On Friday 28th March 2014, Chameleone made history by having a well attended and successful concert at the vast Lugogo cricket oval. This has been a venue only reserved for ‘big international artists’ mostly coming from Jamaica and USA. Many of our local artists have been shying away (understandably) due to fear of failing to raise a big number of concert goers. However Chameleone defied the odds by pulling off a massive show and a master stroke performance to crown it all. He followed the Lugogo cricket Oval concert with yet equally successful shows in Colline Hotel in Mukono on 29th and then at Resort Beach Entebbe on 30th respectively. However following the successful Cricket Oval concert, we learnt some few lessons and here we share them;
1- Dr Jose Chameleone is still Uganda’s No.1
Yes hate him, love him the truth remains, the music doctor is still the most outstanding music talent we have in Uganda. There have been arguments and debates over which artist is more talented, wealthy or successful etc, but statistics don’t lie. The last three album launches have proved to that testament. Valu Valu(2012) Badilisha(2013) and now Tubonge have pulled massive crowds consecutively in a period where he is supposed to be ‘going down’ especially after the emergence of new fresh talent like the Goodlyfe duo of Mozeh and Weasel and his other opponents Bobi Wine and Bebe Cool organising music battle of champions to determine ‘the undisputed music champion of Uganda’. The latest show, despite controversies surrounding the build up to the do involving KCCA banning outdoor shows and URA attaching his property over unpaid taxes amounting to about 7million, was almost filled to capacity. Not forgetting Chameleone has almost released a successful album or hit single consistently every year for the past twelve or so years. He is that big and this was just one of them. He did not only attract a big crowd, but he also pulled off one hell of a big performance accompanied by his Leone Island crew performing with a live band. He pleasantly surprised many, when he brought goose bumps on many people’s skins as he sang love ballad’s with a saxophone with many fans especially female ones holding back tears and placing their hands on their chests to show how emotionally they were deeply affected by this extraordinary talent. And that choir dancing to tubonge just illuminated the stage at the climax. These moves were perfectly out of the ordinary. And oh, not to forget there were no CD auctions as well which have become a norm at album launches of recent taking away the entertainment bit in these launches.
2- Ugandans support local talent
The evidence was there, Ugandans still love and support local talent as reflected by the massive turn up at Lugogo. Not even a late evening down pour could deter the determined fans from leaving The Cricket Oval. The curtain raisers like Geoffrey Lutaaya, Goodlyfe and Bobi Wine received a warm welcome amidst wild cheers from the crowd. Most of the performances from the local artists were engaging, with fans singing along to their favourite tunes. The crowd who were in agreement with Chameleone over detesting Ugandan DJs for playing Nigerian music in clubs, kept shouting ‘abewo’ when Chameleone claimed Ugandan artists are equally good, so ”why over play foreign music?” he wondered. The crowd answered back with shouts of ‘yeah’ and ‘you are no 1,’ ‘we love you’. You could feel the energy spreading all over the crowd that cut across all age and social groups.Young and old alike, everybody looked excited.
3- It is possible
We have come a long way musically and we are getting there. Remember the days when Congolese Music dominated the entertainment scene in Uganda? Not anymore. Even the South Africans and Jamaicans who at one time were darlings in Night clubs and party venues have been forgotten long since. Ugandan music has grown in heaps and bounds. The sound is better, the videos are cleaner and the message, more mature and relevant. That doesn’t mean we don’t have challenges, but we have certainly improved a lot. Sometime back in the 80’s and 90’s, no one would imagine a local artist pulling off a show of this magnitude in Lugogo Cricket Oval. Yes something unimaginable even in the recent past is now possible and happening and soon other artists will follow. Believe you me, they too will succeed. It’s possible and we all can contribute to make it work. And the beauty of it all is that, our artists now have learnt or are learning to perform with a live band.
4- Peace not Beef
From the response that greeted the presence of Goodlyfe and Bobi Wine in the Tubongo concert, it’s clear that the fans prefer peace over beef that has dominated our entertainment industry for long. With even stand up comedy also now marred in beefing controversies, it was a fresh sight seeing some of the former ‘sworn in’ enemies share the same stage after a long time. The crowd loved it and they showed it by ululating and cheering the performances of these artists who could not see eye to eye at one time.
5- Technology still a challenge
Much as there were lots of positives to pick from the concert, some concerns still remain a challenge. Despite The organisers Balaam and Silk Events setting up a beautiful and spacious stage with good lighting and fairly good sound, there were glitches here and there at the show. First the microphones were very few with MCs and artists sharing two wireless microphones with one going off or having creaky sound at some point or another. This challenge has been going on in many shows but still organisers have failed to fix it. There was also the incidence of the ‘Bifuna Kilalu’ machines jamming to work when a winner in the airtel win money promotion was supposed to collect money and the machine failed to start. However the most embarrassing moment was when the Music doctor was supposed to launch his new music videos and the big screens failed to work at the crucial hour. He resorted to using one which was ‘hidden’ at the back with many fans failing to see what was going on over there.
If we can work together on a few of these issues and do our part in supporting our local talent, surely one day we shall reach the promised land and enjoy music in the form that we deserve at the same time help create our brothers and sisters in the industry a means of survival