Ssewa Sewa set to officially launch Janzi, a Music Instrument

Ugandan folk musician James Ssewakiryanga aka Ssewa Ssewa with the janzi. He makes the instruments in his backyard. /COURTESY PHOTO
By :
Geoffrey Baluku

Ugandan Janzi sensation Ssewa sewa is set to launch his 22-string harp-like instrument tuned to two different scales, at Katonga Hall, Kampala Serena Hotel on 13 April.

He told Africa Tembelea that the move to launch the instrument in Uganda was part of a broader plan to gain strategic marketing partnerships in the future.

“Since 2017, I have single-handedly marketed the janzi and the feedback has been very positive,” Ssewa Sewa said.

Janzi is uniquely an interesting instrument of its kind. It’s a 22 string instrument tuned in two different scales which is the Diatonic on the Left and Pentatonic on the Right.

“This is a unique specification for this chordophone / string instrument. It is the basis on which it has been recognized by ARIPO Zimbabwe and the URSB (Uganda Registration Services Bureau) and accorded the UTILITY MODEL PROTECTION,” said Ssewa.

Adding that, he was certain that an official launch would connect the janzi with the global music market, which will offer opportunities to work with artists exploring new contemporary musical styles such as EDM.

Despite the challenges Ssewa has faced in trying to popularize the instrument in and around Uganda, he remains positive.

“I have invited the relevant government officials for the launch so they can have first-hand experience of the instrument and perhaps they will be compelled to tap into the traditional music scene and offer the much-needed support that is currently given to mainstream musicians,” Ssewa said.

He believes that the traditional music scene in Uganda if well-funded, could stimulate business, spur tourism as well as create employment opportunities.

“One day I wish to set up an arts centre with a school, theatre, hostel and instrument building factory to serve as a source of employment for young people and also help build skills needed in the sector,” he added.

Sponsored by Ruparelia Group, Tusker Malt, Fenon Events and Kampala Serena Hotel, the invite only launch will be graced by LT. Gen. Muhoozi Kainerugaba in the capacity of Guest of Honour.

– James Ssewakiryanga –

Mr. James Ssewakiryanga, the CEO of Janzi Band is a multi-instrumentalist playing an array of instruments like; Endongo, Adungu, Endingidi, Akogo, Amadinda, Engoma, Mbira, Kamele Ngoni, Percussions and The Janzi leading his audiences into the enticing and soulful African music culture with traditional instruments, songs and stories from his homeland, weaving these traditions together with a modern and global sound.

He has been to Germany, Sweden, Denmark, France, Spain, Switzerland, Netherlands, Austria, Czech Republic, Belgium and USA mostly to introduce the instrument to music schools and Universities. In the USA he introduced it to the Legendary Steve Miller at Lincoln Center in New York and has also met and given Jazz Maestro and Bass player Richard Bona his Janzi here in Uganda.

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