Africa’s music industry on display in Nairobi

Senegalese singer and guitarist Baaba Maal performs at a past event. Net.

The state of the music industry in Africa will come into focus when some of the industry’s major players converge in Nairobi next week.

For three days, top international artistes, producers, concert promoters and journalists from more than 50 countries will be in Nairobi for the second edition of the Music In Africa Conference for Collaboration, Exchange and Showcases, ACCES 2018.

“ACCES stands out as the only event of its kind that is able to move to a different Africa city every year,” explains Eddie Hatitye, director of Music In Africa Foundation.

“It is the only music industry event that has a specific focus on the entire African continent and not just a region,” he adds.

Hatitye, who is based in Johannesburg, says that the profile of the ACCES delegation is high profile and experienced and eager to create synergies in the host country.

The event that runs from November 15 to 17 at the Kenya National Theatre and other venues around the city, features exhibitions, performances, training workshops, panel discussions, networking sessions and visits to major music industry hubs.

The first edition of ACCES last November brought together almost 500 musicians, producers, record executives and other industry professionals to Dakar, Senegal.

Senegalese icon, Baaba Maal, one of the best-known musicians the continent delivered the keynote address at last year’s ACCES. Kenyan artiste, Eric Wainaina, will perform that role at this year’s event.

“Kenya is a supremely rich melting pot of many music styles across the region and Africa as a whole,” says Hatitye in response to why his organisation settled on the choice of Nairobi as the venue.

The event starts with an opening night of performances at the main theatre showcasing the best in contemporary Kenyan music headlined by Winyo, Eric Wainaina, Maia von Lekow and Johnstone Mukabi.

The management of artistes has transformed in a global and cross-border industry, giving birth to a new generation of music entrepreneurs.

British music industry executive, Rikki Stein, who was the manager of Afrobeat legend Fela Kuti from 1983 to the musician’s death in 1997, will be reflecting on his long experience to discuss these changes in music management. Stein, who has arranged and presented concerts and tours for artistes around the world, will be speaking in Nairobi alongside Cameroonian musician and entrepreneur Blick Bassy.

The panel discussions will be based on some of the critical opportunities and challenges in the music industry in Africa.

Edward Sigei, executive director Kenya Copyright Board and Nothando Migogo CEO Southern African Music Rights Organisation (SAMRO) will be in a panel that shares ideas on how musicians and other creators can promote and protect their rights to ensure fair remuneration in a globalised world.

The closing night will be performances by the band from Zanzibar, Nigerian saxophonist Seun Olota and Kenyan performer Makadem.