When rapper Ruyonga hits the stage, untold magic for the love of rap and hip hop captures the audience. His taming lyrics got revellers at World Music Day nodding their heads. But Jemimah Sanyu, in white pants and waist beads, reminded us that a song in Luganda or Lusoga still has the possessing power of tracks like Racheal Magola’s legendary Obangaina. She vocally raved on and wildly danced, luring the crowd into dancing Kadodi.
The 34th edition of the International World Music Day, courtesy of Alliance Francaise, Embassy of France and Uganda National Cultural Centre, in partnership with Bayimba Cultural Foundation, brought Uganda an appreciation for music that one may not often listen to on the radio. This partnership inspires new voices, allowing artistes rediscover music and learning to play it themselves.
“It gives artistes like us, world music artistes, who love to celebrate music, bringing it from way back down- from our roots, and sharing it with the crowd.
It exposes the richness of different sounds of music, cultures, different instruments…” says vocalist Jackie Akello. Daniel Okiror from Teso played the Adungu, Thumb piano and Kora, reviving that authentic sound, which seems to be twinkling down amid new generational electronic music. Sandy Soul, a poet and vocalist, showed musical growth. Clad in a yellow over-flow gown, her tracks, Alright, Superstar, Baliba Bambuuza, and Baby, had a playful soul, and funky jazz urban sound. Unit 446 also did a commendable job.
This year’s overriding motive is to extol the virtues of togetherness, exploring and sharing different cultures, thus the theme: “Living music together.” Indeed, the fest gathered a range of artistes (Joel Sebunjo, Body of Brian, Jascinta), most rather to enjoy growth of the music industry and as Susan Kerunen says, watch and learn from the new acts.
A multi-cultural audience seemed jubilant, in spite of language barriers with lyrics, such as when Makadem from Kenya sang in Luo.
For the Undercover Brothers, who opened the night, performing on the big stage is an opportunity that proves how far they can reach as artistes. Previously performing on the street at last year’s Fête de la Musique, the boy-band brought rap to the big stage, and impressed with their song, Nabirye.
About the day
The event. Launched in 1982, as a free event open to multitudes across the globe, this event celebrates live music and showcases a variety of musical customs and genres. It has grown to more than 120 countries in 700 cities across the world.
Uganda’s case. In Uganda, it showcases music from the non-mainstream artistes, whose music you will not find in the club but nonetheless is authentic.