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Tuesday,October 22,2019 10:54 AM

46 years behind the saxophone

By Vision Reporter

Added 10th July 2013 05:47 PM

Afrigo is Uganda’s most influential and longest performing band. At its helm is Moses Matovu, the band leader, who has shaped it into what it is today. He shared his life’s journey

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Afrigo is Uganda’s most influential and longest performing band. At its helm is Moses Matovu, the band leader, who has shaped it into what it is today. He shared his life’s journey

Afrigo is Uganda’s most influential and longest performing band. At its helm is Moses Matovu, the band leader, who has shaped it into what it is today. He shared his life’s journey with Paul Waiswa


Who is Matovu? Can you give us a brief personal description?
My son, truly many cannot tell who I am. I was born on June 19, 1949, to the late Abdullah Bukenya and late Christina Solome Nakito, in Kawempe.
 
I passed through two primary schools and two secondary schools. I never achieved higher education. I joined Pilla’s SS for my O’level but did not go past this level.
 
I was an excellent footballer and soccer took over my life. I played for Slumbey FC, Nakivubo Boys, Marketing Board FC, Express FC, Police FC and Fiat FC. I retired after joining Buganda team in 1968.
 
How have you found the music business?  
I got involved in music professionally in 1967, at the age of 18. I played in Cranes Band up to 1974. I believe you were not even born! 
 
After the members of Cranes Band split up, me and eight others formed Afrigo Band. 
In 1970, I recorded my first song, Jimmy Saasira, followed by Emiziro in 1971. I then recorded various tracks including: Ekazi ekadde, Sifaayo, Natongo, Silina Anatwaala, Omugagga Ssimuntu and Babinojjo.
 
Afrigo Band is older than many of its fans. As the band leader, take us through its course.
We started performing at Bat Valley bar and restaurant between 1975 and 1976. We then shifted to Hotel Cape Town De-villas up to April 10, 1979 before the war. Hotel De-villas was under the president’s office. One day, during this period our machines were  stolen. 
 
We continued playing, even as the political situation got worse. Things stabilised in 1986 when NRM came to power. Music started becoming more profitable in Uganda. Many of the original band members have since died, a few have quit, but some are still serving.
 
The deceased include Don Kanta Ibanda, Paul Serumaga, Fred Kigozi, Rashid Musoke, Godfrey Mwambala, Billy Mutebi, Dede Majoro and Paddy Nsubuga.
 
But the present day Afrigo Band is still strong. It has 19 members including Eddie Yawe, Joanita Kawalya, Joe Tabula, Rude Boy Devoh and Racheal Magoola.
 
As the chairman of Uganda Rights Performing Society, can you explain the copyright law? 
The copyright law prohibits persons from reproducing one’s services or products without legal permission. Uganda is a member of the World Trade Organisation and follows the guidance of its treaties. 
 
The law solves cases of song infringement and song trading, that is, buying and selling of the song. Generally, it provides guidelines for how artistes and music consumers gain from one another.
 

46 years behind the saxophone

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