The one thing that many people know about Pearl Rhythm Festival must be their ability to produce new talent on an annual basis.
Each year, the festival through their Stage Coach programme mentor a group of artistes in areas of song writing, recording and performing.
This in turn has in turn given birth to Ann Nassanga alias Afrie, Giovanni Kiyingi, Haka Mukiga, Bantu Clan, Wake and Appegio Band whose breakaways like Kenneth Mugabi, JJ Bugoma and Happy Kyazze have gone on to do amazing things as solo artistes.
On Monday last week, the festival kicked off the activations for this year’s festival, usually held on the last Monday of the month, they are intended to celebrate past artistes that have been part of the Stage Coach programme and it wasn’t surprising, when Appegio’s old boy and saxophonist Happy K was picked on.
An older brother to Michael Kitanda, Happy I mostly known for his rough style of play – louder than ordinary saxophonist would sound especially when they are playing alongside other instrumentalists.
But even with his rough style, Happy has a lot of soul in his playing, it’s easy to feel the sadness or the love blowing through his saxophone as songs go on, in fact, it was the story of his activation at the National Theatre.
He treated revelers to all sorts of musical experiences some of which were talking about his personal triumphs and hardships; the songs of the night, according to him are mostly slated for his upcoming album Ntwala.
The lead song Ntwala, which got the audience in a somber mood is a dedication the artiste did for their late mother, he wrote the song when the mum was fighting for her life in one of the hospitals – he originally performed the song with his brother Kitanda at Qwela Junction last year.
He said that the song was a prayer asking God to relieve the mother off the pain she was going through while at the hospital.
This time there were no introductions though he played his heart out and finished the song in sobs as Kenneth Mugabi and Sheba Umwiza backed him up.
Mugabi later joined him for their duet Rita, off his Kibunomu album.
This year’s Stage Coach already picked the five artistes they will be working with and later showcasing at the festival in October.
The second Pearl Rhythm activation is set for June 26 since World Music day too falls in this month the organisers will use the activation as a celebration of the day with Kitanda as the showcasing artiste.