Vision Group, in association with Twaweza Initiative and Buzz Events, is seeking to recognise artistes whose compositions advance society. Today, Ronald Mugabe brings you Joy Tendo ,a gospel musician whose inspirational music brings hope to those that are hurting.
From the expression on people’s faces as we bade 2013 farewell and welcomed 2014 at the Nelson Mandela stadium, you could instantly establish what this musician Joy Tendo meant to Ugandans. At just the mention of her name, loud screams fi lled the stadium. When she received the microphone and headed for the stage to perform her latest hit single Tewali Mbeera, everybody including the elderly stood up, danced while singing along.
Everybody was shutting the doors on all the hardships they faced in 2013. With her fi rst verse, Tendo is able to capture everyone’s attention with a therapeutic message in these Luganda words, “Gwe abadde akaba leero nzize ompe amatu go, gwe bambi asiinda leero nzize mukwano kakana.
Ebizibu bikuyinze obungi, ensi eno ekwefulidde, omulimu guwedewo, omukyala yekyanze eka, abaana bo balwadde boona, buyambi tolinawo yadde, embeera ekukute wena ekuyinze laba wekyaye era obikooye. Osobedwa eka ne mukibira muganda wange. Ngamba yimuka, yatula, ndinagwano atawangulwa…” The song is translated as, “You that have been crying today listen to me and calm down.
Your problems are overwhelming and many have turned against you, lost your job, your wife has left you, your children are sick and you are helpless and tired. You are confused. Get up and declare that you shall overcome.” The chorus reinforces the verse with her emphasising that there is no permanent situation and that every bad situation experienced today is tomorrow’s testimony. What better way to keep Ugandans hopeful than to remind them that they are never alone through life’s struggles and that God is always there to make the best out of the worst.
Who is Joy Tendo?
Finding the right words to describe Tendo is not an easy task. She is a gift God gave to Uganda to bring hope and a new lease on life despite the social, economic and political hardships in our nation. Tendo is a gospel artiste, who puts a smile on every face. Born to the late Patrick Mwanje and the late Cissy Nanyonjo in the late 1980s, Tendo has a humble background. She attended Nakasero Primary School before joining Buddo Junior School to complete her primary education. She then went to Tororo Girls’ School for her O’level before joining Makerere College School for her A’ level.
All this time, Tendo was a music icon admired by her peers, especially in school fellowships for her talent. Tendo later proceeded to Makerere University Business School where she graduated as an accountant. Her music journey started in church as a young Sunday school singer and on recognising her outstanding abilities, she was elevated to sing with the senior church choir. Professionally, she says she started singing in 2007.
This was after she received an offer from fellow musician Eddie Yawe after watching her sing during one of her scripture union performances. She then released Gwe weka and Sembela otwale ekyamagero kyo in 2008. Her biggest song so far is Tewali Mbeera; a song that has mended many people’s broken hearts from all walks of life. For this, she gives credit to her pastor, Doreen Kamese of Way to Heaven church, Ntinda for mentoring her through this journey.
Tewali Mbeera was inspired by the fact that many people go through tough times in life and always feel like giving up. Tendo says situations like poverty, unemployment, divorce and hunger among others is causing desperation among people. This song is thus meant to encourage people that no situation is permanent.
What others say about her
Gidah Sitenda, a procurement offi cer with Bank of Africa says Tendo is her favourite musician. She continues to explain that Tendo’s music makes her feel better no matter the situation. Flavia Nannono, an administrative assistant at Ultimate Capital Ventures Limited, an advertising agency says that Tendo always sings songs with good messages, especially Biteredde. Christine Segawa, a principal administrator says Tendo’s music inspires every Christian and teaches that no situation is permanent in the eyes of God.
Tendo’s Tewali Mbeera album boasts of 14 inspirational songs and those that have had the privilege to access a copy can stand to testify of its power to bring bliss. On this album there are songs like Biteredde, Yesu Amala, Yesu ye Yeka, Nyimbira Yesu, Begendereze on which she features city rapper Tommy Race and Sheila Race Kentaro, also a budding gospel sensation.
What she has achieved
Tendo’s smile can tell it all when you ask her this question. “My life has taken a great turn since I released this album,” she says. She continues to explain that she has been invited by many of her fans to perform at their functions like introduction ceremonies, weddings, graduations, as well as church events and this has helped her establish more connections locally and internationally. Recently, her Tewali Mbeera video was voted the best gospel video for 2013 according to gospelmodes.com. Tewali Mbeera beat songs like Pastor Bugembe’s Mpangira, Jackie Senyonjo’s Sisaana, Prophecy by Exodus, Coopy Bly’s Sida Mukyalo, among others to this accolade by 56% of the vote.This makes Tendo a force to reckon with and she says 2014 is defi nitely her year to scale higher heights.
Time and again, the commonest of challenges mentioned by artistes is the promotion of their music. Tendo is not any different when it comes to this. She says that promoting her music has been a huge challenge, but she is proud to say that Tewali Mbeera paved its way to the top without too much struggle. “I’m glad this song touched people’s hearts instantly and I didn’t have to beg radio stations to play it. It just made its way and I thank God for his favour.” Like many other artistes, Tendo also mentions the copyright issue as a big hindrance to her progress in the industry
INSPIRED BY TENDO’S SONGS
Mondo Mugisha, a pastor
Every time I listen to her sing, I feel my spirit lifted. It teaches me that challenges make us stronger despite how hard they hit us. Tewali Mbeera is like fuel that takes you through the darkest of tunnels with hope for a brighter spot at the end.
Ruth Wanyana, a radio personality
I instantly fell in love with Tendo’s music, especially Tewali Mbeera after receiving a CD from Tendo at Pastor Bugembe’s church. I love that song and our listeners love it too because they always request for it, perhaps one of the reasons it has topped the charts since July last year.
Catch Musicians Making a Difference Recognitionceremony live on the four Vision Group TV stations of Urban TV, Bukedde 1, Bukedde 2 and TV West on January 31 from 7:30pm - 8:30pm