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Uganda: Cindy Sanyu becomes first woman to play Lugogo Cricket Oval

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Ugandan singer Cindy Sanyu recently made history as the first woman to play at Lugogo Cricket Oval in Kampala, Uganda.

Cindy Sanyu performing alongside her backing vocalists at the Boom Party concert.
Speaking to Music In Africa, she said the Lugogo concert was held to inspire young women in Uganda.

“The primary goal of staging the concert was to demonstrate to young women in music that they can achieve anything,” Sanyu said. “They are allowed to dream as big as they want as long as they are willing to put in the work. Women need to realise that they don’t have to follow the set rules and block out the negativity of the industry, and just stand on their own feet.”

Sanyu said she had received backlash after declaring her reasons for playing at the venue.

“When I made the news public, some people said that I was being stupid and proud, while others said that I should stick to a smaller venue, ‘because she is a was woman’,” Sanyu said.

“I have been in the industry for 15 years and I thought for all my hard work I should challenge myself and do something new. There have been female musicians before me who had tried to secure the venue with no success. I saw that as a challenge and was able to secure it against all the odds.”

Asked about the biggest challenge that female musicians in Uganda face, Sanyu said: “There is a lot of sexism and politics. Most of the time, the best never make it to the limelight because they are lazy artists who put no effort in their work. But because they have connections, their music gets on rotation and the public assumes they are the best.

“This has encouraged the release of substandard music and that’s why there is not much creativity around. My advice to women is that they should surround themselves with influencers – people who can help push their music to the next level. They should never conform to the trends in the industry. Make good music and it will eventually pay off.”

Sanyu’s Lugogo Cricket Oval event, titled Boom Party , took place on 7 March. Other performers of the night included Maro, Kent and Flosso, Karole Kasita, Rabadaba and Silver X from South Sudan.

“It’s never a dull moment whenever Sanyu is on stage with her live band,” Silver X said. “I have been her fan for many years and witnessed her grow into the superstar that she is. I have a lot of respect for her because she has been at the top of an industry dominated by men for over a decade.

“Lugogo Cricket Oval is not a small venue and she made history on the weekend. I hope her move will inspire female artists to be courageous, not just in Uganda but also in East Africa and the continent.”

Lugogo Cricket Oval has previously hosted headliners Wizkid, Patoranking, Rudeboy, Jose Chameleone, Bebe Cool, Bobi Wine, Konshens, Christopher Martin, D’Major and Anthony B, among many others.

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