Qwela Junction; The Crooners


#np Juuzi- Steve Keys

I was on my way to college when I grew a sudden interest in authentic African music. Don’t get me wrong- I still appreciate a video with more Moschino belts than Moschino has probably produced, words strung together making absolutely no sense and the exciting beats that upbeat urban and western music bring to the table. I like that music too but coming from a house where my father will lament if you do not have an ear for great instrumentals, it was almost inevitable that I’d appreciate the sound of authentic afro soul, afro neo soul, and any other genre connected to an authentic African sound.

I think it’s the beauty of growing up. I will speak for myself here. I think my playlists have more Ugandan artists than before. I joined Soundcloud so I can be a part of this amazingness. To work as I listen to beautiful music from Kenneth Mugabi plays is something I do not take for granted. I also made it a point that this year I would try to know more Ugandan songs while they are still fresh out the kitchen. You can imagine I started raving about Hellena by David Lutalo in 2016 and yes as shameful as that is, I am also happy knowing that I am doing better in that department.

Sunday was memorable for me as it was for everyone else that attended Qwela. I went with my hilarious cousins, Sandra and Phina, who dressed up for hours I was sure we were going to attend Qwela the next day at 8am. Thank God for manageable traffic on Sunday. We got there before people were asked to park their cars in the nearby district. That’s how many people attended Qwela. Met Kakuru there and it was a party. Kakuru also doubled as a photographer.

The line up had amazing artists. I wasn’t that crazy about a Toniks performance but he definitely put on a great show with that Itaano song. I had also never heard that before-but I do now. I will not lie- I am a little too obsessed with Kenneth Mugabi music so I think I nearly lost my voice with all the singing and croaking and whatever it is I do- I had to buy the album because I only had access to  a couple of songs. I need to get another CD for my dad-he will probably buy me a car at first listen….or pay my rent hopefully.

Steven Kigozi’s performance of Juuzi was also one I will not forget for another year. that’s a 2 year old song but it still sounds amazing. the back up vocals from the rest of the crooners were amazing. If only music were a man, I wouldn’t be 24 with zero prospects.

Anyone who knows me, knows I have a wedding playlist-and that wedding playlist has Gwe Wange by Sam Kimera taking up about 6 slots. I loved the instrumental work done on the song and the part where he sang Nabagereka wo mutima gwange, anabeera maama wa baana bange-I thought I was going to die. The beat was banging. The energy on the stage, the energy from the crowd-it was amazing.

Richy Kaweesa- I listened to You Are sometime back and I knew I had to check his Soundcloud out. He has a very beautiful voice-and he is taller in person. I don’t know why I said that. He had great energy and I pray that Goodlyfe finally sees the sense in handing over rights of their song Neera to this young man. He has done more than enough justice to this song.

Benon Mugumbya still looks like the same Benon of the Nsazeewo days. Seriously, this guy hasn’t aged a day. Benon opened his spirited performance with that “this is for the ladies in the house” like he invented that line. The kind of stuff that had ladies in the crowd screaming like he invented it. He obviously had to follow it up with a beautiful ballad so obviously the screaming went from 0-100 real quick. He’s still got it.

Madoxx Sematimba. Are there words that can describe this man and his music. I haven’t the right words to describe it. I can only say that this is one of the greatest performers I have seen in my life. The crowd was left yearning for more-That’s how amazing he is.

a few pictures from the night…

  1. the light that nearly rid me of my  sense of sightIMG_20160510_080100.jpg

2. Madoxx


3. Keneth Mugabi


4. his amazing album. He signed my copy “I’ve found my Kibunomu”


5. the amazing stage


6. afrer all the dancing, screaming and an obvious loss of weight


Leaving this event, I was left wondering why such great music doesn’t get as much as airplay as it ought to. Well I am not going to wait on answers, I share as much great Ugandan music I can get my hands on as much as possible. I will send Soundcloud links to my friends outside the country because I noticed that my whole time in university all we got at house parties was Nigerian music. It’s great music but what about our music.

Let me know what you think about Ugandan music and maybe we can be playlist buddies..

Stay Gold



here’s a few links to the songs played at Qwela.

and a personal favourite  from Mugabi-it wasn’t played at Qwela though


7 Comments Add yours

  1. First of all you looked amazing Anna! Secondly am off to listen to Kenneth Mugabi’s musc right now. Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Amanda….and yes I am sure you will love his music


  2. kahirimusic says:

    Hey. This is such a beautiful review, just bumped into it on my TL, totally enjoyed reading it

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Kenneth Mugabi says:

    This review has left me blushing…. Did you say 24yrs old, Anna?

    Liked by 1 person

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