Monday, July 30, 2018

Music | Jubireewo: Of Budo’s swag and the two sides to Paul Saaka’s creativity

King’s College Budo has been in the news for its role in the much-touted all-school stars (that's what they called themselves) collaboration, a song that features 3,234,417 other schools. For a school whose products are known, or perhaps stereotyped for bandying a pseudo-imperial persona, Budo's 30-second cameo is everything "un-Budonian".

If it hadn’t been for the purpose for which it was composed, one would imagine the school had exchanged identities with St. Stephens SSS, Kikubamutwe for that ephemeral moment in the entertainment limelight.

It’s the first of two songs co-written by the veteran composer, Paul Saaka, in the run-up to Kabaka Ronald Mutebi’s coronation silver jubilee, an event that attracted attention from places as far-flung as West Africa. The Asantehene, a mercurial monarch from the legendary Ghanaian Kingdom of Ashanti, is said to be in town for the event.

Perhaps the biggest criticism of the song could be that it’s not cross-generational enough to tickle one’s fancy. For a moment, one would think Paul Saaka’s creativity was on the wane until the release of the second “all-star” song, this time featuring real "stars".

The similarly titled Jubireewo, is a mid-tempo composition that features a dozen of artistes, from Afrigo’s Moses Matovu to Anette Nandujja, Rema Namakula, Meshach Ssemakula, Navio,Ronald Mayinja, Wilson Bugembe, Hilderman, Ceaserous, Joanitah Kawalya, Walukagga, Dan Mugula, Mariam Ndagire and David Lutalo (among others) produced from Henry Kiwuuwa’s Grayce Records.

Dan Mugula takes us back in time to his 1971 classic, Baalaba Taliiwo, in relation to the Kingdom’s denigration following the events surrounding that 1966 raid on the palace. Walukagga is the usual Kadongo kamu Walukagga and Navio does slot in effortlessly in a delivery style reminiscent of his other songs, Njogereza and Tumunonye.

Rema Namakula’s falsetto is as apparent as Dr. Hilderman’s attachment to Mawokota in their youthful exuberance, while Joanitah Kawalya regales about her being Eclas Kawalya’s daughter (among other things). There’s a mini-comeback of sorts in Mariam Ndagire, with the bubbly singer-cum-screenwriter dropping her verse towards the tail-end of the song.

Whereas one gets the feeling that David Lutalo, Wilson Bugembe and Mesach Ssemakula were not as prominent as they could have been, that Budo moment in the first song still takes the biscuit.

Had it not been for that momentary flaunting of Edward Muteesa II’s photo as their most prominent alumnus, one could have been tempted to pause for a moment and re-read the inscriptions on the building that features in the background at the start of their 30 seconds of fame.