‘Daniel wanted us to buy a car using our school fees’

Sunday November 24 2019



Dennis Mugagga and Daniel Ssewagudde

Dennis Mugagga and Daniel Ssewagudde  

By Nicolas Akasula

TWO OF A KIND: Dennis Mugagga and Daniel Ssewagudde are brothers who were born and raised in Lugazi. The UK based Ugandan musicians came into the limelight in the early 2000s with their hit songs such as Midomomo and Nafunye among others. They recently rebranded and are now known as the Ganda Boys, writes Nicolas Akasula.

Dennis

How would you describe Daniel?
He is very versatile, hardworking, hotheaded, and unique. You have to understand him a little more, to get the best out of him. He is charming, exciting, comic, and a bit silly. Actually the world sees him as the quietest, but he is actually the noisiest of us.

What is your earliest memory of him?
He loved scouting, was a bit militant, which actually sits well with his attitude. Plus he loved singing.

What is the craziest thing he did as a child?
He used to do the most inexplicable things as a child. For instance, instead of sucking the bottle as other babies do, he bit off its tip.

What is the craziest thing you did together?
He has big love for cars. There was this time we used to go to school, but it was quite a trek, 10 miles of marram, away from the main road.
So there was a guy along the same path, who had an extremely old car, and was always fidgeting with it and wanted to get rid of it. Dan suggested that we use our school fees to buy that car. Oh my, thank God we did not.

Advertisement

What is he scared of the most?
He is very scared of the unknown. He always wants to be in the know, and this is why he wouldn’t accept anything that takes him off the ground. If he doesn’t have a grip of the situation, then he can’t function.

How often do you meet nowadays?
All the time, and the good thing with technology is that you don’t have to be together to work together. We are constantly on the phone trying to iron out certain things, which may necessarily not be clear at a particular time. Also we project how we relate with everyone that is trying to help us, but one thing for sure is that we recap every morning, rehearse every day, because we are learning new instruments at the moment, and recording.

What is his favourite outfit?
The Kitenge. Yesterday we went to a store, and he wanted to use up all the dressing budget we had. He wanted to grab himself 10 pieces of that, without even thinking twice.

What nickname did you have for him?
His nickname is “Crazy D”. He has been crazy from day one.

How often did you fight?
I would not call them fights but disagreements. And they are not that frequent. We may see things in different angles, but we go around it.

Did you ever team up to fight someone?
There are many of those, but the vivid one is when we took a radio to school, yet they were ‘illegal’ then.
So on seeing it, a prefect confiscated it and it didn’t go well with us. We attacked him and we got suspended from school.
The radio meant a lot to us, given that we were preparing for our career, yet we had also started to record our songs and wanted to hear them play.

Daniel:

How would you describe Dennis?
Dennis is a very focused individual. He is very creative, for instance almost all the things that you see, he is the guy behind then. He is a master planner, and his mind runs so fast. At the same time, he is also really calm. There are moments when he just takes minutes without saying anything, as if he is taken over by something. He is very spontaneous too, and it even shows in the music we do. When he gets into the booth, he’ll just download material, without writing a word, singing a whole song from the beginning to end. He doesn’t write lyrics; he writes entire songs.
I just come in and make final bits, after he has done most of the work. Plus he is very analytical and pays attention to detail.
What is your earliest memory of him?
When he was learning to play the guitar for the first time; he was passionately consumed and determined to learn every chord at ago.

What is the craziest thing he did as a child?
He has done a lot of crazy things that I struggle to pick just one. For instance, he used to go swimming in those dirty flooded ponds; we used to call ebidiba after it rained. I found it risky, because he would immerse his whole self-there, and I thought he was going to die. It was so scary.

What is the craziest thing you did together?
I think it was the prefect’s saga.

What is he scared of the most?
I do not think there is anything that scares him; he is one of the bravest people I know.

Were you always friends?
We were very close in the sense that when I feel disturbed, I can open up to him. There is nothing hide from him.

How often do you meet nowadays?
We meet all the time, but if we are not meeting, we are always on the phone because of the amount of work we do. Due to the string of shows we have, we are always rehearsing almost every day. For instance, we’ve been booked to play in 460 cities this year. We have so far done 100, and are remaining with 360. That is a lot of time spent together either in rehearsals and performances.
What’s his favorite outfit?
Dennis is a very sharp dresser; there are those smart suits he favours that make him look like a Member of Parliament.

What nickname did you have for him?
I call him so many names, depending on the circumstances such as whether he has impressed me or pissed me off. It’s very rare that I call him by his real name, unless on serious/formal occasions. I can call him like six names in a day.
How often did you fight?
We just have disagreements, not fights per se. We have so much to do, and the next day I’ll have to face him. So we try to cultivate an environment where we are able to continue working together, which is more valuable than having a silly fight.

Did you ever team up to fight someone?
It is the same prefect’s thing. However, we have never gotten a similar incident since.

What is your earliest memory of him?
He has done a lot of crazy things that I struggle to pick just one. For instance, he used to go swimming in those dirty flooded ponds; we used to call ‘ebidiba’ after it rained. I found it risky, because he would immerse his whole self-there, and I thought he was going to die. It was so scary.

Advertisement