Vision Group in association with Twaweza Initiative and Buzz Events are seeking to recognise artistes whose compositions advance society. Today, Gloria Nakajubi brings you Irene Ntale a musician who has picked up interest in singing about politics in the country
At just 24 years, Irene Ntale is one of the best young voices this country is celebrating at the moment and she is determined to shake up the status quo in society. “Everything is politicised, there is no more merit-based success, but rather you have to know someone to achieve anything good even if you have the best qualifications,” she says. Her song Politics that was nominated by our readers was released in August 2013 and as she explains, she wrote the song in 2011, but due to financial constraints she failed to release it then.
Ntale explains that after following a number of political and financial mismanagement scandals as well as seeing a lot of discrimination in awarding jobs, she decided to put her pain in writing and that is how this song was birthed. One of the verses in the song clearly highlights her intended message: “I know it’s the politics, you got to know somebody but if somebody doesn’t know somebody akoole atya (What should he do)? “Ekisooka ye mutuuze ye yakuusa wooli naakulonda naawe bambi tomwerabira” (in the first place it is the residents that put you where you are by voting for you, so please don’t forget him). Ntale notes that this is the state of affairs in Uganda, but we cannot continue like this and because we are all of the same blood so weshould appreciate one another.
She says it is so unfortunate that after entrusting our leaders with offices of responsibility, they choose to work for their own or their family’s interests. Ntale explains that one of the major scandals that broke her heart was the Global Fund, which was meant to benefit the poor, but ended up in the hands of a few, but privileged people. “I know some leaders will one day listen to this song and will, perhaps, change the way they behave after getting into power when they realise that people actually pay attention to what they are doing,” she explains.The song Politics is done in both Luganda and English, which makes it widely appreciated countrywide.
Ritah Kwesiga, a final year student of Makerere University, says Politics is such an inspiration and finds it more appealing to young people due to its genre (Afro-beat). “With Politics, you dance and listen to the message as well because the beats are so good and the message is clear. You know, sometimes we miss out on important messages just because they have been presented in a boring way,” she says.
Patrick Kaliisa, a banker says this has helped him to learn to appreciate other people as human beings without attaching irrelevant factors such as tribe, colour or religion. “Every time I meet someone, I first look at them as human and then maybe others can come in later if I really want to know more about them,” he says.
Who is Ntale?
Ntale is born and raised in Ntinda, a Kampala suburb. She comes from a family of 13 children.She went to Kitante Primary School, Kitante Hill School and Makerere High School for O and A’ level, respectively.She later went to Kyambogo University where she graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Procurement and Logistics in 2011. Joining Music Ntale says she grew up singing in the church choir and during her S.4 vacation she was one of the lead singers at Victory City Church in Ntinda.
Crossing to secular music was not that easy as many of her peers in church now considered her a ‘lost sheep’. “I believe salvation is personal and everyone will be held accountable personally, not as a group,” she says. In her S.6 vacation, she joined a band, which is now defunct and would do most of their back-up vocals.Ntale went on to become a solo performer and this was enhanced by the fact that she is both a vocalist and a guitarist. “I used to do what was known as ‘acoustic nights’ at different pubs in and around town,” she says. In January 2013, she joined Swangz Avenue, one of the best record label and production houses in the country.
Power of music
“I believe a lot needs to be done, especially by artistes if we are to infl uence society positively and this is by changing the lyrics of our music,” she says She says artistes need to come up with songs that stir up their audience to change their lives rather than enhancing negative living. Ntale also explains that without real messages, they cannot survive in the industry. So to ensure sustainability, artistes have to be more creative to bring out issues that affect the community
She is also one of the Twaweza ambassadors in their citizen awareness campaigns that are aimed at getting people involved in changing the communities around them. “We shall be doing school tours, concerts and we are also going to shoot a video of the song Politics with support from Twaweza. So I am a Twaweza ambassador and I have to portray the values they believe in,” she says
for money to fi nance everything myself, which was quite hard since I was still in school,” she says. Penetrating the market was also not easy and she says sometimes she would get discouraged when on stage; people just look at her because they didn’t know who she was
INSPIRED BY NTALE'S MUSIC
Jerry Mulumba, a document security specialist
Everyone’s duty is to make sure that the world we are living in is a safe place, make peace with your neighbour. One has to be righteous and the world will have a smile on its face
Simpson Saire, WISC International Agency
Identify somebody important and helpful to you, so that they can help you when you are in need. Avoid hypocrites. Also those who are privileged should help those in need and God will reward you generously
Angella Namugenyi, Secretary, Mix Link Ltd
In this world there are ups and downs, there is no smooth ride, but one has not to cheat to be happy. Ask yourself, has my life made peace with all, if not then correct it.
Rona Rujuta, an artist
Practice what you preach and be a good example to the rest. A good leader should show by their deeds. and living a legacy that people can remember after you have past on.
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.