Of international musicians and home grown talent

Not so many years ago I was a University student, excitable, energetic and curious.  Different people derive joy from different activities but if you ask ten random people what their idea of fun was back in the day, 50% or more shall be similar.Anyway, I loved music, still do.

Music for the soul

I attended my fair share of concerts while at Campus and no I won’t blame it on peer pressure. I actually wanted to go. In fact I was that ‘pressuring peer’ trying to get all my friends to save and join me. Before Uni, I had watched Shaggy, Chaka Demus and Pliers and even Red rat all in the company of my dad and brothers.It was always good ol’ music, great company and guaranteed safety but then I grew up and had to get out of the nest..attended some more…

In no particular order*

  • UB 40; They came, they sang, they conquered. Arguably the best concert I have been to. The queues were manageable even if thousands of people showed up and the band actually performed. They sang their hearts out and the instrumentalists were nothing short of amazing.  I don’t remember having any complaints after this show.
  • Wycleff Jean; My big brother loved Wycleff when he was just a rising star. I grew to appreciate him along the way and when I went back to his older music, realised how talented he was. I decided I would not miss this concert. The show was awesome. I even met a stranger with whom I was totally in sync! We sang along to every song and smiled like we’d known each other for a lifetime.He has remained a good friend since. However, the aftermath of the concert involved a mugging that I would rather forget. Sour memories but it was still a good night.
  • Akon; This one I am not even sure why I went..I think it is because his songs are just soooo easy to sing along to..Lonely I’m Mr. Lonely…” I’m locked up…Well, sing along I did and that is all I remember. That plus the fact that shortly after he left, it was said he fathered a child belonging to Sylvia Owori’s sister. I couldn’t care less.
  • R.Kelly; Getting into this one was a real piece of WORK!! but I eventually did. He somehow managed to sing over 20 songs in less than an hour. The trick was to only sing a verse and chorus for most. The crowd sang along…We screamed and stepped in the name of love. It was a good show..BUT because drama knows how to follow me, my friends and I went to Effendy’s after the show. It was here that Bebe Cool got shot..and sued Government even after his medical bills were taken care of (story for another day)

Anyway, that was the last concert I actually went for. I would not even feel any remorse when I would read about the artists jetting in and out of the country, flopping, rainy nights. It would all pass in a blur from Sean Kingston to  what’s his name again…?Yes Sisqo. I felt nothing

I told myself I was too old to push and shove..said maybe if I had a VIP ticket, but even when I got that I was always hesitant.

When I was offered Konshens tickets and a pass to the Jazz Safari( Really would have loved to watch Regina Bell and Gerald Albright) but decided I would just stay in with the mother, I realised maybe it is something else..but in all honesty, some things are just more important. The hiatus might eventually end. Sean Paul next month maybe?

On the other side of the coin lies a a pass time that I  feel is closer to home, paying to watch our very own artistes, be it poetry, dance or music.

  • The show that the lantern meet of poets puts up annually always leave me thinking. “Wow! Uganda really has talent and young people are extremely creative’
  • The Kwivuga perfomances are also a strong force to reckon with, lots of word play and musical talent. I watched Ruyonga perform for the first time on one of these nights; splitting rhymes for Jesus

After watching Tamba as part of Qwela, I finally watched her live last night and was left in awe. It wasn’t her beautiful face and pretty long natural hair(okay, even those things I stared at)but seriously she reminds me of Alicia Keys when she was just starting out. What you see is what you get. She doesn’t come out in a super sexy outfit screaming for attention, in fact she was dressed in plain black and had an embroidered scarf with colours of the Uganda flag.

Her simplicity was complimented by her soft rich voice. Do not even get me started on the ease with which these lyrics are belted out. It is almost like she would do it in her sleep…

So when shy me got to the back of my chair to dance away, I really did enjoy the ‘dance like noone is watching’ feel literally. I mean it was even dark, right? Wrong!

Maurice Kirya came and pulled a friend and I to the front so we could dance..Lights, cameras..yikes!! Still, without thinking, I went

1. It was Maurice Kirya!!

2. He chose us

3. Meanwhile,his hair is growing

4. It was Maurice!

Well, long story short, it was a lovely experience. There is something about knowing you can speak to the artist at the end if you choose to , joy in having a cup of tea as you savour the experience, the sense of familiarity when you  turn to whisper(not yell) as you speak to your neighbour..the comfort of knowing you are home, they are home. Now that is the kind of concert I have grown to appreciate.

5 Replies to “Of international musicians and home grown talent”

  1. Oh essie.. I had even stopped counting how many shows you had gone to but now that u’ve written. Let me count….. Oh wyclef oh wyclef… Yiii our fotos. Let’s not go there. 🙂 🙂


  2. what a journey, you carried me away. Impressive. But you’re right on all your points. Attending tamba and iren then another concert last week by mac elvis, also gave me a feeling that i have never got with the big international artists. So am with you on this. Keep on bloging, you’re inspiring me.


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