Since releasing a crowd pleasing seven track I Speak Luganda album, Joel Sebunjo has not released a lot of music of late, in fact, even when he has in the past hinted on possible collaborations with artistes like A-Pass, Navio or Maurice Kirya, nothing has really come into fruition.
It could actually be the reason why last week’s release of Mulamu, collaboration between Sebunjo and Myko Ouma took many by surprise.
But besides it being an abrupt release, the song too is a surprise by format – call it a world music coup aimed at the mainstream industry as known to many of us.
Earlier, we had Jackie Akello fusing her folklore feel to Levixone’s reggae vibe on Samanya, then Navio would borrow part of the Ganda instrumentation to his most successful song at the moment, Njogereza, Bebe Cool would later invite a group of artistes to create folklore feel for his Sente and to match the energy, in fact, even the attitude is changing to, for instance, more mainstream shows are now programming folklore acts.
It could be in this spirit that Sebunjo created Mulamu, a song by two artistes from the same festival faith but with a mainstream mind to it.
The song has a danceable feel that has in the past eluded folklore genres and above it all, he chooses to work with Yese Oman Rafiki, a song writer and producer that has in the past written Abantu Banyivu for Winnie Nwagi, Music for joel Kisakye, Ekimonde for Tuff B and of recent Sente and Kabulengane for Bebe Cool.
Thus Rafiki manages to capture the imagination of a would be Bebe Cool fan to some Sebunjo thanks to the crafty production.
Mulamu is a common song among different folklore music lovers, popularly referred to as Mulamu Namala Ampita Erinya, it has been covered and rearranged by different artistes with the most recent being Ludovico Mugerwa in 1998.
Sebunjo’s Mulamu has an easy production that doesn’t capitalize so much on the kora or the other instruments but allows them to co-exist with the digital sound that the market is accustomed to, this makes the song easier for the ears and quite lovable considering a fact that it has a chorus that many can sing along in a snap.
The short coming though is a fact that Ouma, being a guitarist overly blends with Sebunjo’s Kora that at times it’s hard to even tell if he’s on the song in the first place.
But overall Mulamu is a great song and probably the first bridge that will soon more world music acts work with their mainstream colleagues to give our music an identical sound.
First Published in The Observer