By Alex Balimwikungu
Singer turned legislator, Rachael Magoola, the woman MP Bugweri, is not about to forget her musical past. She has returned with a new music album , dubbed ‘Resilience: Songs of Uganda’.
Resilience: Songs of Uganda’ marks the return of Ugandan luminary Rachel Magoola as one of Uganda’s influential voices and most celebrated musical artists. ‘Resilience’ is Magoola’s seventh solo release and has been eagerly anticipated.
Rachel has long been a prominent figure in contemporary Ugandan culture, from her time with the legendary Afrigo Band through to her lauded philanthropic and charitable work. She now makes her triumphant return to the solo music scene with an album that highlights the hardships the Ugandan nation has endured, and celebrates its people’s tenacity and ability to bounce back from adversity.
Comprised of tracks inspired by Uganda’s culture and history, Rachel weaves her original material and collaborative efforts with interpretations of traditional Ugandan songs, giving the listener an authentic, upbeat experience. While the songs mainly have a high-tempo, sunny sound, at times, this contrasts deeply with the profound and powerful message Magoola imparts through her lyrics. All tied together with the sounds of native instruments from the various regions of the country, ‘Resilience: Songs of Uganda’ will make you want to dance, and give you insight into the struggles Ugandan people continue to face.
A life-long believer in helping others, Rachel’s long-standing humanitarian efforts culminated earlier this year, with her election as an Honourable Member of Uganda’s Parliament representing her local Bugweri District. However, her compassion expands beyond the confines of a single platform. While she fights for others on the political stage, we can be grateful for her return to the music world. She continues to educate and entertain with her unique style, vibrant vocals, and poignant storytelling.
‘Resilience: Songs of Uganda’ showcases her passion for equality, empowerment and education of the young. It highlights the strength of the Ugandan people and how, despite every tribulation they and their homeland faces, they remain proud and irrepressible.
A small example of the resolute nature shared with her people, Rachel Magoola recorded this enlightening album against the backdrop of the Covid crisis. For the nation of Uganda, a global pandemic is proving to be just another fork in the road of resilience.
My most sincere gratitude goes to ARC Music for giving me yet another opportunity to work together. The pandemic would have otherwise been a lot more dismal. My thanks also go to Jude (Njoroge) Kiracho and Joe Kahirimbanyi, both have been extremely helpful and creative. They also have been very patient with me, considering my crazy post-lockdown schedule. Thank you also to all the instrumentalists and their talent-filled contributions to the creation of this album. And finally, to Florence Adakun who taught me ‘Ejotoori Jo’.
Rachel Magoola: all vocals
Njoroge Kiracho: akogo, pads, keyboards, bass guitar, lead guitar, percussion, hand claps, backing vocals, brass, drums
Kikule Fred: embuutu, enduumi, engalabi, endingidi, adungu
Joe Kahirimbanyi: acoustic guitar, backing vocals on ‘Serubonera’ Muduwaani
Barnabas Anguchi: xylophone
Kaz Kasozi: flute Wilber Kasaale: backing vocals
Jimmy Abila: backing vocals, percussion, keyboards
- Bufuubi – a song from Bugishu. Bagishu are a tribe on the Slopes of Mt. Elgon astern Uganda.. The song tells an orphans truth of a life without anyone you can call your own.
- Susuuni- a song from Busoga. Basoga are a tribal group on the northern shores of Lake Victoria. The song is about rivalry in a polygamous relationship. It uses the allegory of birds fighting for supremacy in a tree. The birds in the song were recorded from my bedroom window during the pandemic. For the first time I could hear the birds without the roar of traffic.
- Ejotoori –A soothing lullaby from Teso. The Itesots are a pastoral tribe in north eastern Uganda located on the shores of Lake Kyoga.
- Emaali- A celebration of the birth of a baby girl in Teso. Daughters are a source of wealth. When a girl gets married bride price is paid to the family of the bride. This song anticipates the benefits of this birth.
- Otuuse- A bride from Busoga welcomes her fiancé in the home of her parents during the traditional marriage visit by the groom.
- Maama Mutesi- Mutesi is the name of a Princess from a royal clan of Abaisemenha of Busoga and Rwanda. The song celebrates the incomparable attributes of Princesses in this clan.
- Serubonera- This is a song from Kigezi, Western Uganda located near the slopes of Mt. Rwenzori. Rukiga is the language spoken in Kigezi. The song speaks of the troubles faced by a teenage mother. Teenage pregnancies are rife and exacerbated by the Covid 19 pandemic.
- Muduku- a song from the warrior tribe of the Acholi from northern Uganda. This region was badly hit by the protracted Kony civil war. The image of a gun is used in this song as it predominated the lives of the people of the Acholi sub region. Nevertheless the song is a love song where a cheeky girl in love teases her beau about him having weak knees and shooting blanks.
- Kati- an equivalent of ring of roses play song from Busoga.
- Mugati gwa Butter- another love song from Busoga where the singer advises women on how they can prevent gender based violence by loving their men more. In the covid 19 pandemic there has been unprecedented level of violence against women and children.
Gabula IV- A celebration of the king of Busoga and the achievements of his reign.