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Editor’s note: Its nearly a decade since Symon Base Kalema last stepped on a musical stage, and it was in Nakivubo in a ‘Kigunda show’, even then few people noticed him since it had taken another ten years since he bid farewell to singing to concentrate on an illustrious acting career, a career that has made him a trade mark in Uganda and abroad. So, when The Sunrise’s Gabriel Buule talked to Symon Base Kalema, and his recent act of resurrecting his music career, Symon had a lot to tell his fans, please enjoy:
The sunrise; How are you Simon, Today I wish we talk only about your careers and nothing personal, so career wise who is Symon base Kalema;?
Symon; I am fine, and Symon (with a y) is a Ugandan, first of all a musician, actor and producer.
The sunrise; You have started with ‘Musician’ despite the fact that most people know you as an actor on stage,
Symon; Yes singing was and is still my first love, I learnt to appreciate music first hand from my dad who was a guitarist with Afrigo band in its early days. Personally, I started singing long before I ever stepped on an acting stage. I was one of the founder members of ‘Perfect Generation’ in the early 90s. A group that was one of the pioneer entertainment groups in Uganda. In this group we had all the heavy weights who are still heavy weights in the entertainment industry even today; people like , Peter Sematimba, Shanks, Raggga Dee, Roger Mugisha, Rasta Rob, Odida, Peter Sekandi, Hassan Kimbugwe and Brian; I started singing in Perfect Generations founded by the late Bob Bashabe in 1991. So I am right to say that music was my first love.
The sunrise;-‘Perfect Generation’ is mostly identified with the ‘Kakokolo’ hit song, were you a one hit wonder, group?
Symon; Nay, its true ‘Kakokolo’ was a massive hit and it defined the group, but we also had many other songs like, Positive Change, Bad attitude, Take it slow, Stay, Jam Jam etc but “Kakokolo’ ,became a our flagship song.
The sunrise; Why do you think that “Kakokolo” was a runaway hit despite many other songs that you did?
Symon; The secret then as it is now, is that singing in your native language is a gold mine, because most folks then and even now will relate to the native language rather than English, this is because you just can’t sing better than the established foreign singers who sings in English which is used all over the world.
The sunrise; So what happened to Perfect generation?
Symon; I like to think that we just grew too big for our own comfort, other members went to UK, I went solo and briefly went to Kenya then the group just died a natural death!
The sunrise; You said you went solo?
Symon; Yes, I went solo and even made tours and shows. My first song was ‘Mukwano muzibu’ then after coming from Kenya, around 1994, my friend RS Elvis introduced me to “The Ebonies“, the biggest drama group then.
The sunrise; Briefly tell us about your acting career.
Symon; As I have said, I joined The Ebonies around 1998, and with all due respect, I can confidently say that The Ebonies made me what I am today, this is because, at The Ebonies I learnt all that one needs to know about stage performance; I also had an important phase of my personal life at The Ebonies. Currently I am working with ‘Fun Factory’ a comedy outfit and I also do stints in TV dramas and documentary production.
The sunrise; What do you mean important phase of your personal life?
Symon; You promised not to get into personal life, but okay, I married and got children courtesy of The Ebonies where I met my wife Julie Underwood! Guess that is enough about my personal l
The sunrise; On social media, I listened to your new released single tell us about it and does this mean you are revisiting your old love?
Symon; Yes, singing was and is still my first love, I have decided that its time I go back to my calling, because I believe that singing is my calling. I have released an audio that is receiving lots of airplay on radios and it’s the stepping stone to my going back to singing.
It’s a love ballad called ‘Singa teyali gwe, this song is about a man appreciating a woman has stood by him throughout. Its a dedication to all women who stand by their men especially during the hard times’.
I promise that many more songs will be coming soon. I hope to do a ‘First class video’ soon, because I know that without a video, songs don’t seem to be taken seriously these days!
The sunrise; Parting shot for your fans?
Symon; Though I have taken so long to come back, I can assure all my fans that they should expect a revolution from me.