Joel Sebunjo shows future of African music

12:59 by Unknown
There was more than one reason why all genuine Music lovers had to attend Joel Sebunjo’s concert at the National Theatre on Friday; he’s a world music winner of the prestigious Visas Pour La creation award, the only East African artiste that specializes in the Kora, he’s one of Uganda’s three representative acts on African music show Coke Studio – which by default puts him on our TV screens every weekend, this was his first performance on any Ugandan stage this year, probably the last too  and for God’s sake, Bunjo’s music is pie of awesomeness.

Though, even with such a thrilling CV for a local act, knowing the Ugandan attitude towards arts and culture, I was skeptical they would turn up in numbers.
My skeptics were right Ugandans again this year shunned yet another production that exhibited pure African music genius. Instead, Sebunjo’s Africa is the Future concert was attended by very many whites; they indeed turned up in droves to fill National theatre’s lower section.
For a moment, you could easily mistake the concert for a French festival since they were the majority, unlike the Ugandans, the French vibe was felt in the house, performers, Sebunjo inclusive threw French phrases asking the crowd to sing or dance and the crowd seemed to understand.
The show officially kicked off at 7:30pm with a display of art, photography and Fashion at the National theatre reception; these were a range of creations that included original Egyptian papyrus art and celebrity photography of actor and musicians like Alicia Keys, Richard Gere and Heidi Klum.
The real African musical journey started at 8, with a Jazz performance - the only curtain raiser of the night by the beautiful Sandy Soul. She set the mood for the night with her soothing vocals on songs like Stay and superstar.

Her performance was followed by a speech from Sambia Nadege, the Executive Director of Uzima Initiative with whom Sebunjo was partnering to create malaria awareness and the MP for Ndorwa East, Hon. David Bahati, there message was pleading with the public to join the fight against disease.
Then it was Sebunjo’s time to take the stage, clad in Khaki trousers, white shirt, an African Fabric kikoy  jacket and of course his favorite work tool; the Kora and his Sundiata band.
The Kora player put up a spirited performance for his Semusajja agenda, raising the bar even higher for the rest of the night.
According to Sebunjo, African music is highly inspired by the fire place stories and it clearly manifests on his music too, with such songs like Nsenene, Musso and papa, the concert became a journey into who we are.
Later, Sebunjo invited friends; Jeo of Qwela, guitarist Myko Ouma, and saxophone sensational Brian Mugenyi to do songs like Mulungi, Gwendowoza, and Tunga. I had anticipated Jamal would be around so that they do their Nakato duet but he wasn’t.
Unlike his other concerts, where most of the performances are in the Manding dialect from Mali, just like the new album Sebunjo is working on; I speak Luganda – most of the performances were in the local lingual. But the problem with Sebunjo’s craft is that even when he sings in clear cut Luganda, it finds a way of sounding foreign.
He had officially closed the concert by 10pm when fans started screaming for more, he and the band came back to do two more highly interactive and energetic numbers before finally sealing the show at half past 10pm.

As Sebunjo walked off the stage one last time, it was clear that even before the invasion of software and the auto tunes, Africa was jamming.


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