By Sebidde Kiryowa
He is the East and Central Africa Tae-kwon-do champion with a record eight international medals including four golds, two bronzes and a black belt Dan 2 stashed under his belt. He is set to travel to Nairobi for his master (Blackbelt Dan 3) soon. He is also a renowned trainer and fitness expert whose high profile clientele includes Vice President Dr. Gilbert Bukenya and North Youth MP Dan Kidega, among others.
But 26-year-old Loketo Lee Oneka is not satisfied with his martial arts accomplishments. The towering lad, with a body as hard as steel, feels it is high time the world found out the other skill he is endowed with-music! If this has startled you, you are not the only one.
Quite a number of his peers, musicians and clients MP Kidega inclusive, have laughed Onekaâ€™s aspirations off. â€œEverybody thinks Iâ€™m kidding around. When I told Hon. Kidega, he laughed. Other musicians think Iâ€™m crazy,â€ Oneka, who also serves as a personal bodyguard to artiste Bobi Wine, says.
But far from what his peers think, Oneka is deadset on his mission and has already embarked on the recording process. â€œThe song, to be entitled Chan Paacholi will be a ragga (dance hall) single sang both in English and Acholi. It is a song about our problems as Acholi people, especially the terrorism we have suffered over the years. The Kony insurgency is also addressed,â€ Oneka says gleefully.
He says the song, written by himself is going to be produced by Bobi Wine in his Dream Studio in Kamwokya, and is slated for release in mid November.
But why would a successful martial artists want to venture into such an erratic field as music.
â€œIâ€™ve been doing Tae-kwon-do for 16 years now and have not realised any real benefit. In Tae-kwon-do, we fight for medals and uniforms not money. But in music, if your song hits, you will be in demand overnight and make plenty of money for personal development,â€ Oneka confesses.
The fact that he confesses being lured by the temptation of overnight riches notwithstanding, Oneka vehemently denies that his sole motivation is money.
â€œI feel that I have a talent. I feel that I have what it takes to entertain Ugandans,â€ he asserts.
â€œBy the way, Iâ€™m not entirely new in music. In 1998, in Namuwongo, I used to do ragga over instrumentals. I won myself free beers. So, I believe itâ€™s only a matter of tapping my skills. Whatâ€™s so hard about doing ragga? All I need is a beat,â€ Oneka says with a straight face, in blissful ignorance of what hustle awaits him. â€œThe other reason is that I canâ€™t do Tae-kwon-do forever. Elly Wamala can still sing but at his age, thereâ€™s no way I could still be kicking people.â€
Loketo also feels that since the departure of Tempra Omona (now in the U.S), the northern region lacks a youthful representative on the now competitive and increasing lucrative urban music scene.
He says he is not afraid of risking with Luo music in central because, according to him, â€œmusic is a universal language. Itâ€™s all about the music, not the language. We buy Lingala music when we donâ€™t understand it because of the same reason.â€