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Maddox Sematimba: I love music but miss my family

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Maddox Sematimba performing . Photo BY EDGAR BATTE. 

By Edgar R. Batte

Posted  Sunday, June 15   2014 at  01:00

In Summary

REMARKABLE. On magic Thursday night at Club Silk, revellers could have danced themselves lame. The performer of the night brought the house down, strumming his guitar and crooning away to songs that are almost local anthems. If music is the food for the soul, then Maddox Ssemanda Sematimba finds his life’s recipe in it. Music is the passion around which his life rotates, is fulfilled and certainly defined, writes Edgar R. Batte

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In his songs lay Sematimba’s outstandingly wit, social appeal and enviable music arrangement. It is music soothing the soul in a deep manner and awakens it to social causes.

Sematimba’s music tells about love, unity, social justice, peace and everyday issues in songs such as Irene, Tukolagane, Omwami N’omukyala, Kampala, Come Let’s Rock. In the same songs, the feel-good factor comes out strongly. If you have seen him perform, you will appreciate the psyche he puts in his delivery and presence that naturally pulls an emotional chord with the audience, thanks to his good guitar skills and commanding lyrics.

Sematimba’s lyrics are simple and straightforward that he delivers with a joyful but laid-back demeanour. In Namagembe, All time lover and Nakatudde, he manages to get lovers warm up to the dance floor and for the lonely to feel the weight of not being loved.

In an emotive surrender, he will delicately strum the guitar that every string’s sound is as clear as the previous one. Ssematimba is one of Uganda’s uniquely gifted artistes. Years after he last released an album -- Abato in 2006, his music still enjoys airplay.

Cooking good music
“I know people are waiting for some new musical tracks from me, and I will not say that I am not working, but I’m not going to rush into it,” says the Nakatudde singer.

“I will take my time, cook it up and I won’t give you a time frame,” Sematimba paused for the message to sink as he sipped on his bottle of Nile beer. “But I know it will be an album of about 12 songs mixed in Luganda and English.”

The father of two adds that he is also trying to put together some professional reggae musicians. He is already working with one of the oldest reggae bands, the Blood Brothers, on a couple of live performances and they are going to be part of this solid reggae band that will be playing at Bulenge Paradise Resort based in Ggaba, Makindye Municipality. It is here that this reporter met him.

“We want it to be the best reggae joint in Uganda as a whole. We are taking things step by step,” he says, running his fingers through his dreadlocks.

But Sematimba’s fans will have to wait a little longer. “There were some setbacks like lack of music equipment that I’m waiting for from Canada, but I think in a month they will be here. You know, I’m selective.”
“I want the best presentable equipment that can allow me work comfortably and produce something good for my fans,” the 43-year-old artiste explains.
“On my part, I will take things slowly so as to produce something good”.

Man behind the music
The singer goes on to describe himself as a very simple person who always makes sure the people around him feel very comfortable just as much as he would want.

The artiste achieves this through a couple of jokes, storytelling and sometimes making sure there are drinks on the table to enjoy.

How Sematimba started out in Sweden

In Sweden, Sematimba cut his musical teeth. He left Uganda at 21 in 1991. When he got there, he started learning instruments, from the guitar to keyboard.

“I had an uncle who taught me how to play a guitar but unfortunately he passed away. He encouraged me. He’s the one who gave me the picture that when you master an instrument, it can give you the key to compose,” he recalls.

Part of the reason Sematimba followed a musical dream was because he was born in a musical family. His brother Andrew Kawesi is a music producer. There are Drake Sebuma and Jackie Nabasumba who are in church choirs.

It was not easy starting out in Sweden but Sematimba’s character helped him fuse in. He is sociable. He says there are so many open windows of opportunities. It is up to you to take advantage and exploit such.
It took him two years to settle down. “I started performing in a couple of bands around 1993.”

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