2016 was what one could call a year that fell short of music activity; in fact, the songs that ruled the airwaves came from about ten or less artistes and many of these were collaborations Sheebah Karungi was part of.
But after all these hits, songs are usually forgettable, yet in each year, there are songs that don’t just come and leave, they influence the future and music as people appreciate it. We talk about the five most important songs of 2016.
We’ve had reggae songs getting an excuse to be a mess since they want to ship their instrumentation from Jamaica. A-Pass on Mariana showed us that you can put Myko Ouma and Joe Sax on stage and still pull of an authentic reggae song. This song is proof that reggae doesn’t have to be a digital excuse like some artistes have made us believe.
This song changed the way people will associate with the songstress in the future. Irene Ntale is talented, yet, for some reason, popular music had made all the perfect arrangements for us to forget this; they made her ‘Go Down nanana…’ But what makes Sembera a special song in 2016 was a fact that it certainly cements Moses Sekibogo alias Moze Radio’s position on the industry as a song writer and a fact that sane music still stands a chance in a beat driven industry.
Bebe Cool wasn’t doing anything new with Kabulengane, in fact, he wasn’t even coining a new sound with Baxi-Ragga, the fusion had been forged way back in 2015 by at least more than an artiste. Maurice Kirya had introduced us to what one would call Baxi-Soul with his Busabala, but since Mama Naki mu Kayembe doesn’t listen to radios that play Maurice, it became easy for another guitar wielding artiste Aziz Azion to claim the sound. But it was in 2016 that Bebe forged a friendly song of the fusion, the lyrically bogus song is easy to the ear and has a rhythm that’s easy to nod to as well as dance to, regardless where the song has played. But that’s not what makes Kabulengane an important song; after Bebe Cool put this song up, the enthusiasm about a local sound unique to Ugandans gained ground and as you read this story, countless Baxi-Ragga songs by artistes we know or don’t know has been on the rise. The quality of music is questionable but good enough that they are now copying from an indigenous sound.
Kenneth Mugabi earlier this year won over live music lovers after appearing on Qwela Junction as one of the Crooners, good for him, this was the day he was unveiling his Kibunomu album.
He had even performed the song to the awe of the audience, but it was his second performance of Naki that got many talking.
Naki is a pursuit of a relationship in the rural way some millennials have only heard about in stories. Besides all that, Mugabi’s Naki is a simple as they come, an acoustic guitar, congas and a tube fiddle – this song is important to 2016 because it made it to the mainstream media, a medium where such refined music is usually shunned.
The song didn’t actually just make it, it rocked, which in many people’s view is a window for more songs like this to get out of festivals and Jam Sessions where they’ve been hidden in the past.
At first there was no reason to place this song on this particular list.
Besides being an enjoyable song, there’s nothing really outstanding about Sheebah Karungi’s Nkwatako, it’s not like she attempts to put an orchestra on a genre and neither does she actually sing. But the song is testimony that with a brilliant producer, any voice can effortlessly deliver a descent song.
The song is ordinary that it’s even hard to believe if by any slight chance it will influence music as an art.
Nkwatako is not a challenge for her but it was a direction that was important for an artiste that attracts the admiration she does – the song seems to remind all those young Sheebah wannabes that regardless of genre, at one moment you will have to man up and sing.