Ugandan artistes and entertainers are back to gracing Rwanda’s entertainment scene after months of bad blood between the two countries.
The events space first saw Lilian Mbabazi and The Sundowners’ perform at the Kigali Jazz Junction, a monthly live music event, which also featured France’s Zouk and R&B star Slai on July 2.
July also marked the re-entry of Ugandan standup comedy into Rwanda, with the performance by Uganda’s fast-rising comedian Joshua Okello alias Okello Okello at Comedy Knights on July 29.
Concluding July at Seka Live was Ugandan comedian Patrick Idringi alias Salvador, who was the event’s head-lining act. Though he was a frequent favourite for Kigalians, he last performed there five years ago.
With Salvador’s staging having proved successful, the event will usher in Anne Kansiime on September 25. She too hasn’t made a show up for nearly five years.
Other events have been the annual Ubumuntu Arts Festival that took place in July and featured some Ugandan stage acts in live stage performances. August 12 and 13 featured another embrace of cultures through music at the ATHF, a festival dedicated to cultural celebration through music.
The festival not only saw Nigerian Afro-pop artist Kizz Daniels in performance, but also Ugandan entertainers like Sheebah Karungi alongside emcees and TV hosts Lyndah Ddane and Sheilah Gashumba. However, while the political space may have hindered physical travel and business activities, artistes weren’t limited from leveraging on technology.
Musicians from the two countries continued to use virtual platforms to connect and create song projects.
In October 2020 Rwanda’s DJ Pius made a joint musical collaboration that featured Tanzania’s Rosa Ree, Rwanda’s Marina and Afro-dancehall and pop artiste Alexander Bagonza alias A-Pass from Uganda.
Rwanda’s Uncle Austin in August last year teamed up with Wycliff Tugume alias Ykee Benda and released the audio and video of "Umbrella". In February Ugandan Eddy Kenzo recorded a song with Bruce Melodie.
He has since then visited and performed at several functions in Kigali, including on August 20 at the Bianca Fashion Hub’s second season which also featured Uganda’s fashion designer and entrepreneur Brian Ahumuza of Abranz Style and Fashion Awards as a guest Judge.
Rwanda’s Ben Mugisha alias The Ben was the guest act, joining other Ugandan musicians like Spice Diana, Eddy Kenzo, King Saha and YKee Benda at Victoria University’s events dubbed VU Graduation Festival 2022 in September.
This was his third performance in Kampala since June. Organisers of the Rwanda-Burundi Night, a prominent social event hosted in Uganda are too warming up for its return as it had also taken a break due to the fallout between the two countries.