The Ganda Boys fundraising concert at Kampala Serena Hotel last Friday lived up to its billing. The concert, whose proceeds were aimed at boosting the Nabagereka Development Foundation’s drive to curb maternal and infant mortality rates in Buikwe and Mityana districts, saw the former Da Twinz music duo fly to town from their base in the UK with a reloaded and fresher outlook.
Since changing face to Ganda Boys, Daniel Sewagudde and Dennis Mugagga who now sing with multi-instrumentalist, Craig Pruess, have had a turnaround in their music from the 2008 ordinary Ugandan music to a world class group that has seen them perform on big global stages in Europe and other continents.
However, the same was not true when the show, which started an hour late, kicked off. One could feel the disillusionment in the dul faces of patrons who simply looked on as the band performed. Save for murmurs and casual, light conversations among the audience, the show was deprived of that excitement and touch with the performers. One reveller murmured, “the show lacks that hit and bang element. They don’t seem to understand the Ugandan audience,”
And you could see where this whisper was coming from. The band, with all the good lighting system, and glitch-proof variety of instruments just didn’t seem to rhyme with a typical Ugandan audience accustomed to their everyday artiste performing with all the vigour and life there. But trust Isaiah Katumwa, the show’s host and emcee. Yes, it came as a surprise to many that the saxophonist could try out the microphone. Little wonder he conceded that, “you can see I am a terrible emcee. I keep forgetting what to do.”
However, when he dropped the mic, grabbed his saxophone, stepped on stage and gave the band a boost with his passionate and tantalising act, it was as though the show’s switch had just been turned on.
Yet that was only a strategy to give life to the gist of the concert —the fundraising. Nabagereka Syliva Nagginda’s dazzling portrait was auctioned in a tight bidding process by East African Legislative Assembly member, Fred Mukasa Mbidde.
The activity saw some of Buganda’s fat wallets and political stars show money power with city businessman, Godfrey Kirumira and Ambassador Habib Kagimu paying Shs10m, socialite Zarinah Hussein Shs5m, Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago Shs2m, as NDF Board Chairperson and also Finance Minister, Maria Kiwanuka and the queen looked on in awe. Monitor Publications Limited, besides sponsoring the event, also bought the portraits at Shs2m.
The highlight of the fundraising was controversial businessman, Frank Gashumba who unlike the rest that contributed by way of pledges, responded to Mukasa Mbidde’s call by counting $400 before the audience.
The fundraising opened the curtains for what seemed the “best comes last moment” of the concert.The Ganda Boys hit the stage like they had been stung by a bee of African Soul and rock fusion.
They rocked the stage again, this time round with a touch of life and strength, ready to give the audience a memorable treat of a walk down the memory lane with their 2008 pioneer hit nafunye nze omwana and tracks from their two albums such as One Love, Jinja Road, Homesick, The Forgotten which got the audience on its feet. As Katumwa joined the band again, with his magical saxophone, one felt the patrons’ souls and senses get immersed in the smooth tones and hits of his melodious music.