2010 is here. But when we look back, what a year 2009 was! A lot happened, from the death of Afrigo bandâ€™s Charles Sekyanzi, Fred Masagazi and Michael Jacksonâ€™sÂ messy death,Â ZuenaÂ turned her back on an allegedly naughty Bebe Cool and Mariam NdagireÂ hanged up her microphone in favour of the silver screen. In the same year, we saw an influx of foreign music from Nigeria, Tanzania and the West temporarily derailing our creativity as imitative genres rose to displace distinctly local ones like our kidandali.
The one thing that didnâ€™t change, though, was the volume of music that was released.Â Unfortunately, there was no PAM awards to reward the best. Our music analyst, Joseph Batte, however, does the honours.
Best Hip Hop Artiste: Navio
He is the most consistent of the hip hop artistes out there. He broke new ground with Klear Kut when he teamed with Percussion Discussion to record an artistic statement in Klear Discussion,Â Badman from Kamwokya, Buguma, Salon ft. GNL are some of the songs that broke new ground.
What I love about him is that real cool hip hop swagger he brings to the game. If you needÂ furtherÂ proof,Â listen to his delivery on â€˜Mr DJâ€™ and â€˜One Step Awayâ€™Â featuring Sway, Benny D, Atlas and Blu* 3.
Best Afro pop song of the year: Bread and Butter (Mozey Radio and Weasel) created ripples with this song. It was catchy. Every time it was pumped on radio, villages would come alive with kids and adults singing along to it:Â â€œYou are my bread and Butter ........ You my bread and butter......oli mugaati gwa butter.......mugaati gwa butter......... Unfortunately, it emerged that it was not their song, they were thriving on Arafatâ€™s sweat. But who really cared? Stolen or not, they made it their own. Besides, lest you forget, we live in a man-eat-man society.Â
Best Hip Hop song (Lugaflow): Ani Yali Amanyi (GNL Zamba)
He is clearly a lyrical genius and one of the prolific rappers of Lugaflow. I confess IÂ never liked Lugaflow, but when I heard this track, I was hooked to the beats and of course the clever word play. It leftÂ a wide toothy, ear-to-ear smileÂ firmly plastered on my face. There are worries that he is beginning to sound repetitive. Hope he realises and changes the game too.
Best new dancehall artiste: Rabadaba
It is easy to see how he started turning heads. His voice is in form, hitting those sweet, soulful highs and guttural bluesy lows likeÂ Weasel. His music has a refreshing raw appeal of dance hall. His songs Sirirubala and most recently Bwekiri, have given a freshness to his music that allÂ dance hall reggae lovers can enjoy.
Best Afro pop record:Carolina
He might be accused of pinching other peopleâ€™s songs and living off their sweatÂ but Bobi Wine has this uncanny ability to make a song his own. What made Carolina very real was the live guitar and catchiness of this track. The video is even better.Â
Best Afro fusion album: Misubawa (Morris Kirya)
Kirya follows the trend of ultra-modern Afro pop musicians in Uganda and the world, who are now going acoustic. But Kirya does it his way. He has distinguished himself from the often sickening, mundane kindandali and paku paku crowd. What made his approach even better, is the wider musical styles underneath his style. He has Modern approaches that give all the 12 tracksÂ a crossover appeal.
The distinctive artistryÂ in the production help put Kirya in the A class of musicians in Uganda.
Best Zouk Collaboration: Nina Omwami (Ngoni featuring Desire Luzinda)
This track caused some damage on the dance floor. The blend of Pato signature smoky voice and Luzinda sultry vocals ticked all the right boxes. The video does it even more. It gave us a glimpse into the sorry state of Nakawa HousingÂ Estate and reinforced my belief that this estate shouldÂ be sold off toÂ a well-moneyed investor. It is an ugly blot onÂ an otherwise beautiful Kampala.
Best RnB song byÂ a female group: Nyimbila Akayimba (Blu*3)
Something should be wrong with our radio people. This, by our local standards, is an awesome song. Blu*3 grab this nod because they presented it in a palatable and accessible way with live guitars. The songÂ has an unmistakable universal appeal.
Best Upcoming artist (Male):
Every now and then, a young talented artist comes around and shakes the charts with a huge hit single.Aziz Azion did it a year ago with Nkumila Omukwano. Of course there are many candidates like Rabadaba and Mickey Wine. Personally, I think this was Kenzoâ€™s year. He muscled his in the Â mainstream and then straight into ourÂ hearts withÂ songs like â€˜Yanimbaâ€™, KenzoÂ sweetly singing while colourful Mickey Wine toasted over the song a la his brother Bobi Wine. Watch out for the chap in 2010.
Best Female artiste: Cindy
Her music was typically an elegant mixture of dancehall, contemporary RnB, Afro-urban rhythms all wrapped up by her soaring voice. All the tunes had her singing the heck out of midrange notes with all the pride and spirit of a diva.
It is her voice that really does the magic. It grabs your attention and your throat at the same time, it wonâ€™t let go till the song ends.
Best Contemporary RnB song: Yegwe (Aziz Azion)
After creating so much waves with Nkumila Omukwano in 2008, he returned last year with Yegwe which still managed to rough up the waters. The song is certainly weaker than Nkumila Omukwano, nonetheless it is still endearing.
Best Smooth Jazz album: Another Step (Isaiah Katumwa)
The so-called jazz purists will tell you the music Katumwa doesÂ is not Jazz. Unlike Kenny G, there is a vast array of music stylings featuring on his records, ranging from zouk, lingala, RnB to reggae, but it is his tremulous phrasing of his soprano saxophone that will alwaysÂ excite me.
Best Afro-pop group: Mozey Radio and Weasel TV
Hate them for allegedly pinching other peopleâ€™s songs and occasionally fighting like wild cats on streets, or love them.Â The fact is, this dynamic duo and a couple of other young upstarts brought some sort of freshness to the industry with their simplistic but catchy â€˜chicken and chipsâ€™ music.Â They refused to be one dimensional by trying out different genres, Nyumbani (Zouk), Mukama Talya Mandazi (reggae) and Bread and butter (A fro pop). Â
Best Album of the Year: Rock in a country soul (Estah)
There is so much to enjoy on this album. It is a banger, lyrically and vocally. Almost all the songs were written by Estah, serving to demonstrate her exceptional composition skills. The production values were sky high, too.
The recording, the engineering production team under the direction of Tshaka Mayanja and featuring the peerless South African musicians did a great job.
Each song managed to stand on its own feet! With its soft rock and country edge plus the beautiful vocal arrangements, the albumÂ is neither too complicated, nor too wordy, making it very accessible.
Best Zouk Song: Nyumbani
(Viboyo, Mozey Radio and Weasel)
Zouk music is all about the groove. It is also mellow and beautiful with an irresistible dance beat and a strong bass line. Nyumbani fits that description.
Every time it was played, itÂ grabbed my throat in a vice-like grip and wouldnâ€™t let go until the last strains.
Best Gospel Song (Afro) Kani
(Pastor Wilson Bugembe)Â
The church has been making headlines for all the wrong reasons. Pastor Bugembe said enough is enough. He gave the church a tongue lashing with a call to be serious about our relationship with God. The usage of live instruments in thisÂ melodious South African Mbaqanga â€“flavoured song, helped breathe life into it and cross overÂ to the mainstream.
Best Kadongo kamu Song: Abagaga Bantumye (Dan Mugula)
A few years ago, he was consideredÂ aÂ top mellow-voicedÂ Kadongo kamu singer. Then he disappeared from the scene for reasons best known to himself. Last year,Â he suddenly bounced back strongly with this social track. Despite its sky high production values, it has the ability to retain its generic kadongo kamu style.Â Â Â
Best Afro Dancehall Vocal performance (Female): Kawonawo
Considering who gave the best voice performance among female artistes in Uganda, Kawonawo should incite much excitement. We discovered that Grace is a dynamite on stage.Â Her sweet guttural voice, the centre of this drumless song, glided through tunefully and eventuallyÂ won her an award.
Best Kadongo kamu (Contemporay): Tulepuke (Mathias Walukagga)
In 1975, Christopher Sebadduka showed that Kadongo kamu thrives on story-telling and wordplay. Walukagga is one of his many disciples. Katulepuke landed him in trouble with Samona and he was thrown in Luzira Prison. Musically, he veered from the traditional to a more contemporary flair that borrows heavily from reggae but lyrically.
Best Vocal Performance (Afro-pop): Bebe Cool
Remember his bizarre showbiz antics stepping on Nagindaâ€™s table in 2003 and the stage-managed fights with Chameleone over the years? The big question is: Was the much publicised break up with Zuena (they are now back together ) another of his many clever marketing ploys? Whatever happened, it surely helped turn him into
a better singer. He belted out some serious notes on Agenze and Bamugambe and in the course, reinforced the truth that pain sometimes does help make one a better person.
Best Gospel album Album: Masuwa (Charmant Mushaga)
Best Dancehall Song: Vumilia
Few young artistes in Uganda have
achieved the combination of longevity
and continued relevance as Jose
Chameleone. Hate him for his youthful
peccadilloes, he remains an endearing
musical treasure. His music is characterised by lyrical simplicity and
even simpler orchestral arrangements.
This time round, he was beginning to
sound repetitive like a broken record
then suddenly he reinvented himself with this club banger with equally hard-hitting beats that were directed at those who had written him off when
he broke his legs. It is the video that I donâ€™t like much. He is supposed to be a role model, why then does he tot that deadly thing called AK 47?
Best Gospel group:
Best Folk pop Song (Female):
Endabadda (Annet Nandujja)
Best Reggae song (Diaspora):
Viola (Spurgeon Wamala)
Best Gospel Collabo:
Masuwa (Charmant ft. Comfort)
Contemporary Classical Music: O Love (Cynthia Nakumba)
Best Instrumental album:
Best Live Band Single (RnB):
Sirina Reverse (Afrigo)
Best Upcoming female artistes:
Best Reggae & vocal Performance: Apollo Kagimu
Best Reggae Record:
People Change (Shamir)
Best Afro-pop artiste (Diaspora):
Ndoowa (Agaba Ebintu)
Best Contemporary RnB song from the Diaspora:
Kokonyo (Baby Joe)
Best Jazz Fusion album:
12welve Functions of Nu Jazz (Pragmo Nsaiga and Tshaka Mayanja)
Best Jazz Album from Diaspora:
If the rains come first (Somi)
Best Afro pop Song (female):
Byona Twala (Mariam Ndagire)
Best Contemporary RnB Vocal performance:
Mamacita OS (Omulangira Suuna)
Best RnB (live band) single: Sirina Reverse (Afrigo)
Best Gospel singer (Comfort)