One thing many artistes will not be accused of doing during the lockdown, is being idle. They have been busy and as we have seen, many have released albums. If you missed some releases…
One thing the Covid-19 pandemic has taught the music industry, is the fact that there is more to their music than simple performances.
Many had to embrace the Internet after shunning it while others had to put their music in order and present it on different platforms.
In the heat of the moment, many rushed to compile their older songs into albums while others took on online concerts.
Many albums such as Irene Ntale’s “Sukaali”, Sheebah Karungi’s “Samali”, Slick Stuart and Roja’s “Very Wello” or Navio’s “Strength in Numbers” and “The Ugandan” by The Mith, mostly got the hype, either because they were expected or the status of the artistes involved.
We shed a light on some brilliant albums you may not have noticed were released during the lockdown.
Son of Kalori – Elijah Kitaka
The name Elijah Kitaka is synonymous with music in Uganda; there is Elijah Kitaka, a co-founder of Fezah and another one that is an artiste. Originally a drummer, Kitaka has played and travelled with artistes such as Maurice Kirya, Sandra Nankoma, Kaz Kasozi as well as Shifah Musisi.
Yet, lowkey, he was an exciting vocalist.
In April, Kitaka released his debut album “Son of Kalori”, an album that fuses two music genres he says have inspired his musical journey; soul and reggae.
It is an album many would easily fall for, considering the fact that it is not abstract or complicated, he sings about things such as love and life but in ways we can easily relate with.
Mpulira –Iryn Namubiru
Iryn Namubiru has been revamping her image since the year started. For instance, she has been attached to Francophone art for a bigger part of this year than any other activations.
She will be part of the annual Fete De La Musique, then another French celebration – it is not surprising that she’s currently the ambassador for the language.
In that spirit, Iryn has done lots of live recordings with acts such as Myko Ouma and Jose Sax. In fact, like Spice Diana, Iryn too did record a live album of her older songs, but it is “Mpulira” that stands out.
The album says nothing that we did not know Iryn can do; it is just that this time, she embraces all these strengths and packs them onto an album.
It is not a populist ‘make a hit’ kind of album but one that Ugandans may appreciate more as time goes on.
Nva Kla –Sewa Sewa
James Ssewakiryanga is known for many things music and probably singing is not one of them. He is a co-founder of popular band Janzi and the brains behind an original musical instrument of the same name.
During the Covid-19 lockdown though, he had just moved his recording studio to his home, thus could record new material without necessarily moving.
That’s when his world music album “Nva K’la” happened; the folklore album exploits different Ugandan folk songs, stories, riddles and instruments in the same measure.
The janzi, an instrument he created, features but not excessively. This time he gets to experiment with percussions and local drums which he says were the instrument that introduced him to music.
But what makes his album outstanding is his rather out of the normal voice, not vocally strong or extra-ordinary yet it blends well with all the instruments he chooses to play on the album.
Up Close and Personal – Spice Diana
Spice Diana is one artiste that was dismissed from the time she held a microphone. The belief was that the industry had as many female artistes doing what she was trying to do.
Yet, years later Diana Namukwaya is one of the most sought after female artistes – during the lockdown, she did some good for the music.
Trying out different virtual live shows and as she went on, she did improve. Spice Diana released a live album, Up Close and Personal, recorded during her online concert in April.
The album doesn’t feature a new song but gives you a chance to appreciate the kind of artiste an artiste that bust onto the scene singing Onsanula has turned into.
She’s able to hold her own on the live versions of her popular songs like she had never done before the lockdown madness.