BY BAMUTURAKI MUSINGUZI
MUSIC lovers who turned up for the 33rd World Music Day fete at National Theatre in Kampala on June 20, 2015 were treated to a rich variety of genres ranging from Afro-Fusion to hip-hop.
The lineup included four Ugandan groups: the multi-instrumentalist Daniel Okiror; the R&B and soul artist Jemimah Sanyu with her band UNIT 446; Undercover Brothers, an acoustic-Afrobeat and R&B music duo composed of guitarist and vocalist Jay K. Mulungi and vocalist Timothy Kirya; the soul-jazz funk songstress Sandra Nankoma aka Sandy Soul with her Sandy Soul band; and the hip-hop, urban gospel rapper and spoken word artist Edwin Ruyonga.
The guest performer was Makadem (Ohanglaman) the talented musician and vibrant performing artist from Kenya.
Accompanied by his band, Pure Aroma Africa, Okiror, an Afro-Fusion artist played five of his songs: Ongolia; Mam Ijali; Big Big Bang; Ai Ai (Cry of the Children) and Edeke Ka.
In Mama Ijali, Okiror acknowledges the importance of the Almighty God in his life, crediting him as the source of the power behind his enormous talent. Together with his friend Olith Reteggo who features on the original song, they reiterate how many people pursue money, power and sex beyond human dignity. He reaffirms his desire never to forget the virtues of his creator.
Ongolia is the cry of an African orphan. A desperate feeling of being all alone with no one caring. Okiror gives his own life story, having lost all his parents as an infant. To an orphan, a good life or future is not a normal possibility. Life is in blues, hopelessness and low self worth. He stresses how being an orphan has tormented him all his life, trying all possibilities looking for a way out in a poverty stricken community. Struggling for all his needs ranging from food, clothes, education and shelter.
Based in Mombasa, Kenya, Okiror, who sings in Ateso, Luganda, Luo, Swahili and English, has three albums to his credit: One Lover (2009); Light in Africa (2012); and his 2014 album Emuria Koliai (‘Let The Seed Grow’ in the Ateso language).
Sanyu played eight songs such as Kankusute; Ziba Amaso; I am a Ugandan; Bandage; Amaaso Go Googera and This Love is so Strong.
As to the importance of World Music Day, Okiror said: “We as artists can’t exist without a stage. It makes us to be human and important. Music brings us together in order to share what is happening in society. It is an outlet that allows stress relief and our musical beauty giving people life.”
On her part Sanyu said, “As a musician, World Music Day is a meeting point for musicians. It is a celebration of our culture because we had artists from different parts of Uganda and Kenya.”
Founded in France in 1982, Fête de la Musique (the Festival of Music) better known as World Music Day has been a tremendous, popular event free and open to all. Its purpose is to celebrate lively music and showcase a variety of musical customs and genres.
For the 33rd edition, the French Ministry of Culture and Communication chose to extol the virtues of togetherness and of exploring and sharing different cultures. To do this, the Ministry chose as its theme “Living Music Together.”
The revelers shared a moment of togetherness, while enjoying concerts put on by amateurs and professionals alike. The event is also meant to inspire novices to discover music and perhaps learn to play it themselves.
In Uganda, World Music Day and is a hands-on, collective, festive event for the public organized by the Alliance Française de Kampala in collaboration with the Bayimba Cultural Foundation and the Uganda National Cultural Centre.
World Music Day has grown to over 120 countries and 700 cities around the world, transforming the event into an iconic international music affair. For its 33rd edition, the festival continued its expansion by taking to the Internet, the site of so many creations and exchanges, and eliminating all borders through the use of various digital platforms.