Sunday July 10 2016

IT graduate blaring reggae

Rob Prophet (2nd Right) performs with his band

Rob Prophet (2nd Right) performs with his band Black Prophets Music reggae band. Inset is Rob Prophet. Photos by Edgar R. Batte. 

Prophets could have had their time back then but one man believes that his music is a prophecy. His stage name is Rob Prophet and his label, Black Prophets Music Records, is the company responsible for publishing his music and managing his 13-piece band.

The company is registered under the South African government law. He refers to his band members as prophets which mainly does roots reggae. As we chat, Rob refers to God as Jah, in Rastafari language. When he is not recording his music he signs deals and records South African artistes.

Getting started
Before leaving Uganda and speaking fancy patois, he was an ordinary church boy who woke up every Sunday morning, polished his shoes and went to the Roman Catholic Church in Kamuli with Father Wynand Huys, the chaplain at the time.
There, Robert Kanoonya, Prophet’s real name, learnt written and practical music and how to play a number of instruments.

In the church, one was taught how to write, compose, arrange and pre-produce music. He can play a guitar, keyboards, drums and brass instruments.

Earlier on in life, still in Kamuli, at a missionary primary school, music was compulsory. As a teenager, he picked interest in secular music and looked up to the likes of Lucky Dube, Burning Spear and Peter Tosh, all reggae artistes. They spurred him to become an artiste. He has three albums to his name; Jennifer, Holiday of love and We need love. He fuses roots reggae and dancehall in all three.

His musical work
He sings in English, Luganda, Swahili and Zulu. His music preaches goodness, peace, justice, love and reconciliation. The song titles communicate some of the messages.

They include African Continent, Is this love, Holiday of love, Black Man, Justice, Criminals, Black voodoo, Another Chance, Born poor and Rasta Man.

In African Continent, Prophet expounds on the grievances that Africa is facing, such as hunger, endless wars, disunity and irresponsible leaders. Is this love tickles the mind on whether love is a misery, why there is unfaithfulness and constant conflict in committed relationships.

Holiday of love is a special dedication of Prophet to his love, convincing her to give him a holiday of love, because they had parted for some time yet she was not willing to listen.

In Justice, the Rastafarian takes no prisoners. He hits at corrupt learned fellows of the law- in the judiciary, and government officials and justice system at large for sometimes charging the innocent.

In Criminals, he paid tribute to Lucky Dube, Peter Tosh and others who have been victims of crime. He calls on criminals to stop their aggressive measures.

Who makes the music
Prophet and The Prophets music is produced by Thuthukani Cele Chapman, a former keyboardist with Lucky Dube. They are also helped out by Dube’s former sound engineer, Dave Segal from Forest studios.
He adds, “Our sound engineer and executive producers are reputable all-weather reggae veterans, who have worked with Lucky Dube on all his album recording and tours and also so many South African

internationally recognised artistes, and overseas artistes such as Simple dread, Kanda Bongo Man and Eddy Grant.”
“My music has done well in Europe and Latin America, that is why we are scheduled for 10 concerts in Europe soon. We will be performing with so many bands,” Prophet says.

He says he was not keen on performing at home because of his encounters with fake promoters who have robbed him on many occasions, since 2009. He is ,however, in touch with new promoters and managers and hopes he will be putting up music shows in East Africa soon.

Rob Prophet founded Black Prophets Music reggae band in November 2006. The group comprises educated and working professionals. Their music can be found on online platforms such as iTunes, Amazon MP3, Rhapsody and Myspace.

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