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Jackson Hernandez
Jackson Hernandez

Free Ugandan Music Downloads: Discover New Songs and Artists

Uganda, is now ranked number three in Africa as far as music and entertainment is concerned. Uganda is home to over 65 different ethnic groups and tribes,[1] and they form the basis of all indigenous music.[2] The Baganda, being the most musically vibrant nationality in the country, has defined what constitutes culture and music of Uganda over the last two centuries.

The first form of popular music to arise out of traditional music was the Kadongo Kamu style of music, which arose out of traditional Kiganda music. From the 80s till early 90s, Kadongo Kamu was influenced by musicians such as Peterson Mutebi, Dan Mugula, Sebadduka Toffa, Fred Ssonko, Livingstone Kasozi, Fred Masagazi, Baligidde, Abuman Mukungu, Gerald Mukasa, Sauda Nakakaawa, Matia Luyima, Herman Basudde, and Paulo Kafeero[3] music genres drew from Kadongo Kamu, making it the most influential style of music in Uganda. In the late 80s, the late Philly Lutaaya released his "Born In Africa' album that would later dominate the air waves. Lutaaya also released his "Merry Christmas" that consisted of 8 songs. This album is still popular to date, all Philly Lutaaya's songs are now anthems amongst Ugandan music lovers.

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In the early 1990s, a new music genre afro ragga locally called Kidandali formed by Rasta Rob, Kid Fox, Ras Khan, Messe, Shanks Vivid, Menton Summer, Ragga Dee, Bebe Cool and Jose Chameleone Bobi Wine and Steve Jean - who would later produce their songs. In 1997, Emperor Orlandoh and Menton Summer were the darlings after their "Sirikawo Baby" song becoming a national hit.

Because of the effects of globalization, Uganda, like most African countries, has seen a growth in modern audio production. This has led to the adoption of western music styles like Dancehall and Hip Hop.

Uganda's most travelled and popular DJ, Erycom, real names Mutebi Erycom, was the first Ugandan to own a Youtube channel and he's among the first two Ugandans to make Ugandan music circulate online digitally.

Uganda's nationalities are diverse and spread evenly throughout the country. Native music in Uganda, like in most African regions, is mainly functional. This means that most music and music activities usually have specific functions related to specific festivities like marriage, initiation, royal festivals, harvests and war among others. The music is performed by skilled tribesmen and women who are good at playing various traditional instruments, folk songs and traditional dances.

The Baganda are found in Buganda in the central region; they are the largest native nationality in the country.[5] The kingdom is ruled by a king, known as a Kabaka. The kabaka has traditionally been the main patron of the music of Buganda. Musical instruments include various forms of drums, making percussion an integral part of the music).[6]

The massive and sacred royal drums are just one of the many drum types. The engalabi is another common drum and it is a long round shaped drum.[7] The drums are used in unison with various other melodic musical instruments ranging from chordophones like the ennanga harp and the entongoli lyre, lamellophones, aerophones, and idiophones and the locally made fiddle called kadingidi.

To differentiate Eastern region from other regions. This region has several tribes namely Bagwere,basoga,banyoli,bagisu,jopadhola,iteso,sabin,basamya and each tribe has its kind of music. In the 90s these tribes used to produce music using their own made instruments like the Bagwere had an instrument called kongo ,basoga had xylophones (mbeire),Jopadhola and banyoli had fumbo,iteso had adungu so during that time their music was different in production and composition according to which tribe was singing. In the 20th century, many tribes have tried to adopt to modern production and still they make their songs in their native languages according to their tribes . There are many artist from several tribes like bagwere have waisana,benenego, rapper sky dee,area b, waikere ,bluzman etc, Bagisu have san sea,ben,nutty neithan etc, Basoga have crazy mc,racheal magola,maro etc. Most of these tribes have kings that have helped in the promotion of culture and music at large , the Bagwere king is called ikumbania,the Bagisu king is called omukuka,the Basoga king is called chabazinga,the iteso king is called emorimori. Lastly eastern region has several district.

Talents have developed from ages of Sister Charity, Chance Kahindo and Rasta Charz to the years of Ray G, Jolow, Allan Toniks, Seyo, T Bro, Emily Kikazi, Muzz Joe, T Paul, Rachael T, Mat Henry, CJ Champion to Penny Patra, Amani Amaniga, Carol Kay, Prettie Immaq and more of the new guys on block.After the success of a one "Omusheshe" song of Ray G & Spice Diana, Runyankole was embraced in major parts of Uganda. Central artists too teaming up with western Uganda's artists on songs like "True man hood" Allstars ft T Bro, "Tikikushemerire" of Gen Geeon ft Jose Chameleon, "Yeele" Geosteady ft Ray G, "Ninkukunda" Ray G ft Voltage music, "Mbarara boy" Mc Kacheche ft John Blaq, "Elevate" Rachael T ft Colifixe, "Sagala" T Paul ft Cosign. These too have boosted the industry to the national level.

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Music promoters' impact. From Online and Offline, including Feezah music uganda Alpha Promotions, BantuHits,[12] Uganda Djs Online Radio Karen Promotions, D3 Promotions, Lala Promotions, Patra Promotions, JKG Promotions, MOK Alozius Promotions, individuals like Dely Derick, Mc Katala, Mr vybs live among many. Radio and Television are supporting talent too. The development of radio from the regions first radio "Voice of Tooro" to Radio West, Messiah Radio in Kasese, Voice of Kigezi to Endigyito, Voice of Kamwenge, Kasese Guide Radio, Rwenzori FM, BFM, Hits FM, and urban radios like Crooze FM, Boona FM, K Town Radio, Ngabu FM and Street Deejays Radio (Online Radio) has seen western Uganda's music grow fast.Television development has been slow thou the coming of TV West, and Bunyoro TV has also developed western Ugandas music.The two TVs have given platforms to the artists through playing their videos on visuals and bringing them to the public eye.Through radios and TVs, we saw the coming of Mc Kacheche, Kunana MC, Lithan MC, Mr Jay among others. Kacheche's coming is one of the reasons Western Uganda's music has been embraced in the central. The growth in music events, especially in bars of Mbarara, Rukungiri, Kabale, Fort Portal, Ishaka, Kasese and Kamwenge gives platforms to the starting artists to be heard of.

Because of Uganda's turbulent political history, there was never enough time for there to be a thriving pop music industry until relative peace was restored in the late 1980s. By then, musicians like Philly Lutaaya, Afrigo Band, and Elly Wamala were the few Ugandan acts to have had mainstream music success. Jimmy Katumba and his music group the Ebonies were also popular at this time, especially towards the 1990s.

Musicians like, Carol Nakimera, Kezia Nambi, Fred Maiso, Kads Band, Rasta Rob, Menton Summer were on top of the Ugandan music game between 1990 and 1997. Artists like, Livingstone Kasozi, Herman Basudde and Paulo Kafeero also played a great role in bringing live music near to the fans.

According to popular music promoter and legendary DJ Erycom, In the year 1998, Uganda experienced the biggest change musically. Thanks to musician Red Banton (the Five star general) who rose to fame with his Noonya Money hit song that played country wide. Red Banton ruled the Ugandan music scene until the year 2000 when Jose Chameleone returned from Kenya with his "Mama Mia" song that turned into a National anthem in Uganda and East Africa at large.

The 1990s saw Uganda's love affair with Jamaican music begin when artists like Shanks Vivi Dee, Ragga Dee, and others were influenced by Jamaican superstars like Shabba Ranks. They imported the Ragga music culture into Uganda and, although they faced stiff competition from other African music styles and musicians at the time, in particular Soukous from Congo and Kwaito from South Africa, they formed the foundation of the pop music industry. But it was not until the 21st century when musicians like Chameleone emerged that a pop music scene really began.

By around 2007, there were a number of musicians practicing varied styles of music, and the role of western and Congolese/South African music had greatly diminished. Today, musicians like Iryn Namubiru and King Saha are just a few of the many pop musicians in a thriving and vibrant pop music scene. The pop music duo of Radio & Weasel, the Goodlyfe Crew, is well known around Africa, being nominated in the continental MTV Base awards in 2010 and BET awards in 2013. In June 2015, Eddy Kenzo won the award for "Best new international artist" at the 2015 BET music awards.

The word "Kadongo Kamu" is a term in the Luganda language that means "one guitar". The music is given this name because of the role played by the bass guitar, which most times is the solo instrument used in creation of the music. Perhaps the first well known artist of the genre was Fred Masagazi in the 1960s.[13]

The late Elly Wamala contributed a lot in making urban Kadongo Kamu style. Christopher Sebadduka popularised the genre and perhaps this is why he is considered by many to be the God father of kadongo kamu. Elly Wamala abandoned this genre because it was also instrumented by non elite like Christopher Sebadduka. His brand of educative singing won him many fans and he is one of the few musicians who was involved with Uganda's independence in 1962. . They were followed by a number of musicians who kept true to the style and sound of the music.[13]

Herman Basudde was a very popular kadongo kamu musician in the 1980s and 1990s. So was Bernard Kabanda. Dan Mugula is one of the few surviving pioneers of the genre. Fred Sebatta and Paulo Kafeero made their mark in the 1990s. Today, the genre is marginalized in favor of more recent styles of music. But because the music is loved by cultural loyalists in the buganda region, it is certain that there will always be an audience for kadongo kamu.[14]


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