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Four One One

Demarco, Wayne Wonder in town

Jamaican singer Demarco (above). He will perform at Lugogo Cricket Oval tomorrow alongside Wayne Wonder. Courtesy Photo.

It is billed to be the show of the year, what with two Jamaican international acts in Demarco and Wayne Wonder. Kenya’s Madtraxx alongside 50 Ugandan acts will also perform at the Lugogo Cricket Oval tomorrow. Rafsanjan Abbey Tatya brings you profiles of the headliners.

Traditional Christian calendars consider Sunday as the “first day” of the week – thus this week couldn’t have started any better for Ugandans than Stephen Kiprotich’s gold medal win on the final day of the London 2012 Olympic games.

But how about winding up the week in a similarly cheery mood with Demarco, Wayne Wonder and Madraxx at tomorrow night’s KFM Koncert at Lugogo Cricket Oval?

Many party goers will have filed the KFM Koncert under “Saturday’s Must Do Things” since the two Jamaicans artistes and Kenyan rapper stepped on the Ugandan soil mid this week.

Jamaican hotshot Demarco, real names Colin Demar Edwards, is extremely optimistic about the concert that will also feature a host of Ugandan talent like GoodLyfe, Ngoni, Iryn Namubiru, Ragga Dee, Emperor Orlando, Shanks Vivid and Coco Finger among several others.

Best known for his singles I Love My Life and Duppy Know Ah Who Fi Frighten, the 29-year-old says he is ready to lead a pack of “lively” artistes in tomorrow’s show.

Demarco says he knows one or two things about Uganda and he is prepared to make tomorrow’s show a memorable one.

“You always seek information from the guys who have been down here but I also know that Uganda is not so much different from Jamaica when it comes to music taste,” said Demarco in an earlier communication.

His ‘international’ manager Brady Hemmings also believes Demarco is the guy to recap Uganda’s jubilations this week.

Much as they have been the best source of entertainment for Ugandans, Jamaican artistes have a bad reputation of failing to perform to the Ugandans’ expectations, for different reasons; some because they smoke too much (illegal stuff) to even stand on stage while others simply lack enough songs of their own to handle a lengthy concert.

But Hemmings, against that backdrop, has promised something very different and positive.

“We understand what people expect when you say the word performance and we promise to give people what is worth their effort,” he said. “We work with artistes who value the audience. Demarco has impressed in all countries he has performed and we expect the same reception, same energy and same celebration in Kampala.”

Among the things Demarco and his team have researched about is how to engage a Ugandan crowd.

“We are making sure we have an interactive show where the audience enjoys together with Demarco,” added Hemmings. “He (Demarco) is learning some local lingua and now he knows the words Mugamba ki (English for, what’s up).”

The dancehall and reggae artiste has made over 50 appearances on Riddims (rhythm) which are instrumentals created by DJs and are open to all artistes who wish to accompany them to a song. Demarco, however, has over nine singles of his own and he has featured over 15 artistes including Buster Rhymes on Hustler and Elephant Man on Our World. He features Ce’Cile on Push It and he did Paper Chasing with another Jamaican hot property Konshens. Demarco is as active and famous in the Jamaican music industry as the best of the lot.

He is however, internationally most common for Duppy Know Ah Who Fi Frighten featuring on the Shoot Out Riddim, Fallen Soldiers, True Friend and Show It (So Sexy). He also produced the Top Speed Riddim where he recorded the song Gal Dem Want with the Alliance leader Bounty Killer.

In 2008 Demarco produced the Big League Riddim and recorded Broomie with Elephant Man and his own song Spend Pon Dem. One Year later he produced a hit Riddim called Stress Free which had many hit songs like Jump and Wine by Tony Matterhorn, Hammering by Singing Craig, Work Mi Ah Work by Mister G (formerly Goofie) and his own She Can’t Wait. He has recently recorded a remix to Rihanna’s Billboard topper Rude Boy.

Demarco is best known in Uganda for his chartbuster I Love My Life, which commands a unique and balanced blend of both street credibility and mainstream appeal.

“He is one of the most positive artistes in the world and that is why he will remain a household name for ages,” said Hemmings. “Everyone around the world easily relates with the song I Love My Life and it is a song that will still be relevant 10 years from now.”

Diversity is Demarco’s specialty – while he has managed to convince a big section that he is a dancehall rapper who is lyrically tough, unleashing rapid-fire guns in the ghetto rhymes, he can as well sensitively coo about a new found love, melodically lamenting a love gone wrong and emotionally conveying other oh-so tender concerns.

Hemmings also says that Demarco is not only a positive artiste but a robust performer as well.

“I can promise you that he will perform all his best tunes in Kampala,” he adds.

At the time we spoke to Hemmings he was on his way to Kampala and he told us they had to come in a little earlier (three days to the concert) so they could spend extra days promoting the show on radios and televisions. “We have radio, TV and meet and greet parties to allow us know the people a little more and we make a foundation for a fantastic party on Saturday,” he explained.

Gates will open at midday and the show will start early enough because it will have to end by midnight as per Kampala City Council Authority rules.

Tickets for the show go for Shs30,000 in the ordinary area and VIPs will part with Shs120,000.

Tickets can be bought at Monitor Publications offices in Industrial Area, Cineplex, Simba Telecom and Uchumi.

Wayne Wonder
Wayne Wonder’s name, to most Ugandans points to old school stuff. But don’t be fooled, the sweet-voiced Jamaican dancehall reggae star is as energetic as you can imagine.

Wayne’s voice is his strongest weapon on and off stage. The sensual, honeyed vocals of Wayne Wonder have made him a consistent hit maker since the late 80s. In 2003, Wayne earned the first number one hit of his career pledging a lifetime of devotion on the sweetly romantic hit No Letting Go.

“This is the biggest hit of my lifetime,” Wayne exclaimed back then. “The song is number one in Jamaica, number one in New York. WBLS is playing it, Kiss is playing it, and I hear Hot 97 playing it,” He was quoted then. It was playing everywhere, you know.

No Letting Go was as well one of the biggest Jamaican hits down here in Uganda so that should set up a beautiful feel when Wayne steps on stage tomorrow.

Born Von Wayne Charles on July 26, 1972 in Buff Bay, Portland, Wayne’s initial singing inspiration came from attending Sunday school, where singing was compulsory, and from his mother who sang in church. As a child, Wayne and his family moved all over eastern Kingston, living in areas such as Dunkirk, Franklin Town and Rae Town, home of the weekly Sunday night Reggae/Rn’B oldies street dance. The exposure to vintage 45’s at these dances would provide Wayne with a richer, more soulful vocal approach to a Reggae rhythm track than many of his contemporaries. It was at secondary school where Wayne’s thoughtfulness and philosophical nature led to the acquisition of the nickname Wonder; young Wayne sang at school, at home, at church and for his friends and wherever he sang, he was encouraged to pursue his craft professionally.

Today he sings for the world. He has toured the UK, the US, Asia and now he is in Uganda.

He has worked with several Jamaican legend singers whether as a singer, songwriter or producer on several records. In 2000, Wonder launched his own record label, Singso, and his 2000 album Da Vibe saw him begin to incorporate hip hop into his sound. He collaborated with several other major artistes, including Jason Dalyrimple of Soul for Real, Foxy Brown, and Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes, and the move towards hip hop increased with his 2001 album Schizophrenic.

His career really took off internationally when he signed to Atlantic Records, achieving worldwide success with the song No Letting Go in 2003. The song is based on the Diwali riddim, which was also used by several other artistes that year, such as Sean Paul, Lumidee and Missy Elliott. The single reached number 11 in the US and number three in the UK.

No Letting Go and the album No Holding Back were a major success on urban radio stations in the US, and this prompted the release of several compilation albums featuring older Wonder material, including Trojan Records’, Inna Bashment Style: The Roots of an Urban Warrior (2005). A new album, Foreva was released in 2007, climbing up to number six on the US Top Reggae Albums chart.

He has promised to do a couple of his “best” songs tomorrow night.

The other performers
Kenyan singer Madtraxx of the Get Down fame jetted into town on Wednesday night for the show. Over 50 Ugandan acts including Bobi Wine, Radio and Weasel, Cindy, Grace Nakimera, Jackie Chnadiru, Peter Miles, Rabadaba, Vampino, Aziz Azion, Henry Tigan, Naava, Tonix, Sweet Kid, Ray, Julie Mutesasira, Reliq Omuhwezi, Hellen Lukoma, Ragga Dee and others are set to perform.

The show?
Venue. Lugogo Cricket Oval.
Date. Saturday Agust, 18
Entrance fee. Shs30,000 for silver, Shs120,000 for gold and Shs250,000 for platinum tickets
Time. Gates open at 12pm.

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