Sandra Nankoma alias Sandy Soul has been around the jazz music scene as well as the general music establishment doing cover songs before branching off to acting, poetry and visual art.
Last month, for the first time she hosted her fans for an intimate listening party of her debut EP Kaddugala at Tamarai Restaurant in Kololo, a Kampala suburb.
For a person that has had a musical background that involved performing for Code 9 Band and later forming her own Sandy Soul Africa, it was easy to imagine the night would have great live performances.
With a team that had Lawrence Matovu on the bass, Elijah Kitaka on the drums, Ronnie Bukenya on the keys and Kaz Kasozi on the lead guitar, the group enabled the audience get the best of the audio experience that at times distorted and went off the script all in good faith.
She kicked off her performance with Come Over, a ballad that maximizes the rhythm of the bass and lead guitars – a heavily jazz song; it’s hard to tell whether many people can easily access this particular song considering the fact that it’s totally done in English and purely a fusion of blues and jazz.
Kaddugala the title track of the EP got many people excited for the message in it, Nankoma says that the song is close to her because of her past experiences as a dark skinned person especially in Uganda where beauty has been defined as a brown colored girl.
On the song, she talks about people learning to love their dark skin without tampering with them by bleaching.
The song was the inspiration behind Nankoma’s solo art photography exhibition she held in Kampala earlier this year under the title Melanin.
“Things I say in this song come from personal experiences, people have told me that I need to lighten my texture to make myself more appealing,” she says.
Mercedez, a song about a materialistic girl was the most enjoyed song of the night – it’s either because many related to the story or because it has a groovy feel that meets with funk, people dance to it and even asked for an immediate encore which the band obliged to.
Nankoma has matured as a performer since she first came onto the scene doing covers of songs like Peggy Lee’s Fever and Bill Whethers’ Ain’t no Sunshine, today, besides a few songs that are so deep in the genre, with other givings, it’s clear she has found her sound and she’s trying to put her identity to it.
Her EP has only four songs and at least two of these are written in Lugwere, one in Luganda and one in English – her delivery on songs in indigenous languages is relatable since Kasozi, also the producer tried to merge or manipulate instruments to have some sort of Ugandaness to their sound.