Watching Eddy Kenzo try to stretch his limits on Trace Mziki. Hmm, good step. For him. Maybe for our music too. In this song, he features South African chaps Mi Casa. Those chaps were here recently and did a fake job. But attendees were high and didn’t pay that much attention.
Kenzo knows for him to hit those African heights, or even capitalize on his BET victory, he has to mingle with the best. And who are the best on the continent today? Nigerians or South Africans, right? Well, yes. At least according to most international vibrant music awards held today.
Those chaps have managed to steal our attention and everyone else’s outside Africa. Our clubs just have to play them for chaps here to hit the dance-floor. Listen to most of our contemporary hit radios here, same script. But—correct me—-do Nigerian stations there play our stuff as much as we do here?
In Uganda, we have failed to get that musical identity to sell. Everything that we manage to churn is something similar to something outside. So, it is easy for someone anywhere to ignore us. Not to say it is bad to borrow influences, but our artistes are probably terrible at modifying those fancies to their whims.
Fine, there’s been this argument that if we had pushed “Kadongo Kamu”maybe we would have hit those African heights because that was our sound. But we didn’t. Today’s Kadongo Kamu chaps can’t even sell beyond Buganda region. So, how will they manage to hit Kenyan market or even Kigali? Poor stuff.
Most artistes today have resigned to play like Nigerians. And, man, they do it terribly. We have some talents. Yes, we do. Attend those monthly Jazz Evenings at Guvnor. Attend most corporate gigs. Talents are there. Many of our artistes are good. Really good. But, our musical jungle has pushed them to extremes of
just surviving or surrendering. And nothing saps a creative mind as working to survive.
I am dead certain when the legendary Paul Kafeero (RIP) penned most of his pieces, it was out of passion, first, before surviving. And boy was he great.
To Kenzo, he knows he has to mingle with the best and become better in this internet-laden era. I am sure today’s younger Nigerian arts journalists know him and Navio than they do Jose Chameleone. Radio/Weasel took same route with WizkId. Peter Miles did it with Jamaican Demarco. No awards to it yet, but it was good for them. For now, I think we are still copying and following the rest.
Steven Odeke a Entertainment, Arts and Culture writer