Reviews & Profiles
Blood Brothers stir up Bunga
Posted Saturday, March 2 2013 at 02:00
: Last month saw several events honouring reggae legend Bob Marley’s birthday. One such event was a performance by the Blood Brothers band in Bunga.
Walls spotting artistic pieces seem to scream at you at Tilapia Culture Centre in Bunga, as the night’s band prepares to serenade you. The adverts read that the band that night was going to start at 8pm, but their 9.25pm start plus the rest of the night had some of us forgive them for the late start.
Reggae legend Bob Marley had his birthday celebrated at this place, among many others, on February 6. Although I did not attend the celebrations, Friday 22nd’s gig by reggae outfit Blood Brothers and the Kokonuts revived memories of his songs. Though the band played covers of other reggae artists, Marley’s were more and the crowd seemed to love them.
Others covered included songs by UB40, Lucky Dube, Alpha Blondy, Everton Blender, Jah Cure, Damian Marley and Tshaka Mayanja among many others. Every last Friday of the month, Blood Brothers and the Kokonuts who have a huge white fan base play at this joint.
Emmanuel Iwong, the communications officer and assistant manager says Tilapia Cultural Centre has been around for just little over a year, “It is mainly for cultural activities. We show ancient movies every Monday while in the middle of the month, we host Ike Penaki, a poet and musician. Other bands are also hosted.
Blood Brothers’ journey
Started in 1993, Blood Brothers are Uganda’s oldest reggae band. The name Blood Brothers was conceived when four young and amateur musicians met in Kibuli. Data ‘Bass’ Marshal (bass guitar), Ras B Ssali (rhythm guitar, vocals), Iboman Solomon (vocals) and Joseph ‘Adamski’ Mutumba (keyboard).
A few months later, the Blood Brothers (four musicians without a drummer) arrived at Nsambya Sharing Youth Centre to merge with the in-house band there that included William Bwewusa on vocals, Grace ‘Weedyman’ Ddumba first as the drummer then later doing guitars and vocals. One year or so later, Alex Guma, Marshal’s brother, came to the Youth Centre and later became the drummer.
Today, the band comprises Marshal on bass, vocals, Titus ‘Ziri’ Bbosa, Osire Joseph a.k.a Bishop on keyboards, Luggya Tony on keyboard, Grace ‘Weedyman’ Ddumba on guitar and vocals and “The Opipinos”, Henry Kadala (alto sax), Kayizi Yusuf (trombone) and Godfrey Kasibante (trumpet).
The band also boasts a three-piece female vocals, “The Kokonuts” with Tina Kaija, Daphne Aciro and Laura Atyang. Kaija, the client relations director, says besides doing back-up vocals, everyone does a lead, “We mainly do covers because people like them but we shall soon promote our own original songs. Tonight we did Nga ndudde (I have taken long), Without your love, Amina Ngojo (an Iteso song), Malaika wange (my angel).”
Most Ugandans remember Blood Brothers for Peace In the World, released in 1994, though most people refer to it as Immorality, a word in the chorus. That eight-track album was their first. Mwedemu, also with eight tracks, was released in 1996. The band is now in studio working on their third album. “We already have 11 songs,” says Kaija. Kokonuts joined Blood Brothers two years ago and their name was from a fan.
Judging from last week’s dancing among revellers, people were enjoying themselves. Some sang to the lyrics they knew while waving their hands. If you happen to be this side of town on any of their theme nights, you should consider passing by. Entry is free.