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Doadoa: Packaging East African music for the world

The idea of Doadoa Performing Arts Market has always been mind bogging for both the audience and the artistes.

At one point, you will find many thinking it is a festival or a gathering, but it is an East African performing arts market that looks at creating conversations, networking, bridging gaps between performers, audiences and service providers.

As opposed to what is usually believed that it’s a market for only people performing music, Faisal Kiwewa, the director of Bayimba Foundation, the organisers says, it’s that way because at the moment the showcasing facilities easily accommodate music than the other arts.

In fact, even at the just concluded market that took place between Wednesday and Saturday at both Diners Lounge and the Uganda Museum, there were workshops that involved acting, while last year, things went as far as theatre and dance.

But the objective of the market is to get both local international and local industry stake holders in one place to exchange ideas and find ways of working together, through the dialogues or conferences, they get to discuss things that are generally facing the industry on a regional basis and ways of ironing them out.

This year, the purpose was not to only get local acts on international stages like festivals, but packaging them for an international audience even when they don’t necessarily travel.

As a result, there were a number of discussions that had panelists talk about getting music online or getting music distribution done online – the first conference, moderated by Kiwewa had Martin Neilson CEO Mdundo limited talk about the East African music download and streaming site, why artistes should sign up and benefits included.

Eddie Hatitye was representing Music in Africa and encouraged artistes to register with their website freely and upload their professional profiles on it; “It is important to have your profile online because these are some of the things people look at when they intend to book you,” he told the artistes in attendance.

Talking to tsupug.com, rising Neo-soul artiste Apio Moro, a first time attendee of the market, she ended up meeting many people she thought she would have to travel a lot to meet, like artiste managers, publishers and booking agents.

She notes that it’s sad, the market gets little credit compared to what it deserves, especially among artistes.

Apio Moro talks about her #Doadoa17 experience (video)

The market is though not just beneficial to performers only, but even to industry people, for instance, Manana Birabi, one of the panelists on ‘Becoming an Independent Artist in East Africa’ conference and one of the founders of Milege Uganda and Milege World Music Festival says that for all the times they’ve been part of the market, they’ve been able to book an artiste or more and they are sure they are getting some from this edition too.

“One of the challenges in this industry is that the audience is wide and so is the number of performers, you need a lot of resources to collect all those people just to make them listen to you, yet here we have a market that brings all these people to Kampala and all you do is walk to them and tell them about your work.”

About the conference he was part of, he says most artistes in this country being unsigned, he felt the discussion was not just timely but also valid.

Manana talks about the ‘Becoming an Independent Artist in East Africa’ conference at #Doadoa17 (Video)

The Ugandan showcases were mostly booked by Fezah, an online platform that enables booking of artistes by anyone from any place in the world.

Elijah Kitaka one of the founders of Fezah says it was at Doadoa that he met a friend that helped Fezah set up in Kenya earlier than they had expected.

Fezah has since got into an MOU to book artistes for Bayimba and thus the bookings of some artistes they represent.

Elijah Kitaka talks about Fezah’s involvement and the need of online presence at #Doadoa17

However, even when many have beautiful things to say about Doadoa, many mainstream acts were visibly missing, not even a panel discussion that had famous radio personalities like Edward Ssendikadiwa, Kasuku Wazabaga of Dembe FM and Joseph Batte of Bukedde TV among others.

During their Saturday Talk ‘n’ Talk show, Jenkins Mukasa lauded the idea inviting artiste to take part but they still didn’t show up, Manana notes that some of them probably think they  don’t need the platform, while Kitaka thinks it’s a work in progress.

Elijah Kitaka and Manana talk about artistes absence at #Doadoa17

Doadoa wasn’t only about conferences but also included showcases with artistes like Afrie, Cindy Sanyu, Suzan Kerunen, Giovanni Kiyingi, Charmant Mushaga, Concod Band from Tanzania, and Eddie Gray from Kenya among others that performed at the museum and Diner’s Lounge in Bukoto.

About Kaggwa Andrew

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