RSS Feed (xml)

Powered By

Skin Design:
Free Blogger Skins

Powered by Blogger

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Original reggae comrade vows to help Uganda find its reggae roots


“Well, reggae music is created by Rasta people, and it carries earth force, people is a rhythm of working people, movement, a music of the masses, see?” – Bob Marley (1945-1981).

True music lovers find it absurd that many years after those words were first uttered by the man that is globally recognised as the father of reggae music, Uganda has not felt the sweet tremors of that genre like Jamaica or South Africa have. And it’s largely because of this that Edson Nimwesiga, known onstage as Jare, set out to help Uganda find its reggae identity.

The lean Kampala-based singer and composer recently released his debut album titled Bad Man’s State.

“I’m the original reggae comrade; I call my music truth and roots reggae,” he said with a Jamaican twang. “No nation can live without reggae music and it’s historically known that it’s only through reggae that we can strengthen our roots and cultures.”

Jare’s music comes with mellow choruses and a militant message that reflects a strong awareness of betrayal on earth, the suffering of people and the unfairness of life. In Take It or Leave It, he has a sermon to the different political camps: “Togetherness is still needed for the common vision for it is the common vision that made Romans make Rome look like it is now,” he sings.

Listening to Jare’s music, one almost feels the spirit of Peter Tosh, Bob Marley and Lucky Dube floating by. He actually tributes them in Back to Babylon, a song he was forced to do after Lucky Dube was murdered.

“The people who have really struggled to fight for the black man’s peace have been killed – Patrice Lumumba, Martin Luther, Lucky Dube…” he says. “In the song, I say worse shall come to worst if the Rastaman hates another Rastaman, worse shall come to worst if the Rastaman fights another Rastaman, worse shall come to worst if the Rastaman kills another Rastaman; who’s gonna stand to fight for our rights and freedom when the Rastaman is gone?”

So, does approaching his music in a Rastafarian fashion make Jare a Rastafarian?

“I really wouldn’t mind someone calling me a Rastafarian as long as he sees the true colours of a Rastaman in me,” he says humbly. “Rastafarianism is a conscious movement whose slogan is love, peace and maximum respect. And whoever brings all the three to light is a true Rastaman.”
Interestingly, Jare is not a man with rugged Rastafarian dreadlocks, and this he attributes to his beliefs as a Christian. Ugandan politicians will particularly not like listening to Which God is 4 yo Country. Jare sings: “They say for God and my country as if they have no eyes to see disadvantaged children sleeping on the streets, starving, burning, dying, whose parents still live but split because of adultery…they say abortion, lesbianism and homosexuality should be legalised; are we gonna be ruled again by mercenaries? Because procreation definitely is gonna be less or no more…and they say for God and my country but remember they shall be cursed if they used My name in their wickedness…”

Another song, We are One, draws from the violence that followed the last presidential elections in Kenya. It reminds the listener that we all are children of God - “big up people, stop the violence, we are brothers and sisters”.

A computer Engineer, Jare began singing in primary school, and often courted trouble for skipping school to listen to reggae music. But it was not until 2005 that the 32-year-old started composing his music.

“It’s not been easy, because in Uganda you have to first pull crowds before sponsors can step in, and what’s more, some artistes want to do music for business so they do one reggae song and switch to other genres of music; which is why reggae music has not taken root,” says Jare.

“The Holy Spirit connects my words to rhythms that’s gonna impact and gain me worldwide respect,” he says. “I’ll continue to do this music till I can breathe no more!”

--Sunday Monitor, August 31, 2008