Ugandan local instruments like Ndingidi, Adungu, Amadinda and Engalabi, among others, have been around for years after they were invented by a group of talented people with special interest in music and entertainment.
However, Janzi was invented by an individual.
James Ssewakiryana known to many as Ssewa Ssewa is the founder of Janzi Band, one of the leading bands in the country. Besides owning a band, Ssewa Ssewa also came up with an idea of starting his own instrument. Even though he has been playing the Janzi for about two years now, Ssewa Ssewa had not gotten the chance to launch the instrument to Ugandans until last Saturday.
It was a red carpet event last Saturday at Kampala Serena Hotel. The event kicked off with a cocktail in the lobby courtesy of Tusker Malt Lager before the revelers were ushered into Katonga Hall. The invite only had members of the press, different artistes, and members of Janzi band as well as businessman ajiv Ruparelia who representative Ruparelia Group as one of the event sponsors.
Ssewa Ssewa was later invited on stage to narrate his Journey with the instrument. He said he is a former adungu player and he recalls the day his adungu got messed up and he had to call a carpenter to fix it. Ssewa Ssewa says that while the carpenter was on the way, he thought of modernizing the adungu and coming up with his own signature instrument called the Janzi. Janzi is a Luganda word for locust. He also named his band after it because as the founder, he started the band with the aim of flying high and the Janzi is known for flying high, he said.
After narrating his story, he played the instrument punctuated by the guiter sound played by Myco Ouma. This was after Haka Mukiga, Price and Keneth Mugabi had entertained the guests.
The event was then climaxed by Ssewa’s band Janzi that performed until revelers left at leisure. They performed different covers and songs off their album Eka. The album is known for songs like Afrika, Eka, Just a Dream, Ngaali, Njabala, Omwana Wabantu, River Road, Zimbabwe and Ekili.