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Kirk Whalum jets in for rotary jazz fundraiser

By Kalungi Kabuye

Added 6th March 2019 11:23 AM

The 61-year-old saxophonist from Memphis, Tennessee, is famous for his smooth melodious jazz, and counts R&B, rock and gospel among his influences.

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Kirk Whalum, centre in orange coat, arrives at Entebbe International Aiport accompanied by Ugandan jazz artist Isaiah Katumwa (left), and Rotarian Aggrey Kagonyera (right). (Photo by Kalungi Kabuye)

The 61-year-old saxophonist from Memphis, Tennessee, is famous for his smooth melodious jazz, and counts R&B, rock and gospel among his influences.

KAMPALA- Award-winning American jazz artiste Kirk Whalum arrived at the Entebbe International Airport on Tuesday night ahead of his fund-raising show, Whalum Live, to be held at the Serena Conference Centre on Thursday.

Accompanied by a 7-man band, Whalum touched down aboard KLM flight 539, and immediately declared how glad he was to be back in Uganda.

“Asante sana”, were the first words Whalum said to the media. “I’m very glad to be back in Uganda and in Africa, it really means a lot to me to be back here.
 irk halum right greets gandan music promoter shaka ayanja after arriving at ntebbe on uesday night  hoto by alungi abuye Kirk Whalum, (right) greets Ugandan music promoter, Tshaka Mayanja after arriving at Entebbe on Tuesday night. ( Photo by Kalungi Kabuye)

 

 
And I’m proud and humbled to be part of a very special effort to fund-raise for the Rotary Mengo Blood Bank, and I hope Ugandans enjoy the show.”
 
The 61-year-old saxophonist from Memphis, Tennessee, is famous for his smooth melodious jazz, and counts R&B, rock and gospel among his influences.
 
He toured for seven years with the late soul singer Whitney Houston and played the lead sole on her song I’ll Always Love you, the best-selling single by a female artist in music history.
 
Whalum has played with the likes of Babyface, Luther Vandross, and jazz veterans Dave Koz, Norman Brown and Chuck Loeb. He is the recipient of 12 Grammy Award nominations, and in 2011 received the Grammy for Best Gospel song for the song It’s what I do.
 
He came to Uganda in 2015 where he headlined the 8th edition of the Jazz Safari alongside R&B singer Karyn White.
 
Thursday’s concert, sponsored by the Vision Group, MTN, Stanbic Bank and the Institute of Corporate Governance Uganda (ICGU), is aimed at raising US$500,000 needed for the equipping of the Rotary Blood Bank at Mengo Hospital.
 
According to World Health Organization standards (WHO), Uganda needs at least 350,000 units of safe blood annually yet only 250,000 units of blood are collected. This leaves a deficit of approximately 100,000 units of blood annually.
 
In 2013 a number of Rotary Clubs set out to build a modern facility to complement the existing National Blood Bank in Nakasero.
 
The construction of the 800sqm facility cost US$ 856,000, which was funded by concerts, a Rotary Cancer run and donations from corporate entities, Rotarians and individual well-wishers.
 irk halum performing in ampala in 2015 Kirk Whalum performing in Kampala in 2015

 

 
The sophisticated blood banking equipment and training of the specialised staff cost US$247,000, which was raised from Rotary Clubs both in Uganda and abroad through a Rotary grant.
 
The Rotary Blood Bank was jointly opened by the then Rotary International President John F. Germ and the Right Prime Minister of Uganda Hon. Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda on February 27th, 2017, and so far approximately 9,647 units of blood have been collected.
 
But currently the Rotary Blood Bank cannot process the blood, which is stored and sent to the Uganda Blood Transfusion Services for processing. Proceeds from this concert will go towards equipping the Mengo Blood bank to be able to adequately process the collected blood.
 
 

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