What is DOADOA?
Despite an abundance of talent and ambition, East African artists struggle more than most to find commercial success within the regional and international market. Often, we hear about the success of the Nigerian music industry as a result of its local market of over 180 million consumers and its ability to export artistic products internationally. It is true that it would be difficult for the Partner States of the East African Community (EAC) to replicate the success of the Nigerian music industry individually. But combined, the EAC holds a regional market of over 160 million potential consumers. This fact coupled with the great strides that have been made through policies such as the Common Market Protocol to ease the free movement of people, goods and services, means that there is a wealth of potential waiting to be tapped.
The Bayimba Foundation recognised this potential. This led to the development of DOADOA – East African Performing Arts Market. DOADOA provides a space for emerging artists to showcase their work and to learn and exchange industry knowledge through workshops and conferences. Through DOADOA, Bayimba seeks to provide a foundation upon which the East African music industry can grow both regionally and internationally.
Having responded to IIDEA’s call for applications in early 2016, Bayimba was awarded financial and technical support to strengthen DOADOA to enable artists from East Africa to reap tangible benefits from regional integration.
Here is the story of DOADOA 2017.
Day 1: Opening Night
DOADOA 2017 kicked off with a panel discussion with Mrs. Joyce Kevin Abalo Kimaro, Senior Advisor for IIDEA (GIZ), Mr. Ben Oldfield from The Orchard, Mr. Eddie Hatitye of Music in Africa, Mr. Martin Nielsen, CEO of MDUNDO Ltd, and the Director of Bayimba Foundation, Mr. Faisal KIWEWA. Together they discussed the current situation and the future of the East African music scene. Mrs. Joyce Kevin Kimaro spoke passionately about the need for artistic and commercial innovation to hone the wealth of talent within the EAC and make the industry thrive regionally
Day 2: Getting Down to Business
The second day of DOADOA featured conferences and workshops on how East African artists can commercialise their music. The first panel conference discussed how artist can harness the power of the online distribution to draw attention to and sell their music regionally and globally. Simultaneously, a workshop was held that delved into how managers can advance the careers of artists they represent. Music industry professionals also shared their experiences of how to become successful independent artists in East Africa. The third conference exchanged ways that artists can balance their art and making their careers financially sustainable.
Day 3: Female Artists, Music Education, Crossing Borders, Healing Conflict and Rural Studios
The third day opened up with a conference on the importance of keeping the arts alive in conflict areas as a tool for not only expression, but also reconciliation. The second conference of the day talked about the importance of developing a strong music education infrastructure to improve the proficiency of East African artists. The next panel was comprised of music critics from Uganda who deliberated the challenges and opportunities for exporting Ugandan music across borders. This was followed by In Place of War sharing their experiences in creating creative spaces and music studios in rural areas, often beset by conflict. The final panel explored the reasons why female sound engineers and DJ’s are underrepresented in East Africa and how this situation is changing.
Day 4: It’s a Rap
The final day of DOADOA 2017 started with a conference where music teachers and trainers shared their experiences of running music schools in Africa and how to navigate teaching music theory and keeping traditional roots alive. The topic of management was revisited in the second conference as managers shared experiences of best practices in building artist’s careers. Next, the role of dance in affecting social change was discussed. The final session explored the work that has been done and where to go next in creating innovative and alternative creative spaces. DOADOA 2017 closed with the distribution of the MDUNDU Awards for various categories of most downloaded artists and songs.
Results of DOADOA
DOADOA 2017 brought together 126 artists from all six EAC Partner States as well as 45 delegates and 54 panellists from around the region and globe. Through DOADOA, artists and industry professionals exhibited and showcased their work. Artists of all styles were able to exchange and grow in their skills and professional networks. Moreover, many of the showcased artists’ phones are ringing off the hook with calls to schedule performances within the region and beyond.
DOADOA 2017 reflects the best of the growing music industry in East Africa. By providing a space where raw talent and professional skills meet, DOADOA provides a key platform for developing East African music into a thriving industry.
To view the DOADOA 2017 programme and the profiles of the artists that performed during the festival, click on the link