By Norah Mukimba
Internationally renowned Ugandan musician Geoffrey Oryema is dead. The singer died at 65.
The news of his death of Oryema who became famous for his song Land Of Anaka, was broken by singing icon Joel Sebunjo.
He wrote on Friday evening: “Sad news for Ugandan Music .. African Music.. World Music. The legend Geoffrey Oryema has passed on!! What a tragedy.. In September this year we had plans to record Lyon France; unfortunately it didn’t come to pass.
Condolences to his family, friends & fans all over the world. This man is a true Ugandan Legend. Rest in peace Big tree,” he wrote.
According to his Wikipedia, was born on born 16 April 1953). In 1977 after the murder of his father, Erinayo Wilson Oryema, who was a cabinet minister in the government of Amin he began his life in exile.
At the age of 24, and at the height of Idi Amin’s power, Oryema was smuggled across the Ugandan border in the trunk of a car.
He sung in the languages of his youth, Swahili and Acholi, the languages of the lost country, the ‘clear green land’ of Uganda, and he also sings in English and French.
Oryema earned his international reputation on the release of his second album, Beat the Border. He has collaborated with Peter Gabriel and others, and was backed by French musicians including Jean-Pierre Alarcen (guitar) and Patrick Buchmann (drums, percussion, backing vocals), touring with WOMAD in Australia, the USA, Japan, Brasil and Europe.
In 1994 the band performed at Woodstock 94 celebrating the 25th anniversary of the legendary festival. Gabriel’s record label, Real World, helped with the first three of Oryema’s albums, before his move to Sony International, a label established in France, where Oryema has lived since his exile.
In July 2005, he performed at the LIVE 8: Africa Calling concert in Cornwall, and with 1 Giant Leap at the Live 8 Edinburgh concert.
By Norah Mukimba