This week we on some of the Hip-Hop, Afropop, Dancehall and Reggae sounds coming from artists in Uganda. We look at the hot new talent on the scene and pay tribute to those who established the industry – Words: Bianca Agenbag
When you think Ugandan music, you think Jose Chameleone. Africa fell in love with his music back in 2001 and after 13 albums to his name, his fans still wants more. This Afro Beat artist has an electric stage performance, musical creativity and versatility that blows your mind. He performed alongside the likes of Kelly Rowland, 2Face, Zuluboy and Kwesta at the closing ceremony of the FIFA 2010 World Cup and he’s the most awarded Ugandan artist at regional level. Chameleone recently toured the USA and is set to tour SA later this year. Enough said. (For now!)
Another legend in the industry, is multi-award winning Reggae artist, Bebe Cool. Newcomers and established artists alike draw inspiration from his repertoire of more than 200 songs. If you’ve heard his husky voice, pioneering Reggea sound and seen his lively stage performances, you’ll agree. We will never forget his rendition of “Born in Africa” at the Nelson Mandela 46664 concert which is now featured on BBC’s best 50 songs from Africa. He has won numerous awards, toured all over the UK and USA and shared a stage with the likes of R.Kelly.
If you haven’t heard of her, now is the time to fill the gap in your music collection. This famous singer-songwriter used to be part of Blu*3 but in 2008 she went solo, releasing her debut single “Mbikooye” which received airplay all over East Africa. Cindy does it all, from RnB and Dancehall to Reggae and Afro zouk (Caribbean musical trend merged with African Afro Beat genre), but it was her debut album Ayokyayokya that topped East African music charts and won her a DIVA award. Her music video for “Mungu bwasalawo” was voted the best video ever done in East Africa and she has done collaborations with the likes of Psquare and Rabadaba amongst others. This girl knows how to hustle!
RADIO AND WEASEL
East Africa’s dynamic duo are among the latest boys on the Ugandan scene. They started out as backing vocalists for Weasel’s brother, Jose Chameleone, but went on to form their own group called Goodlyfe Crew. These guys’ smooth RnB vocals fused with reggae, ragga and dancehall vibes, always gets us in the mood for a great time. They’ve released award-winning hits like “Nakudata”, “Zuena” and “Single and Searching”. However, their biggest achievement was when they teamed up with Nigerian Starboy Wizkid for “Don’t Cry” and “Nipe Kinfunguo Yako“. It seems like the sky is the limit for these guys.
Irene Ntale is a singer-songwriter and guitarist with a unique RnB Reggae and Acoustic Soul sound. She thrilled fans in August last year with her Biggest Hits performances with leading Ugandan singer, Bebe Cool. In a recent poll, she was voted among the top 5 biggest acts that happened to Ugandan music in 2015. Who are we to argue?! Since top hits such as “Gyobera”, “Love letter” and “Stay with me”, she has also gone on to win three Buzz Teeniez Awards. At the age of 23 she’s already shared the stage with the likes of Nneka and Jahcoustics amongst others. Can’t wait to see what’s next.