Uganda National Cultural Centre (UNCC), Elly Wamala’s family and the arts fraternity have been hosting annual concerts in memory of the iconic musician who passed on 22nd August 2004 Since 2006.
And this year’s concert will be happening at the comfort of your sitting rooms via UNCC@HOME.due to COVID-19 pandemic. The show
UNCC Public Relations Officer Robert Musiitwa said that, the memorial concert will be happening this Friday 21st August 2020 at 07:30pm.
“The selected date happens to be the eve of Elly Wamala’s passing on. UNCC@Home will stream the 2019 Memorial Concert which took place at UNCC main auditorium under the theme “Earning from Your Performance.” Said Musiitwa.
He added that: “You will listen and watch Elly Wamala’s songs as presented by various artistes like the 1973 classic, Akaana Ka Kawalya Ka Wanyana, sang by Frank Mbalire, Taata Wange by Julie Ssessanga, Nalongo Wange by Moses Matovu, Ebinyumu and other by Dustan Mukalazi.”
Musiitwa revealed that, people will get an opportunity to watch and listen to legendaries that worked with the Elly Wamala.
“We’ll have a sneak peek into what they learnt from him during his life and how he impacted on their artistic careers to this day. Expect to listen to renowned musicians and artists such as Moses Matovu of Afrigo Band, Frank Mbalire and Sammy Kasule of Ziwuuna Band; Diplock Segawa, Charles Ssenkubuge, Aloysius Matovu Joy of Bakayimbira Drama Actors and Julie Ssesanga of the Big Five.” He said.
Musiitwa also noted that the Memorial Concert that will be streamed this Friday revived Elly Wamala’s values and aim which were to impart skills and give young talents a chance.
“In attaining this, last year’s memorial concert had two sets of the bands; the professional band led by Afrigo band/ Ziwuuna Band and the upcoming talents from Makerere University performing Arts and Film Department. Expect to watch and listen to the surviving family of Elly Wamala and what their father meant to them.
This is a celebration of Elly Wamala’s lifelong commitment to knowledge gathering and sharing, which, he mainly did through his songs,” He said.
About Elly Wamala
Elly Wamala (13 December 1935– 2004) was a Ugandan musician. On 22 August 2004, he succumbed to throat cancer at Mulago Hospital.
Wamala was one of Uganda’s first musicians to release a recorded song and have it become a commercial hit in the 1950s when he released Nabutono.
The song was so successful that it caught the attention of a nation and Kabaka Edward Mutesa who regularly summoned Wamala to his court to perform the song. After Nabutono, Wamala’s next release was Josephine and it also became a hit.
By the time of his death, he had over 60 songs to his name, including Nabutono produced in 1959, Viola (1974), Welcome Pope Paul (1969), Akaana Ka Kawalya (1974), and Ebinyumu Ebyaffe (1998), among others.
His music career
Wamala dropped out of school in junior secondary three and started to work at a Kampala music store. He quit and started to work with the then Public Works Department (PWD), and later as a receptionist and resident artiste with Opel Tom Tom, a recording studio in Kampala’s industrial area. When Opel Tom Tom closed, Wamala moved to Nairobi where he became a resident guitarist at a commercial recording studio, HiFi.
He was picked to lead the Sportsman Cha Cha band, which was sponsored to tour East Africa, promoting Sportsman cigarettes. And in the 1950s, he penned his first song, the playful love song, Nabutono. The song became the first kadongo kamu song to be recorded on vinyl