Saturday, March 18, 2006
and now a little something different
General Mega Dee is one of the most amazing artists we have around. Stop staring. I know. I never speak like this about anything local but... it's not everyday I'm grouchy. A secret, sometimes even I are impressed. And the more I listen to Mega Dee the more I have been impressed. This is not based on a glancing acquaintance with his oeuvre. This is from many late coffee fueled nights and morning hangover moments of illumination and Saturday afternoons in bed...okay, I was a bit distracted over there. But Mega Dee was there all these times. Mega Dee is one of those Ugandan singers who has truly been the soundtrack to many Ugandans' lives. Let me show you how.
This guy born as Amos Kigenyi 26th June 1976, orphaned by the time he was 14 with a military fascination because his late father was a career policeman is the guy responsible for one of the unofficial Makerere University anthems. The ones that have Makerere dons frowning disapprovingly and rowdy Wandegeya setting on fire students high on being young. Mega Dee doesn't claim to have originally written it. Okay I should say that again. Being a Northcorte government student exiled in Nsibirwa hall, Mega Dee was one of the more enthusiastic singers of the dirtier version at sports events, usually football matches that ended with both sides scampering for cover under the assault of flying beer bottles and stone missiles. The idea came from there. The song am talking about is of course Lwa lumu kubiri. Yeah that one. Close your mouth. General Mega Dee put that baby together in a studio broke as a mufarring student in one of the most celebrated Ugandan musical partnerships with Kira College Butiki, Jinja friend Menton Krono.
I was a kid lost and hanging out with backstabbing bastards meaner than any you'll ever meet in Kisenyi getting blind drunk before it was even before 4:00pm to stagger home to a sorrowful mother. It wasn't like that. It wasn't sad like that when it was happening. It was fun, it seemed like a grand lark majorly because of a small bar in whose rusty recorder was stuck a self rewinding General Mega Dee tape, his 1999 piece of brilliance. There's a sweet story Mega Dee tells when he's in the mood about an uncle who threw everything over, his education, his talents, his self respect to concentrate on a career of drinking and Brehan entertaining poker faced, feet dragging waitresses because as he explained to Mega Dee's dad exasperated everytime he had to open the gate for him after 3AM, "We'll all be choir singing boys in a heavenly orchestra soon enough and we won't have time for a beer, isn't that punishment enough?"
Yes, am talking about that song that probably first gave you a clue why your stern father became a sweet smiling Buddha when that Johnny Walker bottle was halfway gone, and approachable in the dark of the sitting room. Oh yes, "in heaven there's no beer"! I do a little jig as I write this. Only lately have I have found out that it's from his 1999 album Nzendeka. Holla!
After all these years General Mega Dee can still produce songs that make you play his music 'til your tape pops. Cliché alert! Mega Dee is one of those singers you have to see perform on stage before you die. The studio quality is what you get on stage. There are two greats on the 2005 Kalibu Afande offering, Ngawalaba and Wanchawa. It's just possible that I have been less than in depth. Lemme go pilfer this guy's entire discography!