Tag Archives: Uganda

Artist Profiles: Maurice Kirya

Maurice Kirya

Maurice Kirya is a singer-songwriter and guitarist from Uganda. Kirya likes to call his music fusion soul because of the way he fuses African percussions, African vocals with western and eastern influence.

Kirya has performed with Moussa Diallo (Mali), 2 Face Idibia (Nigeria), Yvonne Chaka Chaka (S. Africa), Indigenous (Belgium) Susanna Owiyo (Kenya), AY (Tanzania) among many. “I would like to hold workshops with musicians in every festival I attend, so we can rehearse a song that calls for peace throughout the world.”

Kirya was born into a musical family, almost all his siblings are singers. He grew up singing in school choirs, gospel churches, and later on joined non-government organizations were he reached out to educate the youth through music about HIV AIDS and raising money for open heart surgeries in Uganda

Discography:

Misubbaawa (2009)

The book of Kirya (2012)

Mwooyo (2015)

Free Dreams (2017)

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Artist profiles: Sebunjo Joel

Sebunjo Joel

Born on 20th August 1984 in Kampala, Uganda Sebunjo Joel is in the 14th lineage of the mamba generation. He has studied and perfomed Ganda music since the age of six.

Sebunjo comes from the Buganda kingdom whose history dates back as far as the 17th century. He hails from the Madfish clan which is the largest since time immemorial.

Sebunjo is a dynamic endongo (8 stringed ganda lyre) and endere (4-hole bamboo ganda flute) player. He also plays the 12 slab Amadinda among others.

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Artist profiles: Sarah Ndagire

Sarah Ndagire

Sarah Ndagire was born and raised in Uganda. Ndagire has actively participated in the field of African music dance and culture. Ndagire has come up with many original compositions that have been famous son many radio stations TV and stages in Uganda.

She has worked with several theatre organizations and bands especially in Uganda while advocating for the support of discovering the roots of world music in Uganda.

Ndagire is one of the few outstanding performers in Uganda who speak quite a number of folk languages from Uganda which is a big opportunity for her to share her talent with many ethnic groups, communities and societies.

On the other hand, Ndagire has for a long time worked with children and older persons hence sharing knowledge through oral Education. She is actively involved in traditional folklore of story telling by telling traditional stories and Legends as another way through which she promotes African culture to all parts of the world.

Discography:

Katitira (2006)
Train (2008)
A taste of Uganda (2011)

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Artist profiles: Samite

Samite

Samite Mulondo was born and raised in Uganda but left as a political refugee in 1982 following his brother’s death. He spent some time playing with the popular African Heritage Band and the Bacchus Club Jazz Band. During this period Samite studied Ugandan traditional musical instruments and rhythms with passion.

After only a few years, he mastered the kalimba (thumb-piano), marimba (wooden xylophone), litungu (seven-stringed Kenyan instrument) and various flutes, both traditional and western. Combining these melodious instruments he mesmerized audiences with his original compositions and eventually played solo at the Mount Kenya Safari Club.

Samite emigrated to the United States in 1987 and now resides in Ithaca, New York. Since his arrival, he has produced several albums. These recordings conjure dream-like images and folk tales and images from his native land. They contain a collection of joyful melodic multicultural songs featuring kalimba melodies which are the foundation of Samite’s music.

In 1998 Samite signed with Windham Hill Records and worked on compilations with Will Ackerman and one of his favorite Windham Hill artists, George Winston. Samite was featured on two of Windham Hill’s popular releases “Sound of Wind Driven Rain” and “Summer Solstice II.”

Samite spent the summer of 1999 traveling through parts of Africa, filming a PBS documentary titled “Song of the Refugee.” This documentary captured his first visit to Uganda since he left in 1982 and was inspired by his desire to present African refugees’ hopes for the future in spite of the loss and suffering they have endured. The coverage focused on the violence and destruction taking place in Samite’s native land as well as a cry for reconciliation and a healing process.

Samite’s 2003 CD, Tunula, written and recorded during the last year of his beloved wife Joan’s life, is an album of celebration of all that makes us human: love, loss, endurance hope. It is a joyous album conveying optimism through stories and songs. Indeed, these songs are a reflection of life itself: the innocent wonder of childhood (Kite Kitere), motherhood (Yangu Ni Yako), marriage (Mwatu), village life (Maama Yi Baaba), politics (Obubaka), peace (Agalilala) and everlasting love (Tunula Eno)

Samite reflects on these experiences as well as many other elements of his homeland while captivating audiences by performing soothing songs and dance from his and other African cultures.

Discography:

Dance My Children Dance (Shanachie Records, 1990)
Pearl of Africa Reborn (Shanachie Records, 1992)
Silina Musango (Xenophile Records, 1996)
Stars to Share (Windham Hill Records, 1999)
Kambu Angels (Wind Over Earth, 2001)
Tunula Eno (Triloka Records, 2003)
Embalasasa (Triloka Records, 2005)
My Music World (2012)
Trust, soundtrack (2012)
Samite Live (2012)
Another Side of Me (2016)
Resilience (Samite Music, 2018)

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Artist Profiles: Michael Bazibu

Michael Bazibu

Michael Bazibu is a Ugandan multi-instrumentalist and virtuoso adungu performer based in Kampala. He’s one of the lead musicians of the Ndere Troupe a cultural development organization that performs a repertoire of authentic Ugandan dances and songs accompanied by various indigenous percussive stringed and wind instruments.

Discography:

The Nile Project – Aswan (2013)

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Artist Profiles: Kaz Kasozi

Kaz Kasozi

Born in Uganda Kaz Kasozi is an artist who has horned his craft working with musicians and bands playing different genres of music from around the world since the age of sixteen.

He started music singing choral and traditional songs in his school’s performance troop in his home country of Uganda. In 1989 he moved to England where he got more freedom to express himself and opportunities to study music.

In the new free environment Kaz discovered his artistic voice and started to learn the piano and cello. On leaving school at sixteen he sought musical knowledge from self-teaching books and proceeded to teach himself the guitar, drums and bass guitar and later African percussion in particular Ugandan, Kenyan and Tanzanian rhythms.

He joined several funk soul and world fusion bands on the London live circuit as pianist, keyboard player, bassist, percussionist and backing vocalist. He has performed with legends such as Peewee Ellis and Congolese World music star Papa Wemba. He has performed at prominent venues such as the Jazz cafe National Theatre Momo’s to mention but a few in London and Cafe Alto in Amsterdam & the Zenith in Paris.

In 1998 he released his debut album The Quest. At this point he started to produce work for various World music artists and worked as a sound engineer for studios and live shows. To date Kaz has produced and/or arranged music for more than 30 artists. He has been credited on 67 World fusion releases. He has worked as music director for several bands and solo acts at venues such as the National Theatre the Royal Festival Hall (London) and the Zenith in Paris and has also run multi-cultural World music & multi-media workshops in schools in and around London.

Presently Kaz works as a freelance producer arranger workshop leader and new digital-media artist alongside developing a career as a world fusion solo performer. Naked and Blue was released by the independent label Madhead Kitchen.

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Artist Profiles: Kawesa

Kawesa

Kawesa is a celebrated Ugandan musician accompanied by his 7 piece Spirit of Africa world music African band from Kampala, Uganda. Their sound is reminiscent of Hugh Masekela, Youssou N’Dour, Salif Keita and Baaba Maal but with a healthy dose of funky original unique Ugandan live instrumentation from the African tube fiddle (Ndigindi) to the Ugandan Long drum (Ngalabi) rhythms.
Kawesa Richard was born on May 5th, 1977 in Entebbe, 25 miles southwest of the capital city Kampala in Uganda. At the age of 10 Kawesa (meaning The Songsmith) joined the award nominated African Children Choir in 1987. He toured 48 states in the USA and 6 out of 9 provinces in Canada until July 1989. While in the United States he was trained to sing by internationally renowned professional voice trainers like Gary Oliver and producers like Tom Keen.

On returning to Uganda, Kawesa joined high school in Toro Kingdom where he formed a band called Revival Flames. He received invitations to sing for the late king of Toro Omukama Kaboyo and different institutes of higher learning in and around Fort Portal a town 3-hours-drive away west of Uganda’s capital city Kampala.

In 1993 Kawesa joined another school in the capital Kampala where he brought together teenagers that were once members of the prestigious African Childrens Choir and they formed a band of 12 musicians under the name Young Africans. Under this band Kawesa was able to enhance his skills in song writing by writing most of the bands repertoire singing leads and producing the same.

By 1991 the Young Africans had drawn attention from Uganda’s First Lady Mrs. Janet Museveni and different 5 Star hotels like the Sheraton and Nile Hotels in the country.,We then got invitations to perform at The Presidential Prayer Breakfast” and at the Annual Youth conferences where over 1 youths attended at the Uganda Conference Center” says Kawesa.

It was during the same time that the group was invited to sing at a youth annual Easter camp in Nairobi Kenya between 1994 and 1996.

In 1996 Kawesa was signed onto Sync Sounds Studio and Kelele Records (A German label). The Kelele Record label is owned by P & G media services in German and is responsible for the mass production and international distribution of Kawesa’s first album called Yerere. By the time he released Yerere (African cry) he had worked on many international projects with charity organizations in Africa.

He sung and won East Africa’s leading star search singing competitions at Carnivore Nairobi.

Between 2001- 2004 he released several singles that were eventually compiled into his second 14-track album titled Spirit of Africa. The singles became hits in East Africa.

In April 2003 Kawesa founded and launched a group of artists commonly known as the Musicians Community that includes Orlando, Rachael Magoola, Jose Chameleon, Michael Ross, Titie, Juliana Kanyomozi, Bebe Cool and Halima who offer their time and energy to social work in Behavior Change Communication most especially in the fields of HIV/AIDS/STD Clean water sensitization and poverty eradication.

Still continuing his commitment to the development of his society through Staging Value-driven AIDS-awareness concerts in so far over 6 High Schools Universities and other Institutions of Higher Learning in Uganda.

After his highly publicized social efforts Kawesa was invited by the President’s office as well as Uganda Aids Commission to spearhead motivational speaking at the Presidential Youth Dialogue on HIV/AIDS in different parts of the country.

On April 2004 Kawesa and another popular musician Jose Chameleone joined hands and founded a non-profit organization whose patron is a retired Germany Ambassador to Uganda. The organization’s object is to rally support for the restoration of hope and peace in the lives of the disadvantaged. They started with the war torn Northern parts of Uganda. The project code-named3 Hours Away: Hope so near and yet so far mainly targets children youth and women.

On December 27th 2004 Kawesa organized the Foot Soldier Shukuru Concert for the 4th Battalion of UPDF stationed in Northern Uganda. This initiative was founded purposely to show civilian gratitude to the foot soldier for his/her effort in sacrificing for the country’s security and welfare.

The artist founded and is the elected President of Music Forum Foundation a non-profit making organization with over 15 established and up coming member musicians in Uganda. The main objective of this organization is to accelerate the development of the local music into a professional transparent and profitable for all industry through lobbying regulating and networking.

October 2005, Kawesa was commissioned by the Uganda government to compose & produce the music to accompany the new Brand Uganda adverts to run on CNN.

Kawesa was invited to the UK by renowned score composer Alex Heffes (music composer of films Touching the Void Parole Officer Last Day in September etc) to work on the sound tracks of a movie Last King of Scotland featuring Forest Whitaker Kerry Washington among others.

On March 2006 Kawesa finalized recording his 14-track 3rd album Kanimba.

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Artist Profiles: Geoffrey Oryema

Geoffrey Oryema

Geoffrey Oryema was born April 16, 1953 in Uganda. Every night, as a child in Kampala, Geoffrey Oryema would sit by his father’s side and listen to him playing the nanga, a seven-string harp. He was lucky enough to grow up absorbing both the folk music of his culture through traditional routes, and western techniques through his schooling. His father was a minister in Idi Amin’s government and the family’s position in Uganda’s ruling class proved disastrous.

In 1976 Geoffrey Oryema wrote a play titled “The Reign of Terror” that portrayed images of the atrocities Ugandans witnessed, during the Idi Amin Era. He formed and trained a semi-professional theatre troupe which he named Gong Gong.

Geoffrey was twenty-four in February 1977 when his father was secretly assassinated. Oryema escaped from Uganda to Kenya, where he presented his play at the French Cultural Centre Nairobi, in March. He left Nairobi, after this presentation, for his new home, Paris (France).

Exiled in France, Geoffrey perfected his lukeme (thumb piano), flute and nanga techniques. He also learned karate and earned a black belt.

In the fall of 1977, Oryema was hired as a musician and singer in a circus company owned by Jean Batiste Thierry and Victoria Chaplin, daughter of the renowned comedian and actor, Charlie Chaplin.

He later worked as a computer programmer but never forgot his passion for music. In 1990 he was signed by Real World Records. His first album titledExile came out that year, produced by Brian Eno.
Oryema was invited by Peter Gabriel to participate in the mega concert Nelson Mandela: An International Tribute for a Free South Africa at Wembley Stadium with an estimated audience of 78000, music fans.

The second album Beat The Border (1993), was also produced by Brian Eno.

During 1995, Oryema collaborated with other French artists, Manu Katche and Tonton David on the original soundtrack for the French film Un Indien Dans La Ville, with French film stars Thiery L’Hermitte, Patrick Timsitt, Miou Miou, Arielle Dombasle, and Jackie Beroyer.

Night To Night (RealWorld/Virgin Records), Oryema’s third album was released in 1996. It won the leading music award in France.

The 4th album, titled Spirit (Sony Music) came out in 2000. This was followed by Words (Next Music, 2004).

In 2009 Oryema recorded his sixth album, From the Heart at Real World, produced by Alex Swift.

His songs keep alive the languages of his youth – Swahili and ‘Acoli’ (pronounced ‘Acholi’) – and the folklore he learned when surrounded by storytellers, poets and singers at home.

Music accompanies everything in my culture. There is music for digging in your garden; to accompany the dead to their final resting place; if there is a visit by a head of state, it will be sung about. This music is not dead; it will never die. It is constantly changing, renewing itself. I even hear music when I am fixing a bug in a computer.’

Geoffrey Oryema died on June 22, 2018.

Discography:

Exile (Real World Records, 1990)
Beat The Border (Real World Records, 1993)
Night To Night (Real World Records/Virgin Records, 1996)
Spirit (Sony Music, 2000)
Words (Next Music, 2004)
From The Heart (Long Tale Recordings, 2010)

DVD:

Live 8 at Eden – Africa Calling (Real World/Rhino R2 9755, 2005)

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Artist Profiles: Bernard Kabanda

Bernard Kabanda

One of the highlights of 1999’s WOMAD UK and various USA festivals was Ugandan guitarist Bernard Kabanda. Born and nurtured in the harsh environment that surrounds Kampala, Bernard was king of Kadongo Kamu, a reinvention of an old African tradition of teaching by singing stories.

Swedish producer Sten Sandahl discovered Bernard Kabanda’s music in 1996 and took him to Europe to perform at the prestigious WOMAD world music festival in the UK in 1997. He returned in 1999.

AIDS was everywhere in Uganda, and Bernard’s songs offered comfort and advice for better living.

Shortly after his WOMAD tour, Bernard died tragically of AIDS. He was only 40 years old.

Discography:

Olugendo (Womad Select, 1999)

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