Friday, February 9, 2018

Perspective | A case for Weasel


1. Achieve something by use of cunning or deceit. e.g: "she suspects me of trying to weasel my way into his affections".

Critics literally take this meaning to describe Weasel's role in the once dynamic duo that was Goodlyfe.

"He can't sing", they say.

But Weasel isn’t supposed to. He is a singjay. Forget the grammar. His style is ragamuffin. And ragamuffins are freestyle by default.

A ragamuffin style may have a mix of elements of Jamaican patois, Naija pidgin and anything else in between. He may flow so well, but he doesn't have to rhyme.

Now, take a look at this;

Mubendabye yasinga, first grade mwayitira /
First class mwobeera, mwobeera, mwobeera /
Awansiiwa wantakudde, nebwembeera ntamidde /
Nga sikumye budde, tambuza gyenvudde /

- Weasel’s verse, Fitting (Radio and Weasel ft. Desire Luzinda)

I used to think that you want my money /
Girl you make me turn girl, I dream over honey /
Give you everything, I'll take you far away /
Girl you’re the girl, you'll earn my pay /
You pull me up, like magnet to metal /
Sexy girl, you deserve a gold medal /

- Weasel’s verse, Magnetic (Radio and Weasel)

Me say, me know she want me, yeah she want me /
She wanna wan’ me, kiss and caress me /
Long time she want me, wanna be my honey /
Spend all di money, make love in di morning /
She a right type of girl, she a princess /
She wanna be my only one and me empress /
Shaka she want, she want in excess /
Excess like a princess, she restless /

- Weasel’s verse, Where you are (Radio and Weasel ft. Blue*3)

Even in all this, he still attempts to rhyme. Maybe it was a case of living quite close to Radio. So he got the Radio effect. Maybe it wasn’t. But his style breaks the would-be monotony of the duo’s music, giving it a dynamic feel.

A welcome ingredient, it certainly exposes self-styled music fanatics who still believe Weasel’s only contribution to Goodlyfe music was that trademark intro. The seemingly monotonous "bibiri bibiri bibiri, bomb scare!"

This post is sponsored by the association of the proud owners medium-blue Toyota Spacio "New Model".


Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Perspective | Joe Kadenge

Kadenge, Joe. In some Ugandan townships, mention of the word "Kadenge" evokes gory images of the black, infamous police patrol pickups. Very few know that the Japanese automobile derives its "surname" from one once famous (and now retired) Kenyan footballer.

He was a feared striker for AFC Leopards (Abaluhya Football Club) and the Kenyan national team, terrorizing defences and scoring lots of goals. Kadenge particularly tortured Uganda in the 1958 Gossage (now CECAFA) cup, a game that saw Harambe Stars emerge 2-0 victors.

His goal-scoring exploits saw some baby boys born around or a few years after his retirement (1970) named after him. Unofficially, Kadenge had become an East African name.

As if to emphasize how dreaded those police pickups were, some creative Ugandans nicknamed them Kadenge, perhaps likening them to the terror Kadenge imposed on defenders of opposing teams.

Now senile and frail at 82, he is currently in the English city of Manchester for the 60th commemoration of the 1958 Munich plane crash that saw as many as eight Manchester United footballers perish (he is a Manchester United fan).

If you live in Manchester and you happen to know where Sir Alex Ferguson stays, please look for this (our) Kenyan broda and help him meet his idol. He'd like to do this before he returns to Nairobi.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Q &A | On Mowzey Radio, In response to Timothy Kalyegira

This was posted in response to a facebook post by Timothy Kalyegira. In the post, Timothy sought to pick Ugandans' minds on their perception and understanding of Radio and Weasel's music. 

Q: Describe the music of Radio & Weasel. Its themes, structure and lyrical content.

A: Genre: Varied. They did reggae (Breathe away, Let’s go home, Somesa eggwanga), Zouk (Kuku, Niwe Yahweh), Afro-pop (Talk and talk, One in a million, Five Star girl, Bring me back) and ragga (Magnetic, I am in love), among others.

a. Love and relationships: Nkwagala, bread and butter, I am in love (ft. Lillian Mbabazi), leesu, number emu), Mutima (ft. Serena Bata), Heart attack, Tonoonya (ft. Desire Luzinda), Ntunga
b. Party/happy-go-lucky: Play it again (ft DJ. Pius), Paradise (ft locomotives, Aziz Azion, Sizzaman)
c. Gospel: Omanyi Mukama, Tambula nange, Mukama nyongera amanyi.
d. "Defiance": Mainly aimed at their detractors ("haters"). Kamilla the teacher, Talk and talk, Lwaki Tokula, Kiduula.

Structure: Their structure has been in two main types: Intro/Verse/Chorus/Verse (ABA) and Verse/Chorus/Bridge (ABC).

The chosen structure was sometimes dependent on the number of artistes featuring on the song or the duration.

Increased radio commercialization has since meant that long songs are no longer fashionable for regular programming. So sometimes a bridge is sacrificed if a song is to still remain under or slightly over 4 minutes. This also tends to be the same case for songs that feature more than 4 artistes (Mr. DJ, Paradise, I am so high).

Lyrical Content: Sometimes Informal and freestyle (with use of slang, patois or otherwise – such as "I am so high"). Sometimes Rhyming (Omanyi Mukama, Let’s connect). Or both rhyming and witty wordplay (Bread and butter).

Q: Was Radio a great songwriter? A good but not great songwriter? An average songwriter? Explain in some detail your reply.

A: Great songwriter. When writing music, he read the mood and decided what type of lyrics would be fit for a particular occasion or person.

It’s the reason he could write songs like Bikoola and Mazzi n’ekyenyanja for Irene Ntale (with cheeky, playful lyrics), but couldn’t do the same kind of lyrics for Juliana in songs like Engule and Twalina Omukwano (more mature lyrics).

He read his audience’s minds. This, I believe, is the reason his interspersing of Luganda and English gave his music a crossover appeal, attracting both the downtown and upscale audience.

His lyrics were catchy and captivating; his storytelling, systematically structured.

In "Mama", his starts his story from imaginations of his mum as a pretty, young and innocent girl, doing everything young girls love; the right-colored dresses, kids' niceties and the kind.

The way he recounts the little things she did for her makes the listener get hooked, having the picture Radio wanted to convey. He makes you imagine the "ka-jacket" his mum gave him was gold-coated.

By the time he stresses her name ("Jane-eeh, yeah. Kasubo Jane!"), one cannot help but see an effort of grateful child. A son who still treasures mum's hustle. An artiste creatively telling a story.

Sometimes he rhymed. Sometimes he flowed naturally, with witty word play and freestyle poetry. The samples below, from some of his songs, highlight the flow of his creativity;

Your beauty, I've never seen with my eyes /
Your meant for me, see my perfect size /
Come with me let's roll the love dice /
I'm clean and fresh, I don't disguise /
I'm not the guy like those other guys /
They'll mess around and break your heart /
I'll love you even when you gain weight /
I'm still gonna love you when your hair turns gray /
Onfumbire enyige,nkufumbire eminwe /
I'm still gonna love you when your hair turns gray /
(Breathe Away, Radio and Weasel)

Then this:
You're not designed so fine like wedding cake /
If you're not meant to be with me you are fake /
Do you want to put this nation at stake? /
You want to bake me or they make me crispy bread /
Eh! or you want to juicy juicy like T-born stake /
(Juicy, Radio and Weasel)

And this:

Everybody needs one another /
You are my sister, I am your brother /
I only need a piece, not all of it /
Oyagala oninze, until I grab it? /
Cause if you don’t feed me I go hungry /
If you don’t feed me, I'll go starving /
(Let's connect - Radio, Weasel, Sizzaman)

Q: For those who say Radio was a great musician, what exactly does "great" mean in this context? Explain in detail.

A: His greatness was mainly in lyrical content and vocal ability. His live performance (stage presence, flow, live singing and audience engagement) was only above average but not the best of the lot (as compared to, say, Bebe Cool).

Q: What kind of society did the music of Radio & Weasel spring from and speak to? Elaborate.

A: It depended on the occasion. But the "ceiling" of their audience was the youth, going onto about 45.

Songs like "Everything I do" could be enjoyed by just any music fan, others like Bread and butter were mainly a staple for youth below 25.

The themes also mattered. Relationship-themed songs like "Mutima" (featuring Serena Bata) seemed to be enjoyed by older, mature audience who could relate to the experience of betrayed love, while anyone below 35 would definitely any of their collabos such as Mr. DJ, I am so High, Locomotives and Mr. Right.

Q: Why did the music promoter Balaam Barugahara turn to President Museveni to help pay for Radio's bills at Case Clinic?

A: Radio was not in position to disclose nor direct anyone to access his money in the bank. Only he knew the ATM pin-codes and mobile banking login credentials. His caretakers had no choice but try and solicit for funds.

There’s no direct evidence I have seen regarding Balaam asking the president for help, as city socialite Bryan White had paid 25 million and pledged to meet any additional costs, should they need his input.

Having been an instrumental part of his campaign project, the president simply had to chip in, just like he did for Danz Kumapeesa, before him.

Q: Why has Museveni become the Chief Medical officer and Chief Finance Officer of Uganda and what does that say about the kind of society that the music of Radio & Weasel appealed to?

A: Radio and Weasel's fan base constitute 70% of the country’s demographic set-up, and with the duo having the kind of fame they have, he had to milk the moment. His intervention was more of a PR gesture than a humanitarian one.

This speaks volumes are the crossover appeal highlighted earlier, the fact that just about everyone seemed to like something about a song or two for the duo.

Tribute | Peterson

He oft tilted his head and rolled his eyes in quick succession. He followed this up by spreading out his arms in an apparent simulation of the rolling and yawing aerodynamic concepts during our A-level Physics discussions.

He then went on to ape our teacher's tone and gesticulation, curving out a mini-spectacle that, for some of us, eternally got etched in memory.

The topic had been taught months earlier, delivered in a trademark style by a teacher students nicknamed "Cartesian" many years before us.

It’s a memory that still springs to mind at take-off, every time I fly.

Try and compete we did, seldom winning academic battles in selected subjects bar Physics and Chemistry. Many a time, we settled for a serial bridesmaids’ role to a guy who had started out at little-known Bishop Ogez High School before heading to Ntare School.

I still remember going into my final UACE Physics II exam and seeing one of such questions. Mental images of his repeated gesticulation in our earlier discussions suddenly sprang to mind before I let slip a wide grin.

I wanted to hug the questionnaire.

I almost got off my seat for a couple of ecstatic press-ups before I remembered I was under the watchful eye of our exam invigilator. It was no surprise when the results came out and I had scored a distinction in the paper.

This and many others are some of my earliest recollections of the guy who, today, basks in the glory of academic nirvana, having graduated with a first class degree in Law.

It was the only first class Law degree the University was seeing since 2006.

Christened Lord Denning, Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein by sections of euphoric peers, mentees and acquaintances on social media, Peterson’s academic resume now reads like a career academician’s ultimate wish-list: A first-class degree in Electrical Engineering, a first-class degree in Law, a master’s degree in Electrical Engineering and an on-going PhD in the same.

Beat that, if you will. You’ll certainly have an Everest of a mountain to climb if you dare to dream.

Yes, I studied with a legend.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Tribute | 229 Songs, 11 Albums, One Brand: The life of Mowzey Radio

We've listened to talented musicians. We’ve seen talented songwriters. And we've had Mowzey Radio, excellent at both, and so much more. A crooner whose voice never let him down. A writer who never suffered writer’s block. An artiste whose art was more than just singing.

This weekend, the music fraternity pays final respects to a departed music icon. Mowzey Radio, one half of the Goodlyfe singing duo will be laid to rest tomorrow.

Born Moses Ssekibogo Nakintije on January 25, 1983, in present-day Buikwe District, Radio studied from at Kibuye Public Primary School and Holy Cross SS, Wanyange (now Lake View, Wanyange) before joining Kira College Butiki for his A-level.

In 2004, he joined Makerere University for a bachelor’s degree in Community Psychology, graduating in 2008.

He cut his musical teeth as part of the Leone Island backup crew, in an increasingly crowded and competitive industry that saw him release two staggered songs in "Jennifer" (2004) and Sweet lady (2006).

Radio's big break would come in 2008 when he, alongside Weasel (né Mayanja Douglas Seguya) launched Nakudata album in a partnership that eventually came to be fondly referred to as East Africa’s dynamic duo.

But it wasn’t until 2009 that the music industry would witness his talent in full flow.

The Radio-Weasel bond had only grown stronger, releasing Nyambura, an album I still consider one of my top ten Ugandan music albums of all time (the others being Born in Africa (Phily Lutaaya, 1987), Tukolagane (Maddox, 2000), Omutanda Gyali (Afrigo, 1994), Shida Za Dunia (Chameleone, 2005), Galenzi Mwe(Paul Kafeero, 2001), Go Mama (Bebe Cool, 2015), Misubbawa (Maurice Kirya, 2010), Bamugambe(Bebe Cool, 2009) and Carolina (Bobi Wine, 2009)).

Often with Weasel and seldom with a host of other artistes, Radio sang about many themes, with love and relationships being predictably predominant in a crossover afro-pop style that had your average downtown music fan share tastes with the wannabe corporate slayer.

Mowzey Radio was as diverse as any good artiste you’ll come across.

From gospel-leaning songs like Mukama Nyongera Amaanyi, Tambula Nange and Omanyi Mukama to happy-go-lucky themed ones (I am so high, Play it again, Tell dem so); from songs stemming out of ego fights with other actors in the entertainment industry (Ability, Kamira the teacher, Kiduula) to those aimed at their detractors (Obudde, Talk and talk, Ngenda Mumaaso), they sang them all.

In "Kamilla the teacher", the duo tried to hit at Jose Chameleone, their erstwhile mentor-turned foe (before mending fences, again). The latter chose to see the lighter side of this, adopting "teacher" as one of the many titles that he still uses to-date.

It was a similar situation with Kiduula, a song that was composed after their crew had been banned from accessing Ange Noir in the aftermath of a raucous brawl at the discotheque.

If there was music that came close to revealing the softer side of Mowzey Radio, it’s the love ballads that often had many eating out of his palm. Mama, a song dedicated to his mum belongs to this category. Several times, he calls her by her full name and goes on to shower praises in a trademark mellow soliloquy that his fans had got accustomed to.

His talent remains unmatched, as evidenced in his lyrics. Witty wordplay, soothing flow, and serenading performances will remain in many a music fan’s memory.

Radio’s talent was never restricted to the environs of Neverland, the duo’s Makindye home, often lending a helping hand to other artistes as Red Banton, Diamond Oscar, Gift of Kaddo can testify. He also wrote music for other artistes such as Irene Ntale (Bikoola, Sembera, Mazzi Nekyenyanja), Juliana (Twalina Omukwano) and Ekitone, the song that reinvigorated Desire Luzinda’s then stagnating career in 2014.

Radio had an eye on the bigger picture. He was in the process of incubating Angel Music, a record label he envisaged to grow bigger and do much more than just singing, such as writing music and talent management among others.

Choosing Radio’s best-written song is a daunting task. But if one had a gun to my temple, my pick of his collection would be one of Let’s Connect (featuring Sizzaman), Dudu (featuring Shanks Gumaras), Ability and Nyumbani (featuring Viboyo).

For over five years, there was the talk of their impending split, fueled by a speculative and gossip-hungry media. The duo appeared to enjoy the mind games, often keeping them guessing. Thus they continued to release singles, usually interspersed with the odd collabo.

As Mowzey Radio signs out at the tender age of 35, we can only fete to his precocious works, and toast to a talent we may not see again in a long time. He last released an album in 2016, opting for singles that would be released as and when he was ready.

Mowzey Radio wrote over 229 songs in a 10-year career, averaging more than 22 songs a year. Out of these, 68 had not been out yet, and are likely to be released posthumously. 

Radio and Weasel: the complete Album listing;
2007: Nakudata
2008: Nyambura
2009: Bread and Butter
2010: Ngenda Maaso
2011: Talk and Talk
2012: Tonjagala
2013: Fantastic
2014: Obudde
2014: Amaaso/Ntunga
2015: Neera
2016: Owana Wabandi

Mowzey Radio: A catalog of his work;

- Abatesi - Goodlyfe ft. Chance Nalubega
- Ability - Radio, Weasel, Rabadaba ft. Rabadaba
- Akalimu - Goodlyfe
- Akasiisi - GoodLyfe Crew
- Am In Love - Radio and Weasel Ft. Lillian
- Amaaso – Radio, Weasel Ft  Pallaso, The Mess
- Amari - Radio, Weasel, and Sean Simple
- Amazima - Radio and Weasel ft. Blaq Fuego
- Batabani Ba Kintu - Radio and Weasel Ft Dr Jose Chameleon, Magic Washington and WJ
- Best I Know - Radio and Weasel ft. Jose Chameleone
- Beyonce and Jay Z - Radio and Weasel
- Bigambo - Radio ft Gravity Omutujju
- Bikoola - Radio and Weasel and Irene Ntale
- Bread and Butter - Goodlyfe Crew
- Breath Away - Radio and Weasel (GoodLyfe)
- Bring Me Back - Radio and Weasel (Goodlyfe)
- Bwebityo - Goodlyfe and Diamond Oscar
- Bwondekawo - Goodlyfe Crew
- Byagana - Radio and Weasel ft Ziza Bafana
- Can't Let You Go - Radio and Weasel
- Kamilla, the teacher - Radio andWeasel
- Commando - Radio and Weasel ft. Navio, Myko Ouma
- Corruption - Radio and Weasel
- Crucify - Radio and Weasel
- Dagala - Radio (and Weasel, later in the remix)
- Ddembesa - Goodlyfe ft. Da Twinz
- Do You Know Me Before - Radio and Weasel
- Done - Radio and Weasel ft Locnville
- Don't Cry - Radio and Weasel ft. Wizkid
- Dudu - Goodlyfe ft. Shanks Gumaras
- Dunda - Radio and Weasel
- Ekitone - Desire Luzinda (Written by Radio)
- Ekyama - Radio and Weasel (Goodlyfe)
- Engule - Radio and Weasel ft Juliana Kanyomozi
- Eriiso - Radio and weasel ft Unique
- Everthing I do - Radio and Weasel
- Faces - Radio and Weasel ft. Sam
- Fire and Butter - Radio and Weasel Ft. Beenie Man and M.I
- Fitting - Radio, Weasel and Desire Luzinda
- Five Star Girl - Goodlyfe Crew
- Forgotten - Radio and Weasel ft. SizzaMan
- Gat No Love - Radio, Weasel and Wizkid
- Gezagezamu - Radio and Weasel
- Gitawo - Radio and Weasel
- Golden Girl - Radio and weasel Ft Mighty son, Buki Solja and Mesiah
- Good Night - Radio and Weasel
- Gudi Gude - Radio and Weasle  ft Kalifah AgaNaga
- Gutamiza - Radio and Weasel ft B2C
- Gyal Dem - Radio and Weasel Ft Buffalo Soljah
- Gyal Next Door - Radio and Weasel FT Toniks
- Hafusana - Radio and Weasel
- Hallo - Radio, Weasel ft Chameleone
- Heart Attack Vuvuzela - Radio and Weasel
- Hellena - Radio and Weasel ft. David Lutalo
- Home to Africa – Radio, Weasel ft PJ Powers
- How we do it - Radio ft. Keko
- I am so high - Radio, Weasel, Sizzaman, Red Banton andDiamond Oscar
- Jaburata Remix - Radio Weasel and KaySwitch
- Juicy - Radio and Weasel
- Julaina - Radio and Weasel and Vjoj
- Kama Katono - Radio and Weasel (Elly Wamala)
- Kankunganye - Radio and Weasel Ft Mun G
- Kapapula Kakusala - Radio and Weasel
- Kiboko - Goodlyfe ft Amani
- Kiduula - Radio and Weasel
- Kikumi Kinaana (Radio and Weasel, ft. Red Banton)
- Kintu - Radio and Weasel
- Kirimanyi - Radio and Weasel
- Kuku - Radio and Weasel
- Kyuma - Radio and Weasel ft Spice Diana
- Leero Tompona - Radio and Weasel ft. Leila Kayondo
- Leesu - Mowzey Radio
- Let Dem Know - Radio and Weasel
- Let's Connect - Radio and Weasel ft. Sizzaman (Goodlyfe)
- Lets Go Home - Radio and Weasel
- Lola - Radio and Weasel
- Lunaku Lwa Mbaga - Radio and Weasel
- Lwaki Onumya - Radio and Weasel
- Lwaki Tokula - Radio and Weasel
- Magnetic - Goodlyfe
- Make Money - Radio and Weasel ft. Chameleone, Haruna Mubiru, Buchaman
- Mama - Radio and Weasel
- Maze Okukwetegereza - Radio and Weasel, Maro
- Mazzi n'ekyenyanja Irene Ntale (written by Radio)
- Mbulira Mukwano - Weasel and Sammy Cool
- Money - Radio and Weasel
- Mpanilira - Radio and Weasel, Deena
- Mr. DJ - Radio, Weasel ft. All Stars (Peter Miles, Navio, Rabadaba, Viboyo andOthers)
- Mr. Right - Radio, Weasel ft. GNL Zamba
- Mukama Nyongera Amaanyi - Mowzey Radio
- Multiply by 2 - Radio, Weasel and Angella Katatumba
- Mutima - Radio, Weasel ft. Serena Bata
- My Life (Remix) - Dogo Janja Ft Radio and Weasel
- Nah Normal - Radio and Weasel and A Pass
- Nakutamani - Goodlyfe
- Nanansi - Radio and Weasel
- Neera - Mowzeyy Radio
- Nfuula Zaabu - Radio and Weasel ft Pastor Bugembe
- Ngamba - Goodlyfe
- Ngenda Mumaaso - Radio and Weasel
- Nipe Kifunguo Yako - Radio and Weasel FT Wizkid and Washington
- Niwe Yahwe - Radio
- Nkwagala - Mowzey Radio
- Nkwegomba - Radio, Weasel ft. Cas Cas
- Nkwetaga - Radio and Weasel (Goodlyfe)
- Nkya Kujukila - Radio feat. Rocky Giant
- Ntunga - Radio and Weasel
- Ntwalako Out - Radio and Weasel
- Number emu - Radio and Weasel
- Nyambura - Radio and Weasel
- Nyumbani - Radio and Weasel
- Obudde - Radio and Weasel
- Ole - Radio and Weasel
- Omanyi Mukama - Goodlyfe
- Omukisa Mpeewo - Radio and Weasel
- Omwana Wabandi - Radio and Weasel
- One In A million - Radio and Weasel Ft Silver X
- Panadol - Radio and Weasel ft Chameleone
- Paradise - Radio and Weasel ft. Locomotives (Goodlyfe)
- Play It Again - Radio and Weasel ft Dj Pius
- Plenty Plenty - Radio and Weasel
- Pollination - Goodlyfe and Obsessions
- Potential - Radio, Weasel ft. General Ozzy
- Remember Me - Radio and Weasel
- Rewind - Radio And Weasel
- Romantic Call - Radio
- Sawa Ya Beer - Radio and Weasel
- Scratch My Back - Vanessa Mdee Ft. Radio and Weasel
- Searching - Kukulee ft Radio and Weasel
- Sembera - Radio ft Lyto Boss
- Sembera - Irene Ntale (written by Radio)
- Simunino - Radio and Weasel
- Single and Searching - Radio and Weasel
- Sitani - Radio, Weasel
- Skin Tight (Remix) - Radio and Weasel, Pallaso and Mr Eazi
- Sky Walker - Radio and Weasel
- So Much - Chagga and Weasel
- Somesa Egwanga - Radio and Weasel
- Street Lights - Radio and Weasel (Goodlyfe Crew)
- Sumulula - Radio and Weasel ft Pallaso
- Tabula Edagala - Radio and Weasel
- Take my heart - Radio and Weasel
- Talk and Talk - Radio and Weasel
- Tambula Nange - Mowzey Radio
- Technique - Radio
- There She Go - Radio and Weasel ft DJ Madengo
- Tonjagala - Mowzey Radio and Weasel
- Tonoonya - Radio and Weasel, Desire Luzinda
- Twalina Omukwano - Juliana (Written by Radio)
- Twamukwekula - Radio and Weasel ft Emperor Orlando
- Wankwata - Radio and Weasel ft. Dizzo
- Wankyawa - Radio
- Where You Are - Blue 3 ft. Radio and Weasel
- You make me cry - Radio and Weasel ft. Diamond Oscar
- Zino Enaku - Radio, Weasel, Kuklee, Myco Chris
- Zuena - Radio and Weasel
- Lwaki Tokula - Radio and Weasel

Rest thee well, Soldier.