By Titus Serunjogi
Mention Sylvia Namutebi and music connoisseurs will immediately think about a plump girl dancing vigorously to Bakisimba drum beats alongside her mother Annet Nandujja of the Planets. That is now in the past.
The 20-year-old Namutebi recently awed Ugandans in Sweden when she launched her own debut album of pop music and nothing on the traditional songs. Her curtain raisers included the PAM Awardsâ€™ best female artiste, Iryn Namubiru, Nandujja, Denis Rackla (of the Cinderella fame), and Henry Katamba. Judging by her spectacular performances, Namutebi is an item to watch out for. Her songs will soon hit the local FM airwaves.
Namutebi brings dramatic voice effects right from folk music to pop. Remember how Nandujja had added verve to A little bit of love (an R& B track featuring several Ugandan artistes)? Well, Namutebi adds the homegrown touch to sensational Afropop grooves. The tempo remains upbeat all through her six-track album Nguo ya Africa. It also has catchy choruses that will have you humming and nodding your head. The singing is richly backed up by warm, robust guitars and drums.
Kyayaludde, one of the tracks, reminisces a childâ€™s fascination with music all through her youth. Definitely Namutebi is recounting her own life. This song is done to sensational Afropop that will ravish any party animal off his or her feet. And the Soukous interlude is so sweet; you would want to hear it again. Kudos to No End Entertainment producer Henry Kiwuuwa for a good job!
However, go on to Omwana and you might be moved to tears. This forlorn blues number recounts the woes of a poor little orphan who is rejected by parents of his playmates, his teachers, as well as pedestrians. â€œAccept me as a child too,â€ the orphan beseeches in the song. The video for Omwana, shot in the tough cold Swedish winter, portrays the forlorn childâ€™s message best. Watch it live on WBS Television and you will have reason to think otherwise of orphans.
Namutebi has been leaving audiences in awe with her dazzling performances and singing ever since she was a little child. She has performed in high school music festivals. In the 1990â€™s, she was performing alongside her mother. She performed in the UK before settling to study Hospitality management in Stockholm. But that has not stopped her from singing.
â€œI have always desired to showcase a more modern and funky side of myself. Yes, I have been brought up singing Uganda traditional music, but I can also make pop. And then, anybody can dance to my tunes,â€ says Namutebi.
She recently came back to Uganda to remix her songs at the No End Entertainment Studios. Then she was earmarked to perform in East London along with Ragga Dee, Sweet Kid, Mega Dee and Prossy Kankunda. And though she had to indulge in a folk music traditional music interlude, she soon got back to dazzle the audience with her new songs. The big thrill of that night? The title track Nguo ya Africa. Nguo ya Africa is indeed a song of celebration of the black race.
Namutebiâ€™s other songs include Nyongera Ku Love, a pulsating Zouk track, as well as Tekaba Kalulu where she tells people to let love take its course. Catch Namutebi performing all these songs live in Kampala and you will be awed.