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2002 Hits

By Vision Reporter

Added 2nd January 2003 03:00 AM

Another year of great musical achievement just rolled by. As Operation Wembley raged on, cleaning our city the streets of thugs, many Ugandan musicians were busy in studio cooking up their next offerings.

Another year of great musical achievement just rolled by. As Operation Wembley raged on, cleaning our city the streets of thugs, many Ugandan musicians were busy in studio cooking up their next offerings.

By Sebidde Kiryowa

Another year of great musical achievement just rolled by. As Operation Wembley raged on, cleaning our city the streets of thugs, many Ugandan musicians were busy in studio cooking up their next offerings.

Klear Kut, the urban teenage hip-hop heads who stirred up the music scene in 2001, earned us the first ever Kora All Africa Music Awards nomination for a Ugandan artistes based in Uganda. It was for Most Promising Male Artiste in East Africa for their All I Wanna Know single. It was only the second after Paris-based Acholi singer Geoffrey Oryema back in 1998.

Chameleon and Red Banton, two dynamic youthful artistes flew to the UK to win at the Uganda Music Awards, UK. Chameleon got both Ugandan Artiste Of The Year 2001 and Single Of The Year 2001 (for Mama Mia) while Red Banton got Best New Ugandan Artiste for 2001.

Still talking about awards, this year even saw efforts put together by local promoters, B&S Promoz to start up our very own brand of ‘Grammy Awards’ prestigiously called the Pearl of Africa Music Awards. Those efforts, however, hit a snag.

But it was not all good news. A few tears were shed a long the way. Celebrated song stress Sarah Birungi of the Iro Stars died in June at Paul Kafeero’s home in Maganjo, ironically, only months after the release of her latest album Walumbe Atwala Taza (Death is terrible!).

That notwithstanding, what really kicked in the excitement for music lovers the country over was the music. A lot of music was unleashed onto the very competitive music scene by a horde of artistes. Some of it rocked and some of it downright sucked. But there were songs that by their very mention, will remind one of the year 2002. Here are some of those.

Artiste: Maddoxx Sematimba
Single: Namagembe
The success of this song can only be described as truly phenomenal — a mellow percussive reggae melody that captured the imagination of multitudes of Ugandan music fans. Interestingly, Namagembe is a track from Ssematimba’s 2001 album Tukolagane. However, the track never gained its deserved attention until 2002. It later paved the way for other tracks on the album likes Tukolagane, Irene and Munakwalo to make it to the top of the Ugandan music charts.

Artiste: Chameleon
Album: Njo Karibu
The chap who set out doing background vocals for such ragga greats as Shanks Vivi D, got back in our faces for the first time this year with Njo Karibu. Coming in the wake of the hard to duplicate success of the huge Mama Mia, this album had to be exceptionally good to live up to music fans’ expectations, yet it fell slightly short.

Artiste: Chameleon
Album: Dorotia
Hardly before the dust settled on his Njo Karibu success, Chameleon leaped out of the closet with yet another one — Dorotia! New Vision readers voted it second song of the year. The album also features such notables as Boogera and Nekolera Mali. Chameleon clearly proved he was the man of the day in 2002.

Artiste: Chance Nalubega
Single: Yiga Okwagala
Chance Nalubega proved she was a resilient woman and artiste with the release of Yiga Okwagala. It is a reggae-ish instrumental with rumbatic texture.

Artiste: Lord Fred Sebatta
Single: Gologoosa
Enter Gologoosa in June last year. Wrapped in a variety of beats, this track saw Lord Fred Sebatta regain all his glory in splendour. Well thought-out, like most of his songs, the title track together with Namu Yanoba, another single off the album topped the play lists of stations of radios Simba and CBS FM and once again filled the dance floors of upcountry clubs and concert venues wherever the singer went.

Artiste: Kads Band
Single: Makanika Wange
Once in while, there is a song that becomes so popular, its lyrics are incorporated into the local lingua. Such a song is Manika Wange by the Kads Band. ‘Manika’ (mechanic in Luganda) has taken on a new meaning — that of ‘lover’ as have such words as ‘spanner’. Titi, who is admittedly a genius at crafting lyrical poetry of this nature scored big with this one. Funkster Steve Jean was at his best here. Declared the best band of the year by Steadman Consultants, Kads Band were fresh from the success of their 2001 album of the year Akalulu. Makanika Wange proved to be a dance floor favourite.

Artiste: Betty Nakibuuka
Album: Yamanyi Amagendo Gange
Now a wife (she got married in 2001 to John Senyonjo), mother as well as business woman, it was hard to imagine that Gospel songstress Betty Nakibuuka, could juggle the three alongside her recording career successfully. But she did and the result was Yamanyi Amagendo Gange launched in September at Christian Life Church, Bwaise. The six-track album featured a super production team including sound engineer Ken Lubwama and producers Jude Serwanga and Joe Tabula.

Guitar maestro Bukko of Afrigo Band and Kiddo of Matendo lend their skills with their lead and guitar licks. The title track came off as a hit getting hefty spin-offs on radio. The song is laced with a Congolese touch but also has an urban feel with a lot of sharp, foot-tapping throbs.

Artiste: Bobi Wine
Single: Kagoma
Few musicians truly work their way up to fame these days. Twenty-something year-old ragga artiste, Bobi Wine was definitely a force to reckon with on the music scene in 2002. His was a slow but sure rise to the acme of his craft. His entry ticket was the dance floor success Kagoma. 'Dance floor' because the song gained all the popularity, Wine needed to became the star he is today on the dance floor.

Artiste: Rachael Ssenkebejje
Album: Topapa
Her last resounding success was in 1998 with the song Onzise. This year, after three years working with renowned producer Jimmy Kasirivu at AK Studios in Lugogo, Rachael, a songwriter, producer, multi-instrumentalist and dance wizard released Topapa. The songs were sung in Luganda, English, Kiswahili in a unique blend of styles ranging from zouk, reggae, funk to dancehall. On the title track, which proved the biggest on this, her fourth album, the mother of three and wife to veteran guitarist Tony Ssenkebejje, preaches about chastity to teenage girls and the consequences of the lack of it — AIDS, teenage pregnancy etc.

Artiste: Red Banton
Single: Kawawa
Seeking to duplicate the success of Nonya Money in 2001, Red Banton, a self-made ragga artiste, released Kawawa. Written by himself, Banton teamed up with Steve Jean for this song. The result: the track followed virtually the same lyrical format of Nonya Money, with Banton resuming his blend of Luganda and English lyrics in an engrossing rhyme pattern, performed in a blunt dance hall style. The song also borrows heavily from the popular South African kwaito rhythms rocking urban radio, but with a heavier baseline laced with Steve's trademark strings.

Artiste: Betty Mpologoma
Single: Big Daddy
Album: Eki Love Love
Fusing elements of traditional gospel music with Afropop, Betty Mpologoloma once again graced the airwaves and dance floors with yet another of her addictive ear-teasing grooves. A follow-up to her critically acclaimed DJ Nsomerayo Akalango, the 2002 Eki Love Love album spawned another monster hit for Mpologoma called Big Daddy. Great stuff. Loads of airplay. Certainly kept this Seventh Day Adventist singer's name high on the list of listeners and, admittedly though a commercial outing, the sort of the stuff people referred to as ‘bumble gum', it had its time.

Artiste: Paul Kafeero
Single: Kampala Mu Court
It took Kadongo Kamu maestro Prince Paul Kafeero a staggering seven years, to put this song together and at the end of the day, it all paid off. The New Vision readers voted Kampala Mu Court song of the year in the paper's Best and Worst Of The Year 2002. Aptly, Kafeero was voted artiste of the year. It is safe to imagine that this is the song that got Kafeero that prestigious title. Kampala Mu Court, a traditional offering through and through, holds up a mirror to what is considered the riffraff of society in Kampala — the pickpockets, touts and all and explores their follies in the name of survival.

Artiste: Sewava Nsubuga & Phoebe Nassolo
Single: Kwata Wano
Sewava Nsubuga, a dancer-turned singer and Phoebe Nassolo are part of the Trends Band led by Afri-Talent's renowned actress Mariam Ndagire. But the two are seasoned artistes in their own right and nothing bore more testimony to their skill this year than their sizzling album Toninya Manda. This album spawned a huge hit Kwata Wano. The song features both vocalists in a duet. Nassolo, who takes the lead vocals, has a sonorous, smooth and seductive, yet powerfully commanding voice. It oozes with feminine elegance, beckoning the hardest of sceptics to pay attention. The juxtaposition with Sewava's own throaty, low-pitched but expressive sound makes for a matched combination. The sound is basically reggae-ish.

Artiste: Napoleon
Single: More Money
So popular was the single More Money, another Steve Jean production, that it rose an obscure Mbale-based Club Oasis DJ to instant national fame and later stardom in little less than a month. Napoleon (real names Innocent Asiimwe) is the artiste. In the song, he rants about the effect of money on relationships. More Money's likability had little to do with the message, whose appeal was admittedly restricted to a particular age bracket of Ugandan music fans. However, the quality of the production and the ease with which Napoleon drops his flow is quite tickling to the ear. His coherent rhyme pattern too is commendable.

Artiste: Andrew Kiwanuka
Single: Kampala
Kampala is a catchy techno track with a guy who sounds robotic (courtesy of a vocorder or auto tune in AV-1 Studio). And no, it was not produced in some sophisticated studio in Stockholm, Sweden, but right here in Kampala. It was a first for Andrew ‘Njogerere’ Kiwanuka, a 27-year-old who graduated from Makerere University with a Bsc in Electronic Engineering a while back. He is an assistant producer at AV-1 Studio who suddenly got interested in singing. One writer described Kampala as: “Catchier than a normal cold, comes packaged with a body-moving melody, the sort that provokes hysteria and is right for the party.” I guess that explains why it blow our minds this year.

Artiste: Michael Ross
Single: Senorita
Michael Ross is the teenage dance wizard whom nobody thought was good for anything else, but that ––- dance. How wrong we all were. Ross who just joined university this year proved to us he was made up of the right singing stuff when he released Hey Senorita. The track, a straight-out slamming R&B track was produced by funkster Steve Jean at AV-1 Studio in Kololo. Released in R&B, reggae and techno versions, the song burned up the airwaves across the spectrum of all FM radio stations catapulting the hitherto unknown ‘singer’ to overnight stardom and making him one of the most sought-after items on the concert circuit.

Artiste: Kads Band
Single: No Parking
No Parking! is a familiar phrase to most Ugandans. Whether a regular taxi commuter, pedestrian or private car owner, we have read those outstanding Police notices scribbled in red ink. Kads Band’s Romeo Akiiki, had another meaning to the phrase and chose a song to teach us all. No Parking, like Akiiki’s first major hit Genda Mpora, is a subtle hand work of Afrocentric rhythms produced with synthetic beats. It is sang predominately in Runyoro with interpolations of Luganda. Again Steve Jean crafted this one. It swept across the terrain to all stations in the West. From Masindi to Kabale.

Artiste: Sylvia Kyansuti and Bebe Cool
Single: Okunsunasuna
Talk about a surprise hit. Sylvia Kyansuti, 27, was an unknown singer before Okunsunasuna became a big hit. She first performed with a few groups in Jinja which never survived the day. Okunsunasuna was first recorded at Lutheran Media in Kasanga and produced by one Alex Musegula two years ago in Jinja. Last year, Kyansuti teamed up with Bebe Cool and the two travelled to Nairobi where Ogopa DJs added their midas touch. When Kyansuti released it to radio stations, it immediately skyrocketted to the top. But Bebe Cool was to contribute to the musical landscape through his mega hit Mambo Mingi successfully duplicating his 2001 success of Fitina.

2002 Hits

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