I’m passionate about writing Godly music
Posted Sunday, September 29 2013 at 00:00
Father Kabuye writes all manner of Christian ballads. He owes this to talent and knowledge from music schools he attended. His music transitions from one mood to another with consummate ease while relating with all generations.
As I walked into his office, I expected a very loud, flamboyant and unfriendly man like I have met in other worlds. I thought his office would be full of turbulent, agitated whirls and twirls of music but this was not the case. I instead was welcomed into the dreamy and tranquil ambience by a grey-haired and soft spoken bespectacled man, smiling as he beckoned me to enter.
Timecheck: 4.30pm, his face portrays calmness, softness and humility. His office is situated next to the main gate of Kiyinda-Mityana Catechetical Training Centre. The 79-year-old Rev Fr Dr James Kabuye, is one of the most celebrated priests in the Catholic Church for his all-mood music sang during mass and on other occasions.
His music awes. It has the ability to beautifully weave words, marry instruments and vocals to give off sweet harmony from the choir.
The graceful soft-spoken man of God asks, “What do you want to know about me? I am an ordinary person who doesn’t deserve to be in the newspapers,” before taking us on his song-writing journey.
“I started writing songs way back in the 1960s, at the time, it was the White Fathers who used to teach us music at Katigondo Major Seminary.
Two weeks after my ordination in 1962, I was sent to Switzerland to study music. In 1986, I got another opportunity to go to Marian College (the American Catholic School of Music) in US for three years. This was after the late Archbishop Joseph Kiwanuka spotted my talent that he offered to sponsor my passion.”
When he returned to Uganda in 1967, Fr Kabuye was posted to Rubaga Catholic Cathedral and it is here that he started with interpretation of Latin songs to African music.
“I was given a chance to introduce African music alongside the interpretation of the Latin songs given the kind of training I got from the seminary,” he says. “It was not easy introducing African music because people were more used to Latin given the fact that mass was also celebrated in Latin.”
My compositions are inspired by the Bible, meditating on scripture and admiration for the surroundings.
Taking on tasks
He notes that it was after a music committee that had himself, Fr Magembe and Fr Vincent Bakabulindi compile Luganda songs to be used in the Luganda Mass.
He was also given the task of teaching songs to different Christian choirs through music festivals that were organised by the cathedral. The songs are produced in both western and African (ganda) beats and sound.
According to him, the Western rhyme in his different compositions was borrowed from the European music that existed before.
Besides the melodic songs, Fr Kabuye has also written rhymes for schools like; Decide, Behold the greatest jubilee, The trinity, Go and preach among others.
These songs are normally used during school music festivals.
His songs depict him as an adaptable composer who cannot be limited to a particular type of music.