Florian Sievers of Bomaye!

The new party series BOMAYE! brings you beats of contemporary, hip, urban Africa. Bass music, programmed rhythms, African electronic club music, from Mali to Kenya, from Nigeria to South Africa, from Kuduro and Coupé-Décalé to Balani Show, Bacardi House or Gqom. Traditions get carried on – in digital forms. It’s still the motherland, but forget about your clichés! BOMAYE! is programmed by Daniel Haaksman and Florian Sievers.

Guest of their first night at ACUD Club is no one less than MBITHI from “Kenya’s first internet sensation” JUST A BAND. In a panel discussion/book presentation from 21H, Mbithi and Florian Sievers discuss the phenomenon of Just A Band, his forthcoming movie, Nairobi’s club music scenes, and the latest changes and developments in Kenyan society. Afterwards Mbithi and Florian take turns DJing electronic club music from African countries. We asked Florian Sievers five questions about their new series.

What does “Bomayé” mean?

“Bomayé!” is Lingala for “Kill him!” Originally this was the battle cry for Muhammad Ali when he fought George Foreman during the “Rumble in the Jungle” in the Congolese capital Kinshasa in 1974. Congolese people found Foreman too Westernized and arrogant, they became followers of the more leftist, Black Power promoting Ali’s and pushed him by shouting „Ali, boma ye!“. This later became a parole for African pride: “Bomayé!” But of course we are only going to kill people on the dancefloor.

How do you know Daniel?

After all Berlin is not so big, so you tend to cross each other’s paths after having worked in the city for a while. I have followed and liked Daniel’s work as a DJ and producer as well as a journalist for years. And his new LP “African Fabrics” has finally made me a real fan. For me it proved that we are following a similar path, exploring the lively, crazy, extremely energetic club cultures of some African cities. But except for me dancing half-naked behind Daniel deejaying during a pool party in Angola’s capital Luanda we have never really cooperated. Now Daniel and I are going to take turns in inviting interesting guests and hosting the BOMAYE! evenings as resident DJs.

What kind of music is gonna be played at BOMAYE!?

Not what many people might still expect from what they might roughly summarize as “African music”. We’d like to paint a different picture of Africa and at least some of its cultures. In the last couple of years there have been ever more “Good News from Africa”, to quote an old record by South African piano player Dollar Brand. Most people are still poor, yes, and there are still plenty of crises and catastrophes around. But at the same time in many cities the middle class is growing, via the internet these people are connected to the rest of the world, they are as hipster as you can get, and when they go out they often dance to incredibly interesting club music mutations. This music is what BOMAYE! is about: avantgarde electronic music from Africa. Stuff you don’t often get to hear in Berlin. So expect some serious beats, some serious bass and some serious fun.

Could you tell us about the book to be presented by Mbithi?

“Just A Book” is a beautiful artist monograph of Nairobi’s Just A Band. They are not only some of the biggest pop stars of East Africa but also a very active DIY artist collective – and as such a perfect example of the new electronic music hipsters we have just talked about. They not only write and record their songs but also design their own covers, shoot their own videos and do video art as well as street art. “Just A Book”, which has just been published by East Africa’s leading book publishers Contact Zones NRB, presents them by way of essays, sketches, video stills, photos, interviews and fiction writing plus a CD of previously unreleased music. Of course the book will be on sale during the event. So if you’d like to get an idea of what street art and underground club pop in East Africa might look and sound like at the moment, this is for you.

Are you fans of Just A Band?

During my trips to Nairobi/Kenya I inevitably ran into their works – and into the very kind and friendly and most interesting artists behind these works of course. What followed were nerdy discussions about music and technology, from Norwegian free jazz to Madlib’s excursions into Africa. I love these guys, just like hundreds of thousands of Kenyans do.