ONGEA! music summit goes virtual on 22 February


Kenya – ONGEA! has announced the speakers and discussion topics for its upcoming virtual music summit from 22 to 24 February. Delegates can register for free here.

The sixth edition of the trade event will run under the theme, Fast Forward Into the Future and address several industry issues. Among the topics that the organisers have lined up are So, We Were Disrupted! What Next? Taxation – a Blessing or a Curse? The New Normal? Royalties in Focus Where’s the Money? The Growth of Artivism in AfricaAccess to Credit for CreativesGlobal Opportunities for Eastern African Music, and No Shows?

ONGEA! founding director Mike Strano told Music In Africa that the event would aim to bring hope, purpose and structure to artists and industry professionals whose livelihoods have been impacted by the COVID-19 shutdown.

“Due to the potential health and financial risks of the pandemic, we had decided to cancel the 2021 Edition,” Strano said. “Fortunately, I was asked to speak in online versions of music markets last year, so I got some insights into the experiences available to delegates, as well as the technology involved.

“Going fully online has enabled us to reach a wider audience throughout Eastern Africa and the world, including international industry experts who are increasingly interested in the creativity emerging from the motherland, thus increasing the chance of collaborations and business.”

Confirmed speakers include singer Crystal Asige, music lecturer at Kenyatta University Duncan Wambugu, International Federation of the Phonographic Industry sub-Saharan regional director Angela Ndambuki, Trace Academia CEO Prejlin Naidoo, Mdundo CEO Martin Nielsen, Music Dish CEO Eric De Fontenay, Reeperbahn Festival showcase programme head Evelyn Sieber, and Society of Authors, Composers and Publishers of Music international development officer for Africa Akotchayé Okio.

Moderators include Music In Africa Foundation executive director Eddie Hatitye, Amnesty International Kenya programme manager Gregg Tendwa, Creative Enterprise Centre CEO David Muriithi and Mookh Africa director George Gachui.

Tendwa said The Growth of Artivism in Africa panel discussion would concentrate on questions about freedom and creativity and address the various conditions that lead great minds to take courageous action.

“We notice a surge in the use of art to challenge power across the continent,” he said. “In Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Sudan and beyond, artists are speaking truth to power, inspiring resistance movements, mobilising for protests and contesting for political power. The trend is growing bigger and bolder. This panel will discuss this surge and the state of freedom of expression, especially for artists at risk of persecution.”

Gachui said his panel would attempt to answer whether streaming can make money for artists, how artists can monetise social media, and the exchange between artists and brands in terms of endorsement deals.

“I am excited to be on a panel of international professionals who will shed some light and insight into where the money is in a world with no shows,” Gachui said.

There will also be showcases and a session with local and international delegates ­titled Be Present Everywhere, which will be facilitated by Robert Singerman, senior vice-president for international publishing at Global Music Partnership.

“Thanks to the ONGEA! team for bringing Be Present Everywhere Intros and Connections #9 to Africa for the first time,” Singerman said. “With a long, personal history and love of music and the music community from Africa, it is an honour, and we’re here to learn, network, give back and participate.”

Strano said the showcasing artists would be announced soon.


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