Coke Studio Redefines Collaborations

Coke Studio Africa is back. The show, whose theme centres on fusion and pairing of unlike artistes, was premiered at Zone 7, Bugolobi, on Saturday night.

Some of the most memorable artistic musical fusions in Africa were as a result of Coke Studio season one, especially when artistes with knowledge and experience from different genres and unrelated forms met to spark new ideas. With artistes such as M.I and King Sunny Ade from Nigeria, Uganda’s Qwela band, Joel Sebunjo and Lilian Mbabazi, Lady Jaydee from Tanzania and Malian legend Salif Keita, among others, the show served some of the wildest and outrageous collaborations the world could ever imagine.

A groundbreaking performance of Miniyamba by Sebunjo and Miss Karun, or Lillian Mbabazi and Temi Dollface on Maria Salome showed that music can break barriers and create a common sound the continent can relate to. In less than five episodes, the show had redefined music collabos such that some of the artistes went on to try out different sounds very far from their comfort zones who can forget that NakatoBlue Dress Song mash up by Maurice Kirya and Sebunjo earlier this year?

Sebunjo notes that being on the show changed his life not only creatively but by even being able to meet his musical role model, Keita, in addition to pulling off a number of meaningful collaborations for his upcoming album.

“I’ve recorded with Didier Awadi and already working on something with Navio and Lillian,” he said.

But it is not just the exposure a lot changed about many of last year’s performers. For instance, during their performance at the Saturday premiere, Qwela band stayed on stage for more than an hour without performing a cover song. Even their sound was cleaner, and Joe Kihirimbanyi was always in sync with the instrumentalists – he indeed reminded us of the good old sound of Paul Simon.

In fact, during many of their performances, artistes sampled unofficial collaborations like that off-the-hook KoraUga-flow combination between Sebunjo, Navio and Mun*G.

“We want to see many of the mainstream crowd appreciate the African sound and that can’t happen without collaborations,” Sebunjo noted.

Brandon Ssemanda, brand manager Coca-Cola, said collaborations drive artistes to new markets that present them with new opportunities.

“These collaborations were well received by many African critics,” he said, adding that it is the company’s fourth musical venture after Coca-Cola Real Stars, Popstars and Rated Next.

The show prides in exposing Tanzania’s Diamond to other African heavyweights the result was a collaboration with Nigeria’s Davido on a remix of his Number One single. The second season will debut on NTV this Saturday at 8pm. The season will feature 22 artistes, 44 collaborations, all in 10 episodes.

Source : The Observer

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