Faisal Kiwewa

Faisal Kiwewa

Bayimba Foundation

Faisal Kiwewa is the Founder and Artistic Director of Bayimba Foundation. He has worked hard to transform the arts scene in Uganda. Bayimba has trained, supported and created numerous platforms to celebrate the arts in Uganda.

Faisal sits on several boards around the world; the Music in Africa Board (South Africa), Juenesses Musicale International Board, and the International Independent Cultural Council (UK/Greece) Board, He is a founding member of Africa Music Forum (Cape Verde), Country representative, Visa for Music (Morocco), Member of iGODA network (Reunion Island/Sub Saharan Africa), Member of Arterial Network (South Africa), Member of Culture Connections Africa (US/Africa) and Steering Committee Member CultureCOP among others.

Where are you based?

I am based in Uganda on a small Island called Lunkulu that is on the shores of Lake Victoria, the biggest fresh-water lake in the world.

Where do you work? What do you do?

I work with the Bayimba Foundation (bayimba.org), which is an organisation I started in 2006 as a retired artist. As the Artistic Director, I am responsible for the programming and the sustainability of the organisation, strategic focus and day-to-day management. I have recently added to my responsibility to develop a capital campaign for the development of the Bayimba Center for Visual and Performing Arts.

What are you listening to?

I listen to a lot of different music from different regions around the world. I am super fond of the oriental sounds of the MENA region with artists like Mecan Dede, Double Moon, etc, to the Hollywood soundtracks of Hans Zimmer, James Horner, James Newton Howard etc – to the Africanistas, Baba Maal, Youssou Ndour, Salif Keita, Ali Keita, Omar Sousa etc… and my own East African sounds too.

How do you discover new music?

From friends, iTunes/Apple Music but also as a Festival programmer – I visit a lot of music markets and festivals like WOMEX, Midem, Babal Med, Visa For Music, IOMMA, the Atlantic Music Expo and Festivals like Sziget, Roskilde, Sakifo, Azgo, Bush Fire etc… I find watching artists on stage gives every programme the comfort to guarantee the artists the book.

What formats do you usually listen to? LP, CD, Cassette, Digital, Streaming Services? Why?

I have a CD Catalogue of over 2,000 CDs from all different genres and most of them I have collected over the past 15 years of visiting music markets. My collection also includes a few LPs, Cassettes and yes, it has also become very much easier to listen to music online – I have been streaming off of iTunes for the past 10 years.

Where do you do most of your music listening?

I mainly stream while working off my laptop to my Bluetooth JBL… and mostly after work and before bed.

How do you find and listen to pre-release music?

I also manage the Orchard Distribution platform in Uganda where my company, Bayimba Productions, works with Sony and The Orchard in collecting digital royalties for artists. Through that, we organise a lot of pre-album or singles releases. So I get to listen in that sense. Besides that, I also listen to the Transglobal World Music platform and others.

What are your frustrations with listening to music digitally? Any benefits?

When it comes to digital music streaming – I am mainly on iTunes (Apple Music) with a monthly subscription and creating my own playlists on iTunes. The frustrations come in when you do not download the song and you are off the internet but the benefit is I can listen to a million songs for the same monthly subscription fee.

How do you keep track of everything you are listening to?

I have my favourite artist Essentials that are downloaded on my iTunes account but also create my personal playlists of my favourite songs that I share with family and friends as well as keeping a tab on them.

Byta delivers fast and secure audio sharing

With Byta you are in control of your music.

Read More

Do you tip other people off to new music? How?

Yes… most times. Especially family, my staff and close friends. Through messages and telling them personally!

Anything you want to “promote”?

Yes, we have some really wonderful Local artists from Uganda like Naava Grey, Azawi, Cindy Sanyu, Jemimah, Chinobe, Joel Sebunjo, Kenneth Mugabi, Maurice Kirya – Msafiri Zawose, Nelson Mandela (Kenyan Artist) etc.

Related Interviews