The Miami-based recording artist Suzi Analogue is in the midst of a world tour and has just unveiled a new video for “LOUDR,” her first foray into electropunk, which stars the professional skateboarder Beatrice Domond. While she is in demand across the globe—and will shortly take off for Seoul, where she will begin the Asian leg of her tour—Analogue is now in Kampala, Uganda, a city that she has recently devoted a lot of time and energy.
She originally traveled to Uganda in 2015 as a cultural diplomat on behalf of a state department program called Next Level; there, she hosted a beat-making and production workshop at a youth center. She kept in touch with many of her pupils, even helping one launch a street-art festival. Earlier this year, one former student put Analogue in touch with the organizers of Nyege Nyege festival, a music festival with ties to a local record label. Analogue had wanted to go back to the city anyway, and she secured one of the festival’s month-long residency programs, which she completed in mid-September.
In Kampala, Analogue worked with Ugandan artist and synthesizer maker Afrorack to create a new electronic instrument from recycled VHS tapes. She also collaborated with local designer Brian Sonko, who heads up the Kampala-based brand SONCO, on a custom kimono, which is one of her signature garments. Sonko’s sustainable designs rework the traditional Ugandan fabric called barkcloth, which, she says, is “traditionally a ceremonial fabric that’s actually made from a certain tree bark [the inner bark of the Mutuba tree].” Older generations know about the textile—it’s made using a prehistoric technique that predates even the invention of weaving—but younger millennials don’t. “He’s now pairing it with denim. He’s thinking of modern ways to use it,” Analogue says.
Sonko met Analogue during her last trip to Uganda, and they bonded after he invited her over for a studio visit. “I already had my festival looks made by Suzette Guy, who creates all of my live outfits, but I thought it would be great to have something made here with the energy of this place,” Analogue shares. “We planned for a kimono, but one that told a story about Afro-futurism.” The two met up to gather textiles at the downtown market. Sonko created a piece with an athletic, surreal edge that fit Analogue’s future-leaning aesthetic well. “He even threw my logo on the back, which he got screen printed.” Since this initial collaboration, Analogue has been consulting him on his fledgling brand; Analogue says that working as a fashion designer in Kampala poses unique challenges, as the city’s fashion market is more geared to reselling American goods and secondhand clothing from other countries. “New designs aren’t what people gravitate towards,” Analogue says. “I just want to help him because he’s a really great designer.”
Analogue felt like she solidified her connection to Uganda on her recent trips. When she performed at the festival, she enlisted the help of a beatbox crew called Human Audio, which is made up of 15 of her former students. For their joint performance, she outfitted each of them in one-of-a-kind pieces from an upcycled clothing collection that she made last year. “I left those pieces with them,” Analogue says. “It’s really just continuing African-centric innovation and diasporic collaboration—that’s really the center of my practice right now,” she says. “That’s really the center of my endeavors in general—just reconnecting the diaspora and the continent through art, music, and creative projects.”
Originally Appeared on Vogue