examples of functional, emancipatory visions and structures of cultural and, to a degree, socio-economic independence.

António Júlio Duarte — "Terra", Açores, 2016

António Júlio Duarte — “Terra”, Açores, 2016.

An enterprise established by two Europeans (Arlen Dilsizian and Derek Debru) in Kampala, Uganda, the Nyege Nyege HQ has provided editorial outlets, a festival, a management structure and most importantly multiple viable channels from which insular and underexposed cultures can present themselves. This has involved Sub-Saharan idioms, but other parts of the globe as well, in an ever-expanding process. Nyege Nyege has been a beacon of ideas and constructive, positive endeavours for post-colonialist times. It has helped nurturing artists’ self-pride and so understand that they can function out of their own artistic areas to exert a concrete impact in the outside world.


In this unprecedented collaboration with maat the line-up presented six different emissions from six different parts of the world – South Africa, Mali, Tanzania, Saint Lucia in the Caribbean Sea, Reunion Island and Uganda – where forward-thinking communities and ideas unite under one flag; one of progression, confrontation, celebration and understanding. Live acts and DJ sets by Menzi (Durban, South Africa, Future Gqom style) DJ Diaki (Sanankoroba, Mali, Balani Fou Show style), Jay Mitta feat. MC Anti Vairus (Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, Singeli style), DJ Chengz (Saint Lucia, Caribbean Sea, Lucian Kuduros/ Dennery Segment), Jako Maron (Réunion Island, Electro Maloya style), HHY & The Kampala Unit (Uganda/ Portugal/ Congo, Avant Percussion Ensemble).


The celebrations of International Museum Day – which in 2020 were themed around “diversity and inclusion” – remind us that only through an open-ended process of productive debate and creative solidarity museums as harbingers of culture can continue support the becoming of worldviews that are product of mutual respect and care for our common destiny, and that the challenges posed to the one are always the challenges of the many.