The senior presidential adviser for special operations, Lt Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba has implored Ugandan musicians not to abandon their cultural roots by embracing foreign cultures, adding that the music industry in the country has grown a notch high with a lot of variety but lacking in richness.
The senior presidential advisor who was represented by Maj. Gen. Leopold Kyanda, made these remarks at the launch of the Janzi instrument on Saturday April 13 at Kampala Serena hotel.
“Am sure you have heard for yourselves. We applaud you for the great invention. With the invention of this instrument, the Ugandan Janzi will be adopted by many musicians in the world,” Lt. Gen Muhoozi said.
He was however quick to add that, the music industry today had been blended with some foreign cultures such as Swahili, Lingala, Rap, rock and reggae and funky thus veering off the Ugandan traditional music content.
“We now have mixed grill almost making our traditional music extinct,” Lt. Gen Muhoozi said.
Muhoozi said that he was sure, the invention of Janzi instrument was inspired by need to do something different to cover the gap in the Ugandan music industry and for this he applauded Ssewa Ssewa and his group.
He observed, that during the independence liberation struggles, music was the platform through which people spoke about the injustices by the colonialists; concluding, “music speaks!”
Lt. Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba, pledged shs. 40 million towards the Janzi which will be displayed in the Ugandan museum as a true testament of the rich Ugandan culture.
– Janzi Instrument –
The Janzi instrument launch kicked off with a cocktail in the lobby courtesy of Tusker Malt Lager before the revelers were ushered into Katonga Hall. The red carpet invite only event attracted a cross section of Ugandans among whom were different artists, media, fans of Janzi Band.
To start the night, were Haka Mukiga, Price and Keneth Mugabi who entertained the guests before James Ssewakiryana better known as Ssewa Ssewa was invited on stage.
He started by thanking a number of people and organizations among whom were his sponsors, that included Tusker Malt Lager, Ruparelia Foundation, Kampala Serena Hotel and Fenon Events. He also made mention of the support from Salvado Idringi, Rajiv Ruparelia with the highlight being when he knelt down to thank his mother and lovely wife.
When he took to the Janzi instrument, Ssewa Ssewa started with Bob Marley’s ‘No Woman No Cry’ which he did alongside his former boss at Qwela band.
Thereafter he narrated his Journey with the instrument, noting that this journey started with him as an adungu player. He recalled the day his adungu got messed up and he had to call a carpenter to fix it.
Ssewa Ssewa says that while the carpenter was en-route, his mind quickly thought of how to modernize the adungu and that is how he came up with his own signature instrument called the Janzi, a 22 string harp like instrument.
After narrating his story, he played the instrument punctuated by the guitar sound played by Myco Ouma.
The event was then climaxed by Ssewa’s band Janzi that performed until revelers left at leisure. They performed different covers and songs off their album Eka. The album is known for songs like Afrika, Eka, Ekili, Just a Dream, Ngaali, Njabala, Omwana Wabantu, River Road and Zimbabwe.