How Okwepicha launched British TV series

One of the scenes from Queenie. Photo/Andrew Kaggwa.

What you need to know:

  • But this is not the first time a Uganda song has found its way into a foreign film or drama, Geoffrey Oryema’s music has for instance been widely used in films, series, documentary films and variety TV shows across the globe.

It is June. This means we are in the middle of the year. Usually,  it is the time most of the blockbusters are released, lots of music albums and tours tend to kick off.

On TV, most of the best TV shows premiere around this time. For instance, new seasons of the House of The Dragon, Bad Wolf, The Bear, Bridgerton and The Boys, have since been confirmed to start later or early this month.

Among the new shows premiering is Queenie on Channel 4 in the UK and also streaming on Hulu. The story follows the life of Queenie, a 25-year-old British-Jamaican living in South London,  juggling two cultures and mastering none.

This show kicks off with our protagonist learning that she suffered a miscarriage while visiting a gynaecologist. With dramas, her life only worsens each episode that follows.

That is remotely the reason we picked interest in the show, and the main reason we picked interest in the series. I believe most of the Ugandans interested are only there for the opening minutes of episode one.

So, if you have not been staying under a rock, you already know that Ugandan artiste Gravity Omutujju’s Okwepicha features in this episode as a sound track. There was debate about the context and why the song was used online but there seems to be no actual reason. In fact you could say the song was only used because it fit the mood the director was looking for in the particular scene.

A sound track is recorded sound accompanying and synchronised to the images of a book, drama, motion picture, radio  or TV programme, or video game. A sound track may be pre-recorded and could even be a popular song sampled and fit into a scene, different from a film score, that orchestral sound that seems to define the mood of different scenes by adding musical colour.

Gravity’s song features in some of the first minutes of the show where the camera pans to a mural painting, apartment buildings and a character walking to a friend’s room.

But this is not the first time a Uganda song has found its way into a foreign film or drama, Geoffrey Oryema’s music has for instance been widely used in films, series, documentary films and variety TV shows across the globe. Makambo for instance was used in the 2017 film, Song to Song while his other song Exile was used in Billy Zane’s action film Danger Zone.

2007’s Life is Wild, featured a song by Percussion Discussion Africa. The American drama television series was adapted by Michael Rauch, George Faber and Charlie Pattinson from the British drama Wild at Heart. The show was about a New York veterinarian who moves his second wife and their two sets of children to a South African game reserve run by his former father-in-law.

However, for now, many Ugandans are choosing to watch Queenie and who knows, probably more local music will end up in other projects.