Afrigo’s Omwana w’eNsenene inspires son into music
The legendary Afrigo Band percussionist, Herman Sewanyana a.ka.,has inspired his son, Denis Sewanyana, to live band music. Growing while seeing his father perform, the younger Sewanyana picked interest while still young, and knew that someday he would be just like his father.
Denis Sewanyana, aged 27, is a percussionist in the Code 9 Band that performs at Jazz Ville Bugolobi every Friday. He started his musical journey when he was in school at Mengo Secondary School.
“Mengo SS gave me a good environment to start my. I had the passion for music and also had a great inspiration from my dad,” Denis says.
In the family of five children, Denis and his elder brother, who lives abroad, are the only ones who took after their father.
“Percussion is about a group of percussion instruments like, Conga drums, Tambolines and Cow Bell. These instruments come in a set and some people call them Western or modern drums,” he explains. “For live music performances, percussion instruments are assembled alongside others like, bass guitar, electronic guitar, piano and other instruments that form a complete band.”
Heman Sewanyana says that he is very happy to see his son follow in his footsteps.
“I always urged Denis to do percussion music but at first he never showed interest. After university he gave in and started doing percussion and this has become one of my biggest accomplishments,” Herman says. “I also have a grandson doing percussion music too
Herman says he brought the talent to the family. “I brought the talent to the family and started percussion music when people never knew about it. Percussion music is the mother of Baxx Raga and I believe soon band music will go up the music chat because its more creative and very natural” Herman adds.
Denis is proof that music is not for the academically weak as some people think.
“I went to Shimoni Demonstration School and Mengo Secondary School from 2004 to 2009. I did Sciences. Because of my good performance, I qualified for a government sponsorship at Makerere University,” Denis says.
Despite getting a First Class degree in Environmental Science in 2014, Denis never gave up on his music career. “I loved Science, but business more.Music is just my passion that is why I love it the most,” he says. According to him, the music industry is fun because one gets paid for doing something they like.
He started music with the Explosion Band, and then he joined Percussion Discussion Africa which is owned by his father.Later, he joined Code 9 Band where he is now. Code 9 Band does live performance of mostly oldies music.They do not do original compositions.
Denis says that besides live music, his favorite music genre is Zouk and Jazz music. In Uganda, his favorite music icons are Jose Chameleon and Naava Grey.
“Chameleon is a complete musician basing on his lyrical content. There are some notes he makes while singing that only a complete musician can do. I like his singing style,” Denis says.
Band music, apparently, pays more than say RnB, Hip Hop, Luga Flow, Ragga and Dancehall, but few people know this.
Many people have not yet appreciated band music. The biggest number of people who enjoy music is youths. It is quite difficult to attract them to this kind of music. Also, marketing this kind of music is very minimal, even though society is now adopting slowly to live music.That is why artistes now organize Live and not CD Concerts like it was previously,” Denis says
Denis is a family man. He says his wife, Amanda, and daughter Ruby Kwagala Sewanyana come first.
Apart from music, Denis runs an Arts and Crafts business called Sewi Arts, located at Buganda Road, at the East African Village.