Merry Making at the Open-mic Festival
BY POLYCAP KALOKWERA
GULU. It was fantabulous at the Open-mic festival at Acholi Inn Garden.
The Openmic Festival that brought people from all parts of Uganda was organized by O’Café in Gulu and supported by, Cloud Core Systems, Castle Lite, Stanbic Bank, Coca Cola, Uganda Wildlife Authority, Cock Media Group and Music for Peace, Wawoto Kacel, Blaze Media, Gulu Country Dairy and NBS TV.
By 2:00pm gates were open as children were treated to bouncing castle and face painting at the children’s park with several forms of entertainment.
The festival featured numerous activities and entertainers at the events ranging from Rappers, Gospel Artists, Vocalists, Saxophone, Afro Soul, Jazz Bassists, Comedians, Gymnastics and several dance crews.
Rappers like Mc Twitch, Comedians Anges Akite and Daniel Omara, Pato Lover Boy with his dance hall moves and Laxzy Mover with his Afro beat entertained the members.
Pato lover Boy swept the revelers off their feet as they danced to his famous song “Akem kwene”
Akem kwene is a cross generational song that vividly narrates the suffering Africans are going through right from the time of colonialism to the current Autocratic leadership citing an example of 1994 Rwanda genocide and Apartheid policy in South Africa.
Omara, who prefers to call himself a “Humour specialist” than a Comedian with his humorous imitation of human behavior threw guests in endless laughter when he imitated Dr. Olara Otunnu’s soft spoken English skills even when the issues to be addressed are crucial.
MC Wang-Jok of the famous “Luo synthesis rap”, who seemingly was the best artist of the night unleashed exceptional rapping skills on a live band. The message was clear Identity is important and one should be proud of their identity.
MC Wang Jok came on stage at exactly mid-night and kept the crowd throwing their hands in the air with his song “An Aye” (meaning Am the one), even those who never loved hip hop in their life got to the flow.
Saxophonist David Olara left the crowd humbled as they mumbled Acholi cultural tunes on saxophone.
Many took to the floor reviving their childhood dancing skills as they wrapped Kitenge African wear around their waist to showcase their flexible waist lines.
In one of the tunes, Olara played the “Perfect Wife” in which his fellow Artist Spartoz sang along and dedicated this song to his longtime girlfriend and unveiled her to the crowd that went crazy jubilating along in great joy.
Kenneth Mugabi grace the event with his song Naki that sent the crowd wild.
The Afro-Soul singer Mugabi’s unique and enjoyable performance kept the crowd demanding for more and more from him as they danced with closed eyes and open palms as in praise and worship.
Naki, is a song that vividly depicts a story of the boy at the next door who finally picked the guts to tell the pretty girl that he indeed loved her.
Indeed he is a splendid song writer, 'story teller' and a soulful performer whose songs can heal broken souls filling gaps of the hardest love crossword puzzles in marriage.
Gulu’s veteran events manager, Juma Jammie said, “This is a quality performance showcasing different artists from Gulu and Kampala”.
He reiterated that, as an event’s organizer this is a learning point, if quality is to be achieved in the events business industry in the region for fans to value artists from northern Uganda.
“The Openmic festival is going to be a big deal in the entire Uganda,” Mr Jammie said.
Northern region Coca-Cola sales and marketing manager Mr Ibrahim Kakaire said, “This Openmic Festival was the best event in Gulu they have sponsored due to its uniqueness; and as Coca-Cola company they love to associate themselves with fresh and unique forms of entertainment”.
“Our sponsorship of this event is one of our strategy to promote local talents and event’s organizers who are creative in all aspects” Mr Kakaire said.
Mr Kakaire pledged to support the next The Openmic Festival season 3 because they have planned for quarterly support to local events and to give back to the community.
“We love fun as part of our business strategy and for that matter we shall do more and more of these unique events in northern region”.
Northern Youth MP Oscar Omony Otema, said the performance should be embraced because it also promotes local tourism through the traditional dances and songs.
Mr Paul Mutanga, the event’s organizer and also the CEO, O’ Café that organized the Openmic Festival, described the performance as phenomenal.
“It’s evident that the northern artists have got talents and what they need is the perfect audience to embrace their talents. Am glad that The Openmic Festival them this avenue and we shall continue to promote local talents. We shall further the Openmic festival to other parts of the regions,” he said.
Last year O’Café organized the first edition of The Openmic Festival in Gulu that brought together northern Artists and was graced by Lillian Mbabazi, “Vitamin and Love letter” hit maker who is taken by thousands as the finest Ugandan Female Afro beat artist.