Jan 21, 2011

A Brand New day for Benon. Where are the rest?

Benon Mugumbya’s latest album is a complete knockout punch to his peers who are yet to offer us quality music. Brand New Day (Alunaku Olupya) is the name of the album with 16 tracks. It is a fusion of finely tuned instruments and Benon’s rich vocal ability. It’s masterpiece of World Music for Ugandan music considering we have previously looked at Bands and people like Tshila and Maurice Kirya to give us such music. Unfortunately I do not download Ugandan for the support of the cause, so there is no way I am going to sample some of the songs. But I am sure you can find the music in the supermarket(Uchumi) or buy it online.

All the songs feature respectable instrumentalists like Kinobe, Davis, Micheal Ouma, Maloe Klaasen, David Mukalazi, Winstone Mayanja, Edwin Mugyeni, Hakim Lukwago, Allan Okilla and Kaz Kasozi. Perhaps you could be let down by Micheal Ouma’s dominance on the album as he plays the Guitor, Akogo and Tube Fiddle. He has also produced some of the songs on the album.

Benon got inspiration to take this musical journey from Ethiopia where he interacted with some Rasta Lady who made him realise that his music needed a new path. The fusion of instruments and his good vocal ability Benon is proof that one big decision can pave way for quality music that we have been denied. I am not the biggest fan of local music that is so cliché because some music is proof of total laziness by some artists and producers to be innovative to produce unique tunes. Ofcourse Benon has the "art of music" and that is why he can afford this journey.

The title track to the album is Olunaku Olupya with features Tusker Project Fame season four star Davis Ntare   and James B on the vocals. The song starts with a cock crow in the morning, and then the birds begin to also hum in the background as the drums and guitars are together synchronised. Benon then glides in singing that today is a brand new day.

This is the album cover. It was officially in stores on December 10th 2010

 “its time to rise and shine”, “Its time to start all over again”, “Don’t give up today is a new day,” are some of the lines that can be picked up from this song. The song for me explains his path from the music that he was doing to this new line.

Omwaana Lwaaki Akaaba is the Title 2 on the album is a tale of the suffering child and he is asking why is that child weeping? Navio is also featured in this track.

The humble gentleman from Swangz Avenue has an album if listen to provide some sort of inspiration and some points of thought for the industry but also provides nice tunes for that one loves musical tunes.

I have particularly fallen for track number five which is Hope. The vocals in this song are done by Benon and the ever amazing Estar Mahye.  It fuses some Luganda, Runyankole and English to provide the hope that the song provides. “Don’t loose your strength, have perseverance and don’t worry yourself with thoughts.” Are the lines of the chorus I particularly picked from the song. Be Strong is the emphasis of this one for there to be hope.

There is also Gwe Kimuuli Kyange (You are my flower) which is some sort of love ballad that can pass for a Jazz piece. He praises this girl for her beauty and that she is his flower. The song is a tale of him telling this girl to allow him to marry her because when she is happy he is happy. Benon displays he can hit the high keys in this song. He does this with so much passion and trust me this song is way better than many crappy songs people play on their weddings.

The album released sometime in December at BodaBoda where Benon played all the 16 tracks with a band was a complete knockout blow for the ones who thought there were in his league. I am sure if you were to listen to these songs, it won’t be on radio apart from BBC, Touch FM, Vision Voice and maybe on Sanyu FM.

Other songs on the album are Hope, Singa Kisoboka, Hold On, Because of you, I know, Ani Yaali Amanyi, Guno Omukwaano, Gwe Kimuli Kyange, Rise Up ft Keko, Truly Believe, Ye Osobola (stand up), Show me love, Now am shining and Mpenzi We.

Jan 14, 2011

60 seconds or not of fame with Mckeith

It was the one the biggest mentions on Ugandan Girl's blog. There was so much hype around it. Her 60 seconds interview mentioned my name and I got approached by all these news wires looking to interview me. I mean who would think Sanyu FM's Seanice, Capital FM's Kassuja, NTV's Rosemary and Tina (Rendezvous), UBC's Lulu, WBS's ummmmmm don't remember her name would be interested in my interview. And by the way Isha Shassey of CNN came with her colleague Collin McEdawards looking for that interview. The 10 questions for 60 seconds.

Heart thumps fast, couldn't feel my pulse as they placed all these microphones on me and make up so I could look too good.

1. What did you want to be when you were growing up?

That's a good question. You know as you grow up its like evolution is working its way. Something like reality kicks in and grabs that, that you wanted to be and gives it to somebody else. At first I wanted to be a driver, then I kept on growing up and that changed to me desiring to be a doctor. Ofcourse thats where reality kicked in with Chemistry and Biology plus physics. I also had a stint at wanting to become a Geologist.

 2. What’s the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

Hmmmm. Interesting question. Something like "don't start what you cannot finish." But I doubt its the best piece of advice I have been given.

3. What’s the best piece of advice you ever gave?

I give advice to people everyday. I can't exactly remember which one was the best. But there is one that I think I offered.

"You too young to commit yourself to this non-paying job"

4. What do you most enjoy about your job?

I am yet to start working after resigning at my old work place. (Long story)

 5. Who would you most like to have dinner with?

Uhhhhh. Any beautiful  lady who can have descent conversation with me. Maybe also with Dan Brown, Simon Baker, Cote De Pablo, Micheal Whiteley, Aristotle (RIP), Thomas Hobbs (RIP), Ousmane Sembane( RIP)... The list is endless

 6. What has been your most embarrassing moment?

I have had many of those too. But the most embarrassing was ummm let me see. I kept a lady waiting for an hour and on that day I was supposed to meet her sister. No follow up question on this please.

7. Who is the most important person in your life?

All people who play a role in my life are important. I can't exactly find one who is more important because everyone in my life plays a different role.

8. What’s your worst regret in life?

I wish I could tell you that I can only answer that off-the-record but I cant. But here is what I think. For everything that happens in my life I get to understand the world around me better.

9. Who is your role model?

Professional - Richard Quest. I have many Role models.

10. If you could be one person for a day, who would that be?

Rupert Murdoch.

 Anyone who reads this blog has been tagged to this post and can do the 60seconds. Unfortunately this is more than 60 seconds for me....

Jan 13, 2011

My country, My pain

It’s quite painful to watch a scene in a movie and if directly juxtaposed to the situation in my country it’s all the same. Blood sucking vampires in the movies feed on human blood of course there are those that seem to have an antidote that prevents them from feeding on human blood.

My country has played some of the games Lehman Brothers or even Enron used to take investors money and give themselves huge bonuses. They made huge financial losses but this never reflected in their balanced sheets. Has my country’s government taken the citizens and gambled on the tax payers’ money also? Just recently a supplementary budget was passed with ease (approx Ushs605b). Extra money for the government to spend to on I don’t know what since I am not employed by the government. Of course there is the economic question of our time that the more the government spends, the more the money that trickles down to the people. This places more money to the people and means they can spend it. The more the people spend, the greater the taxes the government will get through Value Added Tax.

This sporadic spending however will however less likely trickle down to the people who need it the most. It has taken the Ministry of Health over two weeks to bring a Yellow Fever Vaccine. Really!!! And a press conference is called to announce the arrival of the vaccine.

But why? Isn’t there like preparation for breakouts of such “common diseases.” So then how come some ministries are able to return money to the treasury like the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA). How come the Office of the President always gets money from the supplementary budget? This time they got Ushs547b. What is it that they spend on?

The traditional leaders bill that has made the headlines on our local tv channels and the front pages of our newspapers is not going to improve service delivery despite it being passed or not. Should this be the focus of the country?

Questioning government on issues of service delivery has become increasingly tasking and it has begun to sip into society. Do the people put the government to task to deliver basic social services? If they did they we would probably have different MP’s in our parliament. It has become like a cycle. I know there are people out there who tend to distance themselves of issues and as long as they live their lives that’s it. This is not a bad thing but atleast feel some pain for the country.

Think critically of something other than yourself. Take concern of what happens in the society and try to say something (Taking note that we have different ways of showing concern). The Church, the businesses, the leaders and the young seem to be tuned into a mode of being self centred. It’s painful to watch a society gliding into different extremes yet something can be done.

It may also be too painful that some people realised that no matter what they do, a government will always turn a deaf ear. So what does that pain do? I grab a fiction novel, pluck earphones into my ears and scroll down my ipod and listen to the latest music, check my Facebook and Twitter account all in the name of wanting to be me. Like the whirlwind rises dust, my pain does the same. The pain of being a Ugandan at this time.

Jan 1, 2011

The wailing letter 2010 wrote

Dearest Mckeith  and your readers,

I trust you are well. I watched you people kick me out on the 31st of December and trust me it was very heartbreaking to watch.  Before I left, I decided to write you something small. It’s straight from my heart.
I am locked up in a prison with no walls. Just a tiny window. My ungrateful acts led me there. Now am struggling. To deal with my problem. To deal with my issues.

When I close my eyes, it’s you I see. Wishing I could turn the clock back. Turn it to the time before. For if I Hadnt then I would not be living with that guilt within. That night has become a nightmare. I have not been myself since. I have lost you. I have that part of me that I offered you.

You have taken it away. In my heart I regret. A part of me also thinks u knew what was going to happen. You knew I would want to do it. But somehow to deal with this I think you needed to blame someone. You needed to hate me. You needed to find a way of staying away.  That is what you decided to put in your head. I accept, coz u probably want this over.

I feel like I have become something else. You are scared of me. Scared of what I could do to you. I didn’t think it would ever get to that. I have lost my emotion. I feel drained. At whatever cost you are trying to erase me. I am too but it is proving to be tasking. I love and I miss u but there is nothing to do about it. I feel like needing a rest. A rest without drama.

I am jealous of 2011 but what can I do. All I want is for you to be happy. Gladly greet all your readers and tell them I wish them the best 2011. I can’t believe I am crying but I need to go.

Yours Truly 2010

P.S. I enjoyed the good times that we had though. I cannot recall many of those times because we barely had any.