Unravelling Susan Kerunen’s music

Saturday January 24 2015

Susan Kerunen

Susan Kerunen performs at the Tusker Experience show last week. PHOTO by Edgar R. Batte 

By Edgar R Batte

Susan Kerunen might not be big in stature, but the weight of her songs and stage delivery make her stand out. She was a main performer at the newly launched “Tusker Experience” at Silk liquid, located at Village Mall, in Bugolobi. There, she treated revellers to a live stage performances coupled with dance and conversation.

Kerunen was at her usual good, emotively singing tunes that reconnect her to her Alur roots. In her dance, ululations and vocal delivery were deep emotions conveyed with energy in her stage utilisation. She did songs off her three albums; Nimefika which introduced her on the music scene in 2006, Lek (2008) and Acher achera (2011), as well as her forthcoming album. Kerunen likes to do her art professionally and she took care to introduce her songs and the inspiration behind them.

She performed loka cha, a song which talks about crossing over to greener pastures, Acher achera, a song about rebirth after a hard situation, which, as she explained, was composed after the death of her father.

In Gilaal, she called on you to ignore haters who think they have your life figured out but they don’t, and there comes a time when they have to go.

Hakuna took her back by a few years, reflecting on her teenage life with beauty beads around her waist and neck that were given to her by her father. In Akuru, she sang about a bird that sings every morning, fulfilling its wake-up call.

“I dedicated this song to the African woman to hear the call and be something they want to be. Min kulu is a new song coming on my fourth album. It is a story about how the ogre fell in love with one of the king’s daughters and wanted to marry her,” she explains.

A few songs pulled the emotional plug on the crowd. Lek was one of such songs which relays a story of a young girl who is living positively and fighting on to adhere to her medicine, with a dream of becoming a doctor one day.

Kerunen also let us in on one of her favourites, Ngom is in which she talks about prejudice and judgment her mother taught her through a folk tale. This is the song that got her a Kora Award nod in 2007.

The main performer was backed up by a group of gifted instrumentalists, including her producer and fiancé, Jude Mugerwa, who was on the keyboard.