On the 18th of September, Goethe-Zentrum Kampala with the help of the Goethe Institut brought to the gifted wordsmith, rapper and poet Akua Naru to the Bayimba International Festival of the Arts 2016. Her performance turned out to be the most highlighted shows at the festival.
Akua Naru, who lives in Germany and released her debut album “The Journey Aflame” in 2011, has solidified herself in short time on the scene as a model for what women can be in hip hop. Her latest release “The Miner’s Canary” (2015) has been recorded live over a two year period featuring various talented musicians from around the globe. With classic ‘boom bap’ influenced hip-hop sounds, socially conscious rhymes and elements of jazz and soul, Akua Naru has been associated with key hip-hop figures such as Lauryn Hill and The Roots.
Akua Naru has performed with the world renowned Afro Beat pioneer and Fela Kuti drummer Tony Allen, toured with classic Hip Hop group Lords Of The Underground, & shared the stage/collaborated with artists Patrice, Tete, Ursula Rucker, Blitz The Ambassador, German production powerhouse JR &Ph7, Detroit emcee Elzhi, Wax Tailor, Uk rapper TY, Voice Of Germany soul singer, Mic Donet, and recently featured on a new Red Hot release along side Tuneyards and legends Angelique Kidjo and Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson of the legendary Roots crew.
The band arrived right on time on Saturday 17th September at Entebbe and didn’t waste time as they got busy; eager to meet the other artistes and producers they were to work with during their stay. Akua Naru went to the National Theatre that very evening; meeting with Sandra Suubi and the O’flynn (Blip Discs ) – one of the producers. The chemistry between the artistes during this meet led to more people were suggest for this session (including MoRoots and Giovanni Kiyingi)
The morning before the show Akua and her guitarist were picked up and taken to the National Theatre studio (Little Penny Studios) for the scheduled jam / recording studio session. This session would give an insight in the chemistry among all the artistes and yes it was spot on magical as the participants produced 2 tracks with the local acts.
Akua Naru ensured that music fans had something to talk about beyond the festival. Her eclectic performance presented hip hop in a light many have not witnessed in Uganda. She performed with authority. Backed by a wealth of experience, she struck a strong relationship with the crowd.
She rapped her lines, blending a contemporary diction with poetry. The thematic variety of her music was wide-ranging. From romance to political activism, Naru’s music wowed the crowd even as her song ‘Africa Unite’ was probably received with mixed feelings. Her unapologetic, brutally honest messages about colonialism, slave trade, racism and black power might have rubbed a few the wrong way but the music did not stop.
The crowd showered her with love. At one point one reveler beat security and got that dream handshake on stage with the singer.
Some of the links about her performance;