Vision Group, in association with Twaweza Initiative and Buzz Events, is seeking to recognise artistes whose compositions advance society. Today, Gloria Nakajubi brings you Benon Mugumya’s music and how it influences society.
Sometimes after reading the title, it is easy to figure out a song’s theme. Two things come to mind; to take time and listen to it or pass it as just another of the usual love songs many artistes are known for. With Mugumya’s song Show Me Love, you will be caught off guard because it is not just your usual, but a special piece of music that brings out the message about the need to appreciate one another and live together in unity.
This song that was released in his 2011 album, New Day, focuses on the insecurities that people feel even when they are in places they should be calling home. As he explains, the song was motivated by what was going on in people’s lives and how some political leaders after getting into power forget serving people, but take care of their own interests.
One of the verses states: “If you are my brother, how come we keep fighting each other, destroying each other and if you are my sister, how come you do not treat me like a mother? If this is my country why do I feel like I do not belong here, I’m tired of living in fear. And if you are my leader, why do you act like a robber and a murderer, you act like you do not even care. For how long are you gonna steal, are you gonna kill, come on, enough is enough…somebody show me love.”
Mugumya explains that he has seen people fight over issues such as land or money to an extent of killing each other. And then others discriminate against people from backgrounds different from theirs. “I want a world where we all work together, looking beyond our differences and in my song, I pose that question asking when we shall choose love over hatred,” he says.
Mugumya also notes that the timing of this song in 2011 could not have been any better because as the country moved closer to voting, leaders needed to be reminded of their responsibilities and not just steal and go away. He further explains that the song highlights the importance of dialogue over war because in most cases when we choose to fight, we “I did not get good grades to take me to university and, therefore, went for a course in computer maintenance and networking at Macmain School of Computing, but I’m glad I did this because right now I apply every bit of it in my music production work.” he says.
Benon is the man behind Swangz Avenue, one of the established recording studios in the country. Other songs and inspiration Mugumya spent two years working on his New Day album, no wonder each song on this album was well thought out and put together.
Hope is the other song that is featured on this album and he explains that this particular song was motivated by the dilemmas children growing up in third world countries face. “As you grow up, you have many q u e s t i o n s with no answers, many problems with no solutions and lots of dreams with no motivation, but in this song, Hope, I try to show that there is light at the end of the tunnel,” he explains.
Mugumya says this song was partly inspired by a workshop he attended in Ethiopia in 2008, where he met producers from different African countries and other international producers. “After listening to their experiences, I purposed to come back and do work that will bring meaning to life even if it meant having only one person listening to my music,” he says. Hope, as Mugumya reveals, has changed lives of people here and beyond.
He says a friend of his in the USA recently told him that
an American parent was able to regain her daughter’s trust after she listened to this song. I Know and Hold On are the other songs on this album that call for perseverance and dedication no matter what happens along the way. “The time I did I Know with Vamposs, things were tight for us and we never knew we could break through the music industry,” he says.
Lack of media attention; Mugumya argues that many media houses do not give attention to such songs that have meaning and this eventually discourages artistes. He also says that it is hard to put a price tag on their products because people do not actually give music the value it deserves
Inspired by Mugumya’s songs
Beckie Nankunda, an accountant
Mugumya’s song, Show Me Love should be heard by all leaders in public offices. The message that I got was that leaders should not misuse public funds because this does not only affect citizens today, but also the future generation. In Hope, we Ugandans should have hope for better leaders
Shakirah Mutesi, a machine operator
The messege in Mugumya’s song Show Me Love, is that if one gets a chance to lead people, he or she should treat them like his family. If one makes a mistake, one should be corrected because we are all not perfect. Hope says that people
should be the eyes and ears of the Government. I think if Ugandan could do this, we would have a better Uganda.
Esther Namuganza, a student
The song Show Me Love encourages the youth to look up to role models like Mandela who left a legacy for all to see, even those that are not leaders. He also urges people to forgive and respect others. In Hope, Mugumya says many people have dreams and advises that one should not allow other people to make them lose hope, but rather, be Motivated to achieve their dreams
Bashir Seruyindo, a cyclist
In Show Me Love, Mugumya says we should stop shedding blood, but work for peace and love. Fighting on the streets does not solve anything. Ugandans should think of a roundtable discussion instead of killing each other. When I listen to Hope, even if I am facing challenges, I always overcome it and hope for the better.
Write to firstname.lastname@example.org You can also nominate via SMS type MUSIC (leave space) name of artiste (space) song and send to 8338. Alternatively, write to the Features Editor, P.O. Box 9815, Kampala or drop your nominations at any of the Vision Group bureau offices countrywide. Nominations close on January 15, 2014
To qualify for nomination, the musician should meet the following requirements;
❑ Be Ugandan
❑ The composition must be original and not pirated
❑ Have innovatively used their musical composition to convey deliberate messages advocating for positive change
❑ Have used their music to mobilise the masses to demand for accountability or for a community cause.
❑ Used their music to highlight societal ills like corruption, poor governance, poor service delivery, oppression and human rights abuses.