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In Uganda, Mathias Walukaga is fed up

In Uganda, Mathias Walukaga is fed up

It’s 85 degrees in the shade.  Men and women are crowding into the mutatus (taxis), and a voice of consciousness is emanating from the speakers. Mathias Walukaga is a man who courts controversy—with lyrics that once landed him in jail.  In an era where hip hop has inspired a new generation of artists, he is one of the few who still plays Kadongo Kamu.  For those who are just discovering this particular style of music, Kadongo Kamu, or “one guitar music”, originated in central Uganda in the early 1950s and blends acoustic sounds with narrative song. 

Though the genre is fading in popularity, Mathias Walukaga’s latest work—Bakoowu (or “They are fed up”)—is just as poignant as the work of other artists from years ago.  Bakoowu, which is also interpreted as "they are tired", speaks to what he sees as the erosion of society’s values: untrustworthiness in marriage, unfairness in trade, an unforgiving civilization, cheating in politics, and the mis-education of the youth.  So Walukaga, as he popularly known, is asking when will we finally be fed up?


About Kampala Taxi Sessions

Anyone who's spent time in Africa quickly learns that the place to discover new music is not the clubs...or radio stations...but the taxis.  Kampala Taxi Sessions is written by Hillary Muheebwa, our Kampala-based editor reporting from the font lines - the streets and taxis.  Make sure to follow him on Twitter.

04 Jun 2012 10:49 PM    tag: Exclusive
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