Santuri East Africa - 2016 Newsletter
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Santuri East Africa - 2016

2016 was perhaps the year that it became undeniably clear that significant changes are happening within the East African music scene. Santuri, along with numerous other collectives and individuals, has played a part in this positive step forward for the region.  The key activities of previous years were focused on Santuri’s renowned workshops; the last 12 months saw those sessions come to creative fruition. As the music industry in East Africa continues to evolve and exciting new scenes spring up to replace the older structures, Santuri has been at the forefront of pushing new ideas to global audiences, as well as curating key collaborations from our global networks. For a personal take on the changing nature of the scene, take a moment to read this guest article on the Santuri blog by Megan Iacobini De Fazio.

The year began on a high with the release of a series of sampled traditional instruments released via software innovator Ableton, as well as an invitation to work with the Nile Project in Egypt on a remix initiative. Other highlights included the initiation of the Femme Electronic project in Uganda,  and an exciting research project that ties in with a recording collaboration with the Gogo musician Msafiri Zawose. Elsewhere, a killer vinyl remix release of Mugwisa International Xylophone Group via London label On The Corner was incredibly well received, while another amazing experience at Bayimba Festival in Uganda is set to reveal yet more audio treasures to the world in the coming year.  All this was only possible with the help of our amazing network of supporters and partners, and we continue to be grateful for everyone’s commitment to Santuri over the last 12 months.
2016 saw Femme Electronic get off the ground in Uganda. Led by DJ Rachael (who also celebrated 20 years of DJing this year), Femme Electronic is a network for female DJs and electronic music producers - the first of its kind in Africa. The project encourages female artists of all levels, from total beginners to professionals, to get involved and challenge the huge gender imbalance in the music scene. The project has also been supported by Goethe Institut, and has seen workshops and events with international artists such as (MixMag's DJ of the year) The Black Madonna and Ena Lind of Mint Berlin. Read more about Rachael below.

In August Santuri kicked off another exciting project called Songa Mbele - meaning Moving On - a reference to a track by legendary Tanzanian musician Huwke Zawose. Supported by Pro Helvetia, the project contains a research element looking at how African artists can and should be connecting with underground global networks, outside of the traditional routes for finding audiences abroad. Combined with this is a recording project with Msafiri Zawose (Hukwe’s son), which will demonstrate how interacting with new media, collaboration with contemporary artists and accessing taste-maker networks contribute to the creation of a sustainable career. The tracks are nearing completion, and sound nothing short of incredible. We expect an album and a tour to happen in 2017. Read more here.

Recorded at DoaDoa 2015, and released on 12inch vinyl in July this year, the Mugwisa release has been ecstatically received by music lovers and critics alike. The tracks have received heavy support form key DJs in Europe, and have also featured in a few of “Best of 2016” charts. More Mugwisa goodness is planned for release in 2017.
Femme Electronic founder and key Santuri player DJ Rachael performed at Womex for the DJ Showcase in Santiago De Compostela in Spain. Rachael celebrated 20 years of DJing earlier in the year in Kampala, and followed Womex up with gig in Berlin. Having hosted The Black Madonna and Ena Lind this year as a part of Femme Electronic, this has been an incredible year for one of the leading lights of DJ culture in the region. Listen to her full set from Womex here...

(The Black Madonna and DJ Rachael in Kampala)
Santuri arrived back at Bayimba for the third time - and again had amazing opportunities to create and perform at the festival. Working with UK based label Blip Discs, Santuri organized several recording sessions that will result in key releases in 2017, as each Bayimba session has in the past two years.

And for 2017?  Expect projects like Femme Electronic and Songa Mbele to grow and bloom, while we already have a slew of new Santuri -related releases slated for the new year. Stay locked to our channels, and  have a great new year!
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