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How Jamaican music gave birth to modern Ugandan pop music.






The viral analysis of Club Video Music Awards jugde, Jasmine Dotiwal, which we broke stripped naked the bitter truth that 99% of Ugandan music videos is full of Jamaican stuff! In her own words,,”One thing that intrigued me was that it seemed that 99% of all music videos submitted, seemed to come straight from Jamaica, such is the passion of Ugandans brought up on dancehall music. With full patois accents and dancehall dance moves, it was like judging a Caribbean set of acts, as opposed to African.”

Instead of rushing to baseless conclusions and unnecessary criticism, I thought it wise to trace the roots of this trend. Tshaka Mayanja is the sole reason why Jamaican music is embedded in the core of Ugandan pop music. In the early 90s, he brought into the country top Jamaican artistses at a time when the Pearl of Africa was reeling the pleasure of newly found peace and freedom in the new change of guard. Red Rat, Shaba Ranks, Brian and Gold, Chaka Demus and Pliers(1996), Spanner and Banner (1997) then Third World, Papa San in 1997 making him equivalent to today’s promoter Balaam! While Congolese Lingala music ruled the music charts, through Tshaka’s efforts, he gave birth to modern Ugandan pop music.

The Ugandan pioneers included Rasts Rob, Shanks Vivie D, Menton Krono, Raga D. They blended Ugandan local speak to Jamaican patois and spotted dreadlocks but Menton Summer’s ”Sirakowo Baby” hit made the blend of dancehall and reggae a favourite among the youth. Today’s top artistes like Bebe , Bobi, Chamil, Peter Miles, Vampino, have all harnessed Jamaican styles to make their mark.

While some have gone ahead to make collaborations with their Jamaican idols, Uganadan music still struggles to create its own brand like the Nigerians, Congolese and South Africans have. Konshens, Shaggy, Bennie Man, Brick and Lace, Buju Banton, Morgan Heritage, Tanya Stephens, Sean Paul, Sean Kingston, Wayne Wonder are some of the Jamaicans that have entertained Ugandans in Kampala! Alaine, another top artiste is scheduled to perform alongside Konshens this August! Now you know!!!!



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