My favourite bar in Kampala is on Kampala road, and on the balcony, where I always insist on sitting when I’m there, at least twice a week, sometimes more, I can watch the Constitutional Square. The one which most people like to call City Square. I have seen more old friends crossing that road to get into taxis than Facebook has ever enabled me, had more temporary crushes there than I would like to acknowledge and though it is a simple bar open to all, I choose the company I go with there carefully because it is been a long time since a spot in Kampala became sacred to me. Almost four years since I could no longer go to that bar that looked out to the Railway station because it closed, in those Larkin-quoting days.
At Sax Pub on Kampala road, the waiter knows I like my Tonic with a lemon and I do not have to come with one in my trouser pocket like I sometimes have to in other places. The waiter does not ask me to order with cash, which actually is pay cash before you can get what you wish to drink. Best of all, he will not hover around distracting me, rudely reminding me that now I’m done with my drink or food, I should vacate my table. I have heard many dreaming afternoons at Sax Pub, sometimes on my own, often with company but not until this past Tuesday had I ever dared bring someone there I was not so sure of. I took a chance on this company and my head’s still spinning.
I’m almost certain that you have not heard Abakyala Bazira. Abakyala Bazira by Jamal. 2008 was not a great year for Ugandan music and the only highlight I remember was hearing the rhyming flowing prowess that is GNL Zamba. 2009 is going to be a fantastic year for Ugandan music. I have heard three young musicians on the cusp of capturing mainstream Capital FM Radio kind of attention and equally appeal to the exclusive clubbishness of Sanyu FM Radio sing and Jamal is my bet that he is going to the biggest of the three.
Do you remember the feeling you first heard when you heard for the very first time Brenda Fassie’s Mama, or Bobi Wine’s Taata wa bana yani or Lord Knows Ngoni’s Nasima Gwe? The thrill, the excitement, the throat gripping sweep of the emotion in the song, the unbelievable euphoria that you were alive and able to enjoy this? Abakyala Bazira knocked me the fuck off my seat like that!
Yeah, I know, you might have heard his Obawuwo that is getting quite some airplay and maybe Anavawa But you have not heard Jamal until you have listened to Abakyala Bazira. This non-casino goer has been made a betting man by Jamal!