If you have not heard of Deena, a German who sings in Luganda, you need to do so. Watching videos of Deena singing “Gwe Anamponya” and “Mumulete” makes you wonder, with a smile, why and how she got into this business. She sings the songs quite well, pronouncing the words right.
Deena (Sabrina Herr) says she was introduced to Uganda in 2012. She has travelled before to many countries worldwide and in 2012 made her first visit to East-Africa when she got a chance to do voluntary work in a centre for Street Children in Rwanda. It was during her stay in Rwanda that she fell in love with Uganda as she would come along with Ugandan friends during short breaks to visit.
She picked interest in the country, the people and the culture and especially Ugandan music.
After ending her volunteer work in August 2013 she returned to Germany and resumed her studies in Berlin.
However, whenever she got a holiday or some free time on her, in between her studies she found herself flying back to Uganda. One night during one of those visits, she went to an open Mic Night session at Mish Mash Bar in Kampala. She put on a performance and caught the attention of Faisal Bashir – now her manager.
Bashir convinced her to start singing in Luganda and promised to train her. Of course she struggled like anyone trying to learn a foreign language and she still does.
“I still struggle with some words. For example we don’t have W in the German vocabulary so any word with a W, I struggle with it. Amazingly I still can’t speak Luganda well but when I sing you can barely tell,” she says.
Deena has released a couple of songs namely “Mumuleete” which was her first song, “Gwe Anamponya”, “Kankuleete”, “Mpanirira” which she did with Radio & Weasel, and “:Mama” produced by Ogopa DJs. She has a new song out titled “Aktion Tym”.
“After I felt comfortable with Luganda, I decided to do a faster song. My manager said he wants me to do kidongo,” she laughs. “It’s a lot faster than all the songs I have done before and it’s getting some real good attention from my fans and music lovers,” Deena says.
The song was scripted, shot and edited by Deena herself, and directed by RuffnTuff Records a record label co-owned by her and Bashir.
Deena is a 23-year-old woman who was born in south-western Germany, in a city called Baden-Baden.
She was raised by her father and mother and has two brothers. She did all her studying in Germany and graduated in July 2012.
On Friday (January 20th) morning she will be hosted on D’Mighty Breakfast, on the Superstar Friday show (8am-10am) hosted by Ben Mwine and Jaq Deweyi. She will later be hosted on NTV’s Da Beat in the evening (5pm-7pm).
“I met Douglas of NTV and he couldn’t belive I could sing in Luganda so I am premiering the song on NTV Da Beat this Friday. You will see muzungu singing Luganda live on TV,” she says.