It is always alleged that reggae music is one of the most appreciated and thus mimicked music genre in Uganda.
Apparently, with the technological advancement that saw Africa and Uganda in particular acquire things such as sound systems – it became easy for concert organisers to schedule Jamaican artistes such as Buju Banton, Shaggy, Chaka Demus and Pliers and of late, Morgan Heritage and Konshens among others.
The influx of Jamaican artistes on the Ugandan stage created inspirations such as Bebe Cool, Buchaman and Bobi Wine among other acts, yet, even when almost all local music lovers have at least consumed a live performance of a Jamaican artiste, our live performances of reggae remain wanting.
Thus, as the organisers of the picnic-themed Roast and Rhyme rolled out the schedule for the reggae-ragga themed do, only a few were excited.
In fact, it was only after Tshaka Mayanja was announced that many lovers of good music started considering the gig – not that he has outstanding hits, no.
Tshaka has been instrumental in promoting and making sure many of the reggae concerts that have happened in Uganda indeed happen, and that is not all, he is a dedicated bass guitarist that has a knack for perfection.
And he never disappointed. At about 5pm, his collective band, Roots Warriors took to the stage at Jahazi Pier.
Carefully selected, he had the likes of Kenneth Mugabi, Joe Kahiri and Janzi Band’s Pages among others on the vocals with session players such as Migadde Aloysious, Myko Ouma on the lead guitars, Michael Kitanda on the saxophone and of course Tshaka manning the bass.
February being the month the world celebrates Bob Marley, a number of his songs such as Iron Lion Zion or Get up Stand Up were on the repertoire.
Much as the audience did not seem to be familiar with some of the songs, Tshaka and band were putting together a performance that was not only celebrating variety instrumentation but was setting standards. His bass created a warm bed for many of the songs, Mugabi and Pages delivered on the vocal promise and the clean sound that helped each instrument on the set to shine, the Roots Warriors became the difference we rarely see on reggae Ugandan sets.
But of course, besides the Roots Warriors, meat and beer, the edition also served as one for a tribute for deceased musician Moses ‘Radio’ Ssekibogo and a number of comebacks, Henry Tigan, Ziggy Dee, Sizzaman and Rabadaba all performed.
Tigan still has it, thanks to the number of hits he achieved at the time he was riding high – this time, he was fresh-rehearsed and easily blended with the band.
Of course Rabadaba has successfully gotten himself to the top again after a few years out of the limelight, his powerful performance of songs such as Bwekiri, Byange, Silubala and Body among others.
The day’s biggest offering could have been Janzi Band that did not only back up but did the live instrumentation of all acts that followed Roots Warriors.
The next edition of Roast & Rhyme in July will focus on storytellers.