Time check is 8pm and the Milege Afro Jazz Band’s Jazzin’ Up show, the second episode of their Repainting Uganda concerts begins. It was not like your ordinary show that kicks off in a laid-back mode; if it was a car you would say the driver started from gear number five.
Right at the entrance, one had an idea of what to expect. The ushers, dressed in shoulderless gomesis of kikoyi material indicated that the concert was an African affair.
The Milege Jazz Band team of eight is made up of David Nalwebe the rhythm guitarist, Francis Manana the guitarist, Andrew Ahura the pianist, Gloria Akugizibwe the lead vocalist, Doreen Obura a vocalist, Deborah Kisakye a vocalist, plus Gerald Mbuya and Peter Nkalubo on drums.
From a welcoming poem in Lusoga to songs in Luganda, Rutoro/Runyoro, and Japadhola, performed with beats from other regions, the fusion of different Ugandan cultures was so beautiful. The charm is that it made people from different origins feel at home at the concert.
Clearly, this band has set out to modernise African music by fusing the Ugandan culture with a little bit of the western culture. The lyrics and instrumentals all pointed to that.
Performing to an almost full house, the crowds favourite songs were the Nankasa Ziwuuna one of their signature tunes that got many swaying. The song Tell You Tomorrow, from which they derived their theme, Jazzin’ Up, was also performed very well. Vocalist Doreen Obura showed that she has got talent on the song.
But the favourite performance was the Lusoga rap song, Akeyo, done by Yassin Bamulumba a.k.a, Jungle the Mic Eater. If there’s anything that will always remind the audience of Milege Band’s second edition of Repainting Uganda, it is this song. But the band failed to engage the crowd as much as they did in their previous concert.
This must have been because this time dancers performed only at the beginning. But a double play of Awinyi, a song from their previous concert with a beat and dance from Mt. Elgon fused with the Adhola language got the audience to the floor. This climaxed the concert. But after two-and-half hours, the audience still wanted more.