DANCEHALL AMBASSADOR: Ali has for long yearned for a meeting with his star, Vampino. Sqoop made Ali realise his dream recently, and the two met at Legends Rugby Club, Naguru. Here, Benon’s former singing partner opened up and answered a few burning questions.
Hullo Vampino, nice meeting you. You come from a musical background with your brothers Maurice Kirya and Sabasaba also doing music. Who is more talented?
That is a tough one. I believe we are all talented in our space. What one can do the other can’t but Maurice edges us in one factor. He plays the guitar, yet the two of us can’t even play a note. But we all do different genres of music, so we are good in our own ways.
You have a project (Nyongera) with Maurice Kirya. How did it feel working with him?
Working with Maurice is normal. It’s like walking with a brother to a shop because the song we did together was just a walk in the park. We grew up together doing this.
You have a group called Kiwundo Affiliations. Which artistes are in it?
It’s not really a crew because I don’t believe in such (crews). However, it’s more of ‘team work’ and I work with many artistes who are ready to follow their dreams. I can tell you that in Mr Rah, Slow Burn, Yata among others, I found loyal artistes.
How come the group is silent?
Kiwundo is now stronger than before. We are based in Italy, Uganda Rwanda and Burundi. We are opening up a major standard studio next month in Rwanda plus a radio station as well as TV Kiwundo. That aside, we have done an all-star Kiwundo song with artistes such as Raba Daba, Milly, Diplomat and Spax from Rwanda, Erika from Burundi, Slow Burn from Uganda and Simple G from UG as well. It’s going to be a mega East African banger called ‘Angaliya.’
Why did you separate from Benon yet you seemed to be working well together?
Good timing. Always have a limit and move on to the next thing. In the future, we will surprise you with something. Actually he works on some of my studio stuff because he’s a good producer.
Were you at some point signed to Swangz Avenue?
I have always been part of Swangz Avenue but as a friend and artiste. We have always worked hand in hand with them. Like I said earlier, they do some of my works.
Would you consider yourself the biggest dancehall artiste in Uganda?
Yes of course. I am the biggest because I have been here and done it all. The rest come and go but I’m still here doing dancehall music since 2006.
What has changed between Vampos from the duo ‘Benon and Vampos’ and the current Vampino?
A lot has changed. The current Vampino does strictly hardcore dancehall from the previous one and it’s appreciated. Besides that, I’ve also changed my image and style. My hair wasn’t like this back then, I didn’t dress like this in 2006 and so on.
Why did you stick to dancehall music?
Dancehall is a genre I feel comfortable with. It’s how I relay my message. I’m not going to cheat myself or fans that I do contemporary songs just for sympathy or money but through a style that I know I’m good at. I’m looking at breaking the international market through dancehall.
What is the happiest moment in your life?
Happiest moment is when I’m with any of my four boys.
Are you married or just cohabiting?
Cohabiting I guess because I haven’t had an official matrimonial wedding.
When will you get married?
You will be the first to know.
What was the saddest day of your life?
When mom left us.
What is the future like for Vampino?
I’m planning to open an orphanage and be part of the biggest promotion for pushing African music internationally through the connections I have.