Friday, May 28, 2010

President’s Reception and Cultural Gala

After the two presentations today and exchanging some more money downtown at the Grand Imperial Hotel, we headed back to the campus of MUBS for a reception put on by the president of MUBS. To open the reception, a member of the administrative staff who is also a student in the masters program showed off for us doing what he does in his spare time: circus tricks. He walked across a wire, made tea while balancing on a stationary bicycle, and a few other stunts. It was entertaining for us, if a little strange for the MUBS students, who see him on a daily basis.

Right after that we were entertained by a dance and drumming troupe who performed a traditional Buganda dance for us. The instruments were essentially the same as what the students at the primary school had just a couple of days ago, and it was fun to see a little native culture in action. The dance troupe was excellent as well, and they got a few of our students and the MUBS students up to attempt their dance. A number of the MUBS students are Buganda, and were trying to teach us the dance as well. It seemed really simple, but you could see how much practice the dancers had put in as the evening went on. Some of the students were even up with the dancers for a good while, and could hold their own in the feather-shaking, hip-swinging style the dancers used for the night.

As we mingled with the students, faculty, and staff from MUBS at the reception, we had time to get supper and get to know some of them more. The music was always on, either from the hired DJ or the drummers. You can definitely hear where they get their preference in dance music from, though, because the beat just kept going. As darkness fell, the DJ started playing a combination of old school American pop and newer Afro-pop. All the students were out having fun, and the mixing of dance styles was just as fun as the music. We were all disappointed because there was a noise ban at eight o’clock, and the music had to stop. It sounded like everyone had a great time this evening, and we hope to get some more opportunities to see more of this integral part of Ugandan life and culture.

Finally, a few questions: Given that the Inspector General said today that Ugandans do not worry about copyright laws, do you think that the country is able to sustain a music industry? Artists can make money from hiring out to parties (like the one tonight), doing shows and events, but not from recordings. Does this still allow for development, or are artists limited by piracy? Also, did you enjoy the music? What similarities did you hear between their cultural musical heritage and their pop music?

2 comments:

  1. I think that with the copywrite laws make it very difficult for Uganda to have a music industry. We have not heard much radio on the trip but I dont see many adds for radio stations or adds for concerts or artists at all. I think that since the inspector general said they do not care about copywrite laws it plays a huge role in their music and the industry as a whole. I think that yes they can make money by doing shows and parties but that is more of a djing act and not so much a solo artisit gig. I think that the lack of copywrite laws and lack of artisits for that matter make it very difficult for development. I dont think there are many artisits in Uganda and if so they are not trying to make it big in the music industry. I liked the cultural music and the dancing tongiht. I think that was the best night so far. I like that we all go to relax and have fun with each other and mingle with the MUBS students. I think the biggest sinilairty I heard between the music was that they played music from the U.S. It was not all Ugandan music. All in all, GREAT NIGHT!

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  2. I agree with Jacki. I feel as if the fact that Ugandans don't care about copywright laws really puts any enterprising Ugandan musicians at a disadvantage because they don't have the regulations that provide them with the means to make a profit. It doesn't allow for much development within the Ugandan music industry and it really puts a damper on the motivation for Ugandan citizens to work towards a career in the music field. Also, after talking with some students about pursuing music as a career, it really became aware to me that any idea along those lines really isn't even an option for most of them because in the job market here, business is difficult to find so you can completely forget about trying to make a name for yourself in the music industry.

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