Amahoro Stadium in Remera, Kigali will come alive this weekend 25-26 July as Uganda’s 2015 BET Award winner Edrisa Musuuza, better known as Eddy Kenzo performs at the fifth edition of KigaliUp festival.
“We are going to celebrate achievements made in the last five years in Rwanda’s music industry, as well as focus on how Rwandan music can shine in the East Africa music arena,” says Jacques Murigande, aka Mighty Popo, the festival’s founder.
The line-up draws artists from as far as Haiti, Switzerland and the USA, while regional acts from Burundi and Uganda, as well as another 2015 BET nominee, Kenyan boy band Sauti Sol will perform alongside Rwandan stars such as Jay Polly,Riderman and Mani Martin. Also on the official line-up are Jah Bone D (Rwanda/Switzerland), Teta Diane, Charly and Nina, Soleil Laurent and Nicolenstia Bateau (Haiti).
Other artists featured at the festival include Rafiki, Jules Sentore, Angel and Mike Kahiyura, Uncle Austin, Muco Band (Burundi), Peace and Love Band (Burundi), Kipeti, 3Hills, Mutu, One Key, Strong Voice, Sam, Inanga, Urunana, The Sisters, Ricky Password, Weya Viatore, Pappy Safa, Ciney, Neptunes and Slim Emcee. For the second time KigaliUp will have a DJ zone, an experimental area where selectors from the region can join forces with visual artists to perform improvised sets.
KigaliUp has been instrumental in developing the careers of new Rwandan music acts. Mani Martin is one such artist whose career has been on the rise following KigaliUp’s exposure. Described as one of Rwanda’s strongest live performing act, Mani’s music reflects a blend of Afro-soul and traditional Rwandan music, and features lyrics in Kinyarwanda, Kiswahili, English and French. His 2005 hit ‘Urukumbuzi’ earned him popularity throughout Rwanda and neighboring countries. The same year, he was selected as the youngest participant at the Pan-African Dance Festival, FESPAD
The first edition of the festival was held in September 2011 at the Kimihurura Roundabout in Kigali. The brainchild of Juno Award-winning Rwandan/Canadian artist Mighty Popo, the festival was a ground-breaking affair where 30 artists from Africa, Canada and Europe shared their music and culture to an audience of 2000 people. This year KigaliUp will continue to give Rwandan music lovers a new, central platform to experience new sounds from around the world and provides the country’s artists with valuable international exposure.