Russia meets Uganda onstage

Russian Alex Rostotsky and the Jazz Bass Theatre performance at the Primrose hall, Imperial Royale hotel, last Friday was no ordinary jazz concert.

It unveiled a distinctive intertwined traditional and cultural extensive bond between Russia and Uganda.

“It’s the first time I have done a mixing of Ugandan traditional music and Russian,” revealed Rostotsky.

This is the second time Rostotsky has performed in Kampala at the invitation of the Russian African Foundation for Science, Culture and Economic Development (RAFSCED). He was here last year performing at a concert dubbed ‘Art Splash’, which is aimed at promoting Russian business in Uganda and Ugandan business in Russia.

And he was back last Friday to bond Ugandan culture with Russian as the chairman RAFSCED, Dr Karen Melik Simonyan, explained that the best way to unite people was to make them ‘first understand each other through promoting culture and information’.

“This isn’t just a commercial entertainment, but a performance to promote and appreciate the different traditions and culture between Russia and Africa,” he said.

Rostotsky, who plays the piano, was backed up by Lev Slepner on the marimba and drums and Andrew Krasilnikov on the soprano and C-melody saxophone, and German Mamaev playing the e-bass. Ilya Izotov was their sound engineer.

The audience was captivated with the sweet melodies of traditional music from Russia and Africa. The band did Salif Keita’ Tomorrow, Night in Kampala, Rain, and Near The River. And the great dancing antics from vocalist Tatiana Shishkova sent many screaming with excitement. Rostotsky also thrilled them with cinematography insertions of live poetry and visual arts.

Our own, Annette Kugonza and Aisha Nakato from Ndere Troupe, spiced up the concert with traditional songs from western Uganda: Ngayaya, Abakemera and Nzololo. Isaac Rucci did the emceeing and notable among the audience was the Commander Special Forces Command, Brig Muhoozi Kaneirugaba, Maj Gen Jim Muhwezi, Russian ambassador to Uganda, Ambassador Sergey Shishkin and a delegation from RAFSCED.

By the end of the concert at 11pm, a contented audience gave a standing ovation to the band for their extraordinary performance.

“It was awesome; very unexpected! They spiced the whole set of performance with Ugandan traditional music,” said Sheila Saltofte, a presenter with Urban Television.

Source:Johnson Grace Maganyja|

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