Kenneth Mugabi’s Kibunomu finally reveals self

01:53 by Kaggwa Andrew
 In the song that has made Kenneth Mugabi a vocalist to look out for, Kibun’omu, he seems to sing about lost love that he likens to a shooting star he wants to see again.
He asks the lost love to end the games and simply come home. As he goes on with the plea, the artiste tells the listener how he met this beauty, detailing all the sentiments he holds towards her.
Kibun’omu is a modern song that fuses local instruments including the tube fiddle with an acoustic guitar, kongas and beautiful piano work by Fred Wallace, who has in the past worked with the likes of Mo Roots, Kaz Kasozi, Myko Ouma and Qwela band.
Kibun’omu doubles as the title of Mugabi’s debut album though the song is actually track number five on the 11-track listing.
Released last week at the Qwela Junction: The Crooners, the album is indeed everything Mugabi sold himself to be during the show where he brought the house down with songs Naki and of course Kibun’omu.
He grows from the boy that was mostly a ‘confusion’ between Neo-Soul, Maurice Kirya, kadongo kamu and kidandali when he was contesting at Urban TV’s now defunct singing show, Coke Rated Next.
Mugabi’s Kibun’omu is a sign that he has found himself and even went on to differentiate what he’s selling; of course, he seems to have ditched the kidandali part that was very vocal on his first release Nubuka in 2014, but goes on to embrace all the other elements with grace.
For instance, on many songs he sounds like a Misubbaawa Maurice Kirya that fused the modern with traditional sounds to create his mwoyo genre. In Mugabi’s case, he borrows from Kirya and Neo-Soul, but manages to infuse his music with rich storytelling.
His Kibun’omu, the best track on the album by far, easily has his fans starting out swaying gently to the gentle rhythm, but as he builds to the climax of the song, the same fans would be forgiven for breaking into a nankasa dance. Brilliance.
On songs such as the musically-rich Nambi, he sings about a planned rendezvous with the village belle at the communal well.
It is a song that is relatable with many successful people today who had humble beginning in the countryside with their first crushes and relationships revolving around wells and watering holes. Mugabi cleverly reaches out to that clientele ready for a dose of nostalgia, as well as the others still living that very Nambi life.
Naki is also in that line, only that this time he pleads in frustration with a girl that sends him mixed signals.
That he manages to demonstrate his frustration with Naki more with his voice than in the lyrics, is thrilling.
The entire album was written by Mugabi and he did all his background vocals; on some songs including Naki, he played the acoustic guitar as well as the tube fiddle and on others he even played the keyboards.
Mugabi is a refreshing addition to the Ugandan music scene currently littered with many artistes that cannot play even a single instrument, let alone sing without the help of auto-tune.
Since he was working on a low budget, Mugabi wrote all his music, which in turn affects the album in that there are incidents where the style is monotonous.
The album is more than a befitting debut and you are going to hear a lot about this young man in future.
Kibun’omu has instrumentalists Wallace, Roy Kasika, Kiracho, Happy K, Lawrence Matovu and Ronald Bukenya working together to out a beautiful debut album.

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