EDITORâ€”I have just read Pidson Kareireâ€™s article, â€œUgandaâ€™s top three music stars are hot airâ€ published on Monday. Kareire raises very interesting arguments and I share some of his views. However, I think we, the media, are not helping our artistes to improve.
We are responsible for the â€˜hot airâ€™ that they produce. Let me explain. And I will also ask you to visit www.unclejazz.blog.com and read my take on PAM Awards. PAM Awards is supposed to be the biggest platform to propel â€˜musiciansâ€™ a step ahead, but PAM Awards is a business, milking money out of the infant music industry! We, the media continue to refer to Chameleone, Bobi Wine and Bebe Cool, Michael Ross, Juliana, etc as musicians. They are not. They are largely vocalists. The technical description in the industry is â€˜recording artistesâ€™. Because that is all they do: walk into a studio and record vocals, have the producer do the instrumentation and arrangement. The distribution, of course is done by the Kasiwukiras of this world. Real musicians in Uganda are people in the mould of Maurice Kirya, Isaiah Katumwa, Richard Kaweesa, Moses Matovu of Afrigo, TShaka Mayanja, Geoffrey Oryema, Sylver Kyagulanyi, Sundiata, etc. These people play at least a musical instrument, on top of doing vocals (Katumwa being an exception here, for obvious reasons). As a recording artiste though, Chameleone for me, is tops. I rate him very highly. He has been â€˜quietâ€™ for a while, but I don't think he has burnt out. He is a talented, multi-lingual vocalist and song writer, and of course he is very socially focused to understand what the world around him wants to listen to. Of course he has walked into blind alleys lately, like his recent collaborations with both Iryn and Chagga, as Kareire rightly pointed out! Daft pieces of music! But the hits Bomboclat and Sivyo Ndivyo are not that old either, are they? Bobi Wine is NOT a singer; he is not a vocalist and certainly never a musician. He is just a compelling gambler whose label as a ghettos man has struck all the right cords with the corporate world as well as the ghettos.
Bebe Cool is just Bebe Cool: a non-starter who craves and rides on public attention, even in its nastiest form, to be somebody. I agree with most of the stuff Kareire said about this pretender. My beef with the media can be summed up in five simple points:
Most of us are quite ignorant about what constitutes a musician. We donâ€™t inform ourselves about music and its genres; so we end up nominating zouk songs as R&B! Because of this, we canâ€™t critique a song, a singer or band!
We are caught up in the commercialisation within the industry, rather than the quality of the music.
We become fans, and get sucked up into the rivalries, and lose our impartial position to comment on these artistes. We have an irritating obsession with these three: where they had a fight, where they drank Waragi, where they took a pee at the roadside, where they grow marijuana, where their wives give birthâ€¦
This is idle talk fit for only radio DJs for their â€˜gossipâ€™ shows or whatever they call it. Serous mediaâ€”print, radio and TVâ€”ought to concentrate on the grander job of critiquing music. This debate can go on and on. There is a lot of stuff that needs putting right.
Media not helping artistes to improve