It’s impossible not to see an Elephant when you’re in a room with it, unless of course one is blind. Even then, due to its size, you will feel its presence, I assure you that.
Whether or not I or anyone else for that matter, has contributed anything to Music in this country, that’s a moot point.
The Elephant in the room is, we’re not excelling because we’re not good enough, yet. Can we talk about this first, get it out of the way?
Unless someone is sitting somewhere and thinking that there’s a campaign outside our borders that’s been initiated to boycott our Music in the last two decades, which is (shamelessly) untrue, we must face the issue and hit it head-on.
Let’s remember that there are several Ugandans who have/are not only shining on the global scene, they tour and perform on the big stages; Geoffrey Oryema, Samite Mulondo, Michael Kiwanuka, Mark Kavuma, Alfa Mist to name but a few.
They didn’t bribe anyone to attain this level, they worked hard and are very good at what they do, it broke down any obstacles that Musicians face. They are very good at what they do.
The other mistake people keep making is to think that the Ugandan Music sector started in 1999/2000 when they broke through. Before that, there wasn’t a Music scene that was existent nor vibrant here. How disrespectful and uninformed can one be?
I contend, without apology, that the destruction of creativity in our Music started in the year 2000, when Music was invaded by people looking purely for fame (notoriety) and fortune.
This led to the formation of often violent and vitriolic cartels, camps and oligarchs, which in turn led to the ‘malnutrition’ and the stagnation of creativity in Music, especially in the mainstream.
The Music scene here has to this day been reduced to the juvenile, kindergarten boy’s urinals fights where kids are arguing with words like, “mine is bigger”.
That’s how far we have sunk. No wonder politics has found very fertile ground to sow its seed, in the murk and sewer that we’re now wallowing in.
There is ABSOLUTELY no shortcut, we must pull our fingers out and create better Music that is palatable to the wider global audience/market. We cannot continue wallowing in the hollow praise that comes from our ignorance.
Anyone who says we must love our Music REGARDLESS of its quality, needs help.
Let me use this analogy; If a student in school fails exams, teachers may decide that the best course of action is to repeat the class and take another year grasping what’s being taught.
If the student fails three years or more in a row, while other students are joining the class and leaving him/her behind, out of pity, the failing student may be promoted to the next class, lest he/she stays there long enough to start producing his own children who’d then find him/her still stuck in the same class.
Similarly, we’re not excelling like others because we’re stuck in the same class doing retake after retake.
Asking people to LIKE and support our Music regardless of its quality so we can live in the biggest houses is daylight robbery, and will not help our growth. It also sounds like a Cadre or Politician who’s just come from an indoctrination class.
No, without apology, I insist that we must IMPROVE our creativity and the quality of our Music. It lacks any bit of sophistication that requires it to soar over our borders consistently.
Thankfully, I’m glad that there are some Musicians who have endeavoured to become better and are less emotional about hearing about what needs to be done.
It’s these ones who will lift the standard of Music in this country, whether or not they are homeless, live in small houses or mansions; their focus is to become very good Musicians. The rest will fall in place later.
Look out for a new emerging caliber of Musician in this country. I hope and pray that they are not misled to fall into the same traps laid by their predecessors.
Let’s get better, much better.