Monday, April 13, 2020

Music | 1986 – 2020: Ugandan Music Through the Years (2/4)

The 90s was the era that blessed us with nouveau pop talents such as Brenda Z'obbo, Bob Bashabe, Steve Jean, Roger Mugisha, Peter Sematimba, Simon Base Kalema, Lillian Butere, Jenkins Mukasa, Terry Divos, Jimmy Bageire, Rasta Rob and Shanks Vivi Dee. This crop of artistes epitomized the influence of American culture that later led to the proliferation of rap, pop and ragga music genres in the industry.

On a sad note, this was the decade in which Herman Basudde, the man whose most famous songs were the classics Bus Dunia and Mukyala Mugerwa, died in a grisly road accident in circumstances similar to the referenced allegory in his song: Bus Dunia.

The tail-end of the 90s would see Ragga Dee make an attempt at reinvention, experimenting with different genres such as reggae, ragga, soukous, and kwaito. A generation of industry entrants on the scene was in the offing. It was only a matter of time before the advent of new genres and new faces hit the scene.

This was the decade that saw the birth of what we now know as band music. Responsible for nurturing artistes such as Mesach Semakula, Geoffrey Lutaaya, Ronald Mayinja, Roy Kapale, Harriet Kisaakye, Catherine Kusasira, Irene Namatovu, Stecia Mayanja, and Haruna Mubiru, the formation of Eagles Production effectively gave birth to a new genre of music toward the turn of the century. Other notable artistes in this category included Mariam Ndagire, Mariam Mulinde, Betty Mpologoma, and Queen Florence among others.

But before all this could unfold, a somber start to the millennial decade had the music industry lose no less than six artistes in quick succession: Carol Nakimera, Paul Katende (Ebonies), Sarah Birungi, Cissy Nakku, and Afrigo Band’s Amigo Wawawa. Elly Wamala (2004) and Paul Kafeero (2007).

In the same period, the Chaka Demus/Pliers influence on the local industry simply refused to wane. This was the era of duets, collabos and performing duos; an era that saw General Mega Dee (Amos Kigenyi) and Menton Kronno (Vincent Kibondwe) shine bright in a partnership that would bless us with a collection of music albums such as Nze Ndeka (1999), Omukwano gwo (2000), Beera Nange (2001), Ekiri mu bbeere (2002) and Wasiwasi (2003).

The 2000s would not be all gloom as the industry had more-than-welcome additions. This was the decade of musical groups, boys and girls alike. Strutting their stuff at DV8, Klear Kut, a hip-hop outfit began to rise in prominence; their style mainly resonating with the urban youths of the time. In their ranks, the group composition had rappers Navio (Daniel Lubwama Kigozi), Papito (Habib Abdul Hussein), The Myth (Tom Mayanja), Langman (Abba Lang) and JB (Jonathan Leslie aka J-baller).

Mind, Body & Soul, their first album, was a big success and would go on to top Hip-Hop chats in East Africa. This was the album that spawned songs like All I Wanna Know (featuring Juliana Kanyomozi) and Superstar (featuring Bebe Cool).

In 2000, Madoxx (David Amon Ssemanda Sematimba), an artiste who had lived in Gothenburg for close to 10 years finally released his first full album out. Tukolagane was a blockbuster reggae collection that featured timeless reggae ballads that included, among others: “Namagembe", "Tukolagane", "Omukwano Gwafe" and "Eddembe" among others.

He would soon follow this up with a second album – Abato – in 2006 and was right on course to dominate the music industry for long until a nasty divorce preceded his deportation, leaving him in an abyss of protracted despair and a forced music hiatus.