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Saturday, September 27, 2008

Sebunjo, Sundiata in concert


The world over, folk music is often performed by professional musicians and Uganda’s Joel Sebunjo is indeed one of them.

Fresh from a successful tour of Finland, Sweden, Belgium, England, Hong Kong, China and Taiwan, Sebunjo and his band Sundiata will be live in concert at Alliance Française offices in Nakasero tonight.

The Alliance Française-sponsored show starts at 7:30 pm and entrance fee is Shs4,000 for non Alliance Française (AFK) members whilst AFK members will go in for free.

The musical credentials of Joel Sebunjo are quite admirable, having learnt his trade with notable folk music masters such as Alagi Mbye (Gambia), Albert Ssempeke (Uganda) and Toumani Diabate (Mali).

The 24-year old composes in a number of languages and incorporates a variety of rhythms and styles into his music. His music is defiantly diverse, musically and linguistically. He sings in the indigenous Ugandan language of Luganda and in Wolof of Senegal, Mandinka (Gambia/Guinea). His kind of music a little sophisticated for the ordinary Ugandan, the very reason he’s not very popular.

His support cast, Sundiata, is a trio of young Ugandan talent also dedicated to folk music. Sebunjo is arguably one of the leading world exports from Uganda and has played at numerous stages around the world alongside the likes of renowned world music names such as Salif Keita (Mali), Ba Cissoko (Guinea), Cheb Kaled (Algeria) and Niger’s Etran Finatawa.

A holder of a Bachelor’s degree in music from Makerere University, Sebunjo spends a great deal of time composing and arranging his material. He draws on styles from the different regions of West Africa, rather than solely on the native music of Uganda.

His repertoire is varied between own compositions and Ganda-Mande folk music standards that are self interpreted and given fresh harmonies, mixing the sounds of Africa with folk, jazz and blues from around the world.

A percussionist, Sebunjo also emphasises a tight acoustic sound, showcasing some unique traditional instruments from East and West AFrica.

--Daily Monitor, Friday September 19, 2008