Clandestino Festival 12-15 Juni 2003

In co-operation with a number of cultural institutions and artistic and intellectual networks, BWANA CLUB organised the first CLANDESTINO FESTIVAL at various venues in Gothenburg during 12-15 June, 2003. Clandestino Festival has been conceived as a regular event. The festival features music from the urban cultural environments created out of the waves of global migration during the late 20th century.

Some very progressive, politically conscious and engaging groups took part in the first festival including the hiplife group, Buk Bak from Ghana, and the electronic oud group DuOud from France. Cult figures Aki Nawaz and Dave Watts from the British group Fun^da^mental also performed, as did Baul Shilpi from Bangladesh, and Palestinian Kamilya Jubran who, in the audio-visual exhibition Mahattaat, collaborated with Sara Murica, Michael Spahr and Werner Hasler. In addition, a number of progressive Swedish groups participated like Nazarenes, Kingston Air Force, Giddabush, Christer Bothén, Rani Nair, Maria Naidu, Ebou Nyass, Sarjo Bah, Ashar Y Khan, Said Belhaj, Dj Def Lef, Dj Ben Jamin, and Dj Mleccha, among others.

Besides its manifest musical and entertainment content, the Clandestino Festival has a lot to offer in the artistic, philosophical and political arenas as well. It includes philosophy seminars, poetry readings, exhibitions, film screenings and various other forms of event that put cultural issues into critical focus.

One underlying theme of the first festival the case of PETER EKWIRI--the man from Uganda who was repatriated to Ghana by the Swedish immigration authorities after his application for asylum in Sweden had been rejected. His plight was taken up in Erik Sandberg and Andreas Rocksén's film Fortet Europa.

Bwana Club interviewed Peter Ekwiri in James Fort Prison in Ghana on 6-7 February, 2003. The interview was sent to a number of the musicians who were invited to the festival. It provokes us to think about multiculturalism in a different way, and contrasts the current preoccupation with seeing other cultures as different and exotic. The festival relates, therefore, not only to recent migration movements and the multicultural diversity that characterises Gothenburg--one of Europe's most segregated cities. It also strives to challenge the most common forms of expression used to represent cultural differences, and highlight the consequences of these representations for migrants.

Through DJ sessions, concerts, literary and visual events BWANA CLUB has, both theoretically and practically, developed a critique of contemporary forms of colonial classification relating to the manufacture of culture in Western countries.

In terms of different genres of music, the focus has been on the dynamic relationship between raï, bhangra, kwaito, hip life, gnawa, hip hop, qawwali, ragga, roots, dub, and breakbeat. These musical styles, which have been increasingly in the limelight in the club scene in recent years, are often clumped together under terms like "ethnic" or "world music", in line with the old colonial systems of classification. Despite the growing interest in new urban music and respect for different traditions, Gothenburg and Västra Götalandsregionen have missed a number of innovative live acts that have performed in other Nordic cities. It's important that this shortcoming in Western Sweden's cultural life is addressed.