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A passion for sound: Three questions for Alexander Ninsiima

Alexander Ninsiima is the technical manager of the Lab Uganda music truck. Like a kind of “mini Gasteig”, the truck supports cultural life in the BidiBidi refugee camp in Uganda. As our guest in Munich, Alex looked over the shoulders of the Gasteig team for a fortnight and learned all about our whole range of events – from Gregory Porter to death metal. He, in turn, introduced us to the music and culture of Uganda.

A young colored man, dressed in African garb, stands in a doorway.
Visit from Uganda: Alex from Lab Uganda introduced us to the culture and music of his home country. Copyright: Benedikt Feiten/Gasteig

Alex, what do you like about your job?

I could never decide on an instrument. I liked the piano, the guitar, the violin and the drums, but was never very persistent at practising. Sound engineering just called to me. It allows me to experience many different styles and I feel that I have the most to contribute in this area. I am especially pleased when I can pass something on. I’m already looking forward to sharing what I’ve learned here at the Gasteig.


What’s the biggest difference between the music culture of Uganda and here?
In the traditional cultures and communities of Uganda, there is no distinction between performers and audience. Everyone is involved and has a function, be it through singing or drumming. Everyone must find their role. It is unthinkable that one person stands on stage and the others listen quietly and then applaud!


Is there anything that surprised you on your visit? What was your strangest experience?
Strange? Let me think. Oh yes, that sausage that you’re only allowed to eat before a certain time of day: the Weisswurst. I was sitting at lunch with your colleagues, and when they told me about this I thought: oh no, now I’ve broken a rule. That’s one of the things I found funny – but also kind of cool.

Musicians play a concert in the truck on a fold-out stage
The Lab Uganda mobile music truck supports cultural life in the BidiBidi refugee camp. Copyright: Geoffroy Schied/MUSIC CONNECTS e. V.
Paul Röttinger and Gasteig boss Max Wagner making music together with Alex Ninsiima from Uganda.
Sharing knowledge: Our intern Alex Ninsiima introduced us to Ugandan culture. On the congas: Paul Röttinger and Max Wagner Copyright: Benedikt Feiten/Gasteig

We want your old instruments!

The Gasteig collects instruments for Lab Uganda