Sidney makes it in Tilburg

Inspiration does not fall from the sky, it is in the street. Those who keep looking can pick it up in an instant and set something in motion. The living proof is Sidney Marte. As a living spark, he moves through Tilburg to light creative fires. He warms up the city with music, events and positive energy. He is like a bridge between chorus and verse, a link between two chain reactions, a booster, instigator, founder. Meet Sidney, aka Sid, aka kenjedie.

A handful of braids swing happily up and down while a clunky bass propels the rest of his body parts, clad in what looks like a breezy summer dress. It's Solar Weekend 2014 and Sidney Marte is whipping up the crowd as frontman of the Banganagangbangers. We sit opposite Sidney, version 2022, and watch the video together. He laughs. "Yes, this was Solar, one of our first festival shows. My old neighbour heard we were to perform and had made me a cooking apron with the Bangana logo and everything. Of course, she never thought I would put it on at a show. That also shows how seriously we took ourselves back then, and that was also our strength."

Banganagangbangers started as an out-of-control joke and became so much more than that. "More and more serious bookings came in, then we said to each other: let's see how far we get with this." The answer? Pretty far. So they played at WOO HAH!, We Are Electric and more than 200 other shows. But as we wrote earlier in talking to fellow gangbanger Frank Klick, the Banganagangbangers no longer bang as a gang. But the bangana remained intact. 

Studio Bangana

Sidney and Frank continue the collective's philosophy at Studio Bangana, a makerspace where the creative juices can flow freely. "We describe Studio Bangana as a safe place to be bold. It is a platform where we give creatives the freedom to develop themselves. We give as few frameworks as possible, you get to choose how you fill it."

Studio Bangana hosts the Lil' Boats at WOO HAH! (R.I.P), they build and programme the electronic stage at Jera on Air ánd organise an evening at the Nachtzuster in Tilburg once every fortnight. Three different concepts, one philosophy: creative freedom. "It's funny to see how easy things go when you are yourself, for Frank and me then. We do what we think is cool and important, and people come naturally to that." 

From that authenticity, they invite people to discover their own thing. "Studio Bangana at the Night Sister is characterised by the open booth set-up. Anyone with a USB stick or records can grab their spot there. Sometimes you have a night where jungle, classical, Dutch and disco alternate. Those open decks are literally a way of us saying: whatever you do, it's good." In addition, the free approach serves another purpose: surprise. Every night is different and every night is fresh. Exactly what they want to achieve with Studio Bangana, away from conventions. "Many parties and concepts are pre-chewed: this is what to expect, the line-up is pap pap pap, the sound is tat tat tat. We have more of an attitude: come walk through that door and be surprised. I think that is very rare; in that discomfort, the unpredictability, there is magic."


He also seeks that magic within his job at Fontys University of the Arts, where he stimulates the curiosity of young creators. "I'm working here on the Curiosity Café. I engage with artists and performers to see how tech can help their makerhood. I always say: tech is not a goal, it's a tool." At the café, students can get hands-on with AR and VR techniques, there is a virtual stage, motion tracking, project mapping and a podcasting space. Within the frameworks provided by technology, Sidney and his students embark on a cross-disciplinary exploration. "I hope this will allow cross-pollination to take place in an accessible way. Between different techniques, but also disciplines. We have a unique college where all arts disciplines are under one roof, so it should be possible here."


Sidney facilitates, but equally enjoys playing in the cultural field himself. Under the name kenjedie, he makes R&B with a flavourful alt-pop sauce. In 2019, he stepped into the music world on his own two feet. "It was exciting to continue on my own. But as a result, I have experienced tremendous growth precisely because you have to do it on your own." To that "by yourself", Sidney adds a small asterisk, because in Tilburg, you never have to do it alone. "I share my studio with Frank (Klick, ed). James Castelijn, producer of Banganagangbangers, mixed and mastered all my records. I have collaborated with Joël Domingos and Timm. In Tilburg, there is always someone willing to collaborate." But even if he were mother-soul alone, Sidney would not stop making music. It's not in his system. "I already know that I will keep making music forever, that's my therapy. I can put everything in my music: things that bother and inspire me, things that have happened and are going to happen."

Stad van Makers

One thing that is going to happen, according to Sidney, is that Tilburg is growing to great heights. The breeding ground for makers in the city is sprouting more and more sprouts that can grow together alongside the rooted names. "Tilburg has potential to get on the map nationally and internationally as a city of makers. We are still in our infancy now, but many people and organisations are working to take it in that direction. Think of the Kraakkelder, Metro, Ateliers Tilburg, Draaimolen, De Pont museum, Fontys FHK, but certainly also the municipality. At the moment they are still mostly islands, but we are soon going to see a lot of crossovers where we can grow together."

But to grow big, we must also learn to keep it small, close to ourselves. "We have to keep encouraging authenticity here. For me, that is the source of a sustainable cultural environment. It starts with discovering your own 'self'. Anything that comes out of that is beautiful."

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