When Yoga master, Jaggi Vasudev, better known as Sandhuguru visited Uganda last year, a performance by a 25-year-old had him on his feet, dancing! And today, the young man, a multi-talented Ugandan Afro-fusion singer-songwriter and instrumentalist, will be at it again.
Giovanni Kiyingi (pictured top), better known as just Giovanni, has been chosen to perform at a landmark yoga event in India, and maybe the yoga master will dance again.
The event dubbed ‘The unveiling of a 112 foot tall face of the Adiyogi Shiva– the source of yoga’, will be telecast live in seven languages to over 500 million people globally.
An elated Giovanni, who will also be performing live for the one million people slated to attend the festival, attributed this opportunity to his belief in folk music.
“What we believe in, what I also believe in is our culture as Ugandans and Africans,” he begins. “That’s what I spread all over the world and that’s what we are taking to millions of people in India.”
He chooses to use this as a lesson to other artistes who think sounding Ugandan will not get you audience outside of Uganda.
“The lesson to fellow artists that we can play our sound and travel the world, we do not need to abandon who we are to other cultures,” he says.
Giovanni, also one of the singers chosen to welcome Pope Francis to Uganda in 2015, believes this opportunity could not have happened to a better troupe; Rockies Troupe.
Note that only recently, the group emerged winner of Ekkula Pearl of Africa Tourism Award, for its catchy truly Ugandan dance moves. This, he says, should be a chance for the troupe, whose members are mostly youth from disadvantaged back-grounds, to showcase their talent.
Asked what the world should expect this Thursday, Giovanni, whose album Amakondeere excites crowds in major events like Blankets and Wines, quickly bursts into description.
“Real African rhythms and sounds!” he exclaims.
“We have designed a wonderful costume which will depict a true Africa being, and blended it with most of our local instruments, giving a chance each to be hard and then mixing them all, we are certain that we shall blow away their brains.”