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Coke studio launches in Uganda

It was an invite-only affair – with tables arranged in a dinner setting to accommodate not more than 100 guests.

At the entrance, every guest was handed a traditional musical instrument, any out of the small drums, guitars, and kora, among others, as a gesture that this was not the usual concert or product launch.

Inside, each table had been assigned a skimpily dressed girl in red to man it. The Coke studio, launched on Wednesday at Zone 7 at Bugolobi, is intended to bring together artistes from different music genres and regions in Africa “to create a modern and authentic African musical sound fusion.”

“[This is an] opportunity to not only bring Africa’s artistes together, but also create a modern sound that will appeal to teens,” said Coke brand manager Brandon Ssemanda.

The show, which started airing on NTV last Saturday at 7:30pm, features a host of artistes including Mali’s Salif Keita; Nigeria’s MI, King Sunny Ade, Jimmy Jatt, and Benz; Uganda’s Qwela band, Lillian Mbabazi, and Joel Sebunjo.

Just imagine Mbabazi recording a song with Mali’s Keita!

Other artistes come from Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, and DRC. In all, it comprises of 23 musicians from East Africa, Mali, SA and others. Coca-Cola recorded the show in Kenya in a closed stage format.

“They chose three to five tracks each and curated what they would like to do with those songs, who they wish to work with, and to see fusion of colliding genres, languages, geographies, ages, and instrumentation, including traditional instruments, many of which are fast disappearing,” Ssemanda noted.

The 45-minute show has striking similarities and indeed is a prototype of Coke Studio in Pakistani, which features music television series of live studio-recorded music performances by various artists.

Started in 2008, the studio has been popular, receiving critical acclaim and frequently being rebroadcast on numerous television and radio stations.

The show has been aired in India, Brazil, and Middle East, including Dubai. In Pakistan, the show received a whopping 77 million views on Youtube.com.
Among the guests were proclaimed artistes like Maurice Kirya, Cindy, and Jackie Chandiru, among others.

It is here that Coca-Cola unveiled an exciting music show dubbed, ‘Coke Studio Africa’ that will be showing across Africa.

amwesigwa@observer.ug

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