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Monday, June 16, 2008

James Wood belts out tunes for Jesus


This was not the usual kind of rap music. It was not about sex, crime and such lyrics common with rap geniuses. James Woods who calls himself Jamez Woodz was launching his debut album last Sunday evening at Kampala Pentecostal Church [KPC].

By 4 p.m., the pews were mainly crammed with youths who had come to support the Briton, mostly seniour six vacationists.

After a series of curtain-rising performances from Kezia Mbabazi and Louis Kyaligonza, who two weeks ago won a gospel hip-hop singing search competition organized by Alpha One Records based in Ntinda, the lanky white rapper jumped onto the stage to tantalize the audience with his music.

Dressed in buggy track pants, sneakers and a red tee-shirt, he sung Set Free which is the hit title of the 14-track album. His legions of fans couldn’t help flirting with the chorus as his musical baritone rambled out the deeply didactic lines done in an old-school rap style reminiscent of former rapper Vanilla Ice.

However, the strong speakers distorted the performance with their burst-like intermittent sounds. The animated lights though were a good idea. They would change from moonlike illumination to waning candlelight as the concert blazed on.

Wood sung a number of songs with Ugandan artistes. He sung I’m Blessed, a song in which he features Ugandan sensation Michael Ross.

As the emcee Saint CA, a gospel artiste herself said, the show was about the “Jesus of Nazareth,” which is why it was free of charge.

The CD that comes with hits like Ryde for Jesus, Return to Me, which features former Project Fame Ugandan representative Yvonne Nabeta, and sound tracks like Save Me Lord, was on Sale outside for Shs12,000.

In Not a Game, Wood features Uganda’s coca-cola pop maestro, Cindarella Sanyu while Dear God and Outlaw are two songs the young artiste performed to make one feel the power of those lyrics that praise Christ.

“My music is about setting people free,” Wood said after the show. He hinted at many people bound by habits like sex, those torn apart by poverty, sickness, death and wars, saying: “It’s not this gospel music that sets such people free; it’s the message in it.”

The music was produced by Moses Sabiiti of Vocal Justice Studios.

--Daily Monitor, Saturday August 7, 2004, page 22