I hated jogging while i was a university student. However with the demands of a working life, i did not get as much time to play games and in due course a few kilos were put on. The jogging became a must. The first days were hard, but i soon realised it was ten times easier to jog with music in your ears because it gave a good jogging pace and kept one going. I soon learnt that the choice of music mattered since i listened to virtually anything that had a tune to it (yes, even those vernacular news readers who add a tune to their reading style). At these times my I-pod is my revered partner and the mood of the day determines the kind of music to listen to. As you give your legs a morning stretching exercise and try to listen to Uganda’s best releases, you can’t help but think of definitions of words based on the songs you are listening to. The words and their definitions came up as an effort to prevent myself from getting disgusted. Here’s a list of words i managed to think of and remember:
Excruciating: goodlyfe’s number 1. This has a fairly good beat that most Ugandan hits are notable for and then some other blokes think up some words use the same beat and subject us to the same torture that we had to endure when the number 1 was just released. It’s a wonder that a certain promotion that was based on the release of this “number emu” did not give the needed challenge to the already existing promotions like pakalast (amazing that a beat was made with this word reverberating in the background). One continues to wonder why most Ugandan songs seem to have the same beat.
Silent letters: Have you ever noticed how the “l” after “o” in “ability” ( Goodlyfe ft rabadaba) sounds as awfully silent as the “g” in “gnash”? If you haven’t then pay attention to the part when one of those chaps goes like “ o’ina ability, afterwards you may need to schedule an appointment with the ENT surgeon soon.
Translation: if “how will i know”by Lucky Dube were ever to be sang in luganda, i think the closest presentation would be ngamba ( radio and weasel).
Nauseating: listening to the same bass line in the majority of Dr Hilderman’s Songs. For such a weirdly good vocalist, can’t we hear just one different pattern to a bassline?
Potential: rescue me ( Toniks ft Goodlyfe)- a simple snare drum beat with a simple bass line and a groovy dancehall beat which was edited well in the studio with less emphasis on amplified bass that most Ugandan music is synonymous with.
Copyright infringement: what those dudes who sung “ability” should have thought about before reconfiguring the beat of “all of the above (maino ft. T-pain)” and producing an even lousier song.
Ingenuity: GNL’s “kikankane” fits this spot with diabolical accuracy. How in bleeding hell did/does that guy come up with all those lyrics?
Rhyming: The most wrongly followed and yet unwritten regulation of songs written in Uganda. A listener gets the feeling that the artists who try to do an afro pop song at 190 bpm bite their tongues in the process of trying to rhyme with every lyric.
Vintage: Chameleone’s first releases will never lose their flavour. One will have to agree that “Mama Mia” and “Nekolela Maali” will tickle some memory in every one of us. If you don’t sing along to any of these songs when they happen to be played off the stereo of the taxi , then consider yourself an official douchbag.
Nugu: This isn’t an English word. It has only been used because even the most religious English speaking Ugandan will not define it as jealousy ( though that is the right definition) because jealousy doesn’t carry the magnitude that nugu does. Which song hasn’t sold because of some subset of nugu? More irking is the fact that this “marketing strategy” has been swallowed whole by the unsuspecting public.
Real Music: I give tribute to the crop of artists who insist of using “natural” instruments to back up their already beautiful lyrics. Those artists who display some element of acoustic music (read kadongo kamu) and can only be heard on Sunday afternoons off Radio 2, or Vision FM are the ones who should be at the fore of Uganda’s music. A new crop of young artists who are resurrecting jazz the afro way with full blown bands and well tested sound systems; the others who we only get to hear in church but manage to reproduce that hillsong record to the detail of the last beat played by the drummer and last but not least the seasoned bands like Afrigo that have survived all storms. Their music is surely a pleasure to listen to all the time and will leave a lone jogger running longer distances as good memories are stirred up.
By Kalisa Micheal <the writer has not lost those few kilos>