The definition of Kadongo Kamu is “single guitar” and it is the first type of music played in Uganda.
Though Africa has an ancient history with a music culture handed down through the generations, the music of Uganda is very much a story of the tumultuous 1980s. There was another CD in the 90s featuring a group of Ugandan musicians referred to as the supergroup. One of the Ugandan performers, Geoffrey Oryema, was involved in Peter Gabriel’s Real World Studios/Real World record label.
One of the most exciting developments is the blending of styles between the West and East Africa. America with its hip hop element, is ripe for influence from the rhythms of World Music from Africa.
The home of Kadongo Kamu is the Wandegeya area of Uganda and it is more popular with the older population. Some of the original artists are deceased but the symbol of this style of music is Bernard Kabanda.
Among the other premiere performers of Kadongo Kamu are Samite, Jose Chameleon, Bebe Cool, Radda Dee, Bobi Wine, Madoxx Ssematimba and Babaluku. Some of the younger artists are merging traditional Ugandan sounds with rap in the mother tongue.
An article on Kadongo Kamu would not be complete without a mention of the passing of a great African musician, Fred Hannington Masagazi Muwonge. Muwonge died in 2009 in hospital, he was considered the grandfather of Kadongo Kamu music.
He sang, played guitar and acted his music on stage in the 1960s and 70s. Perhaps most significant, he achieved success tying Kadongo Kamu to the western version of country music. Muwonge’s first hit was Atanawa Musolo which was released one year before Independence.
Masagazi Muwonge is survived by his wife, eight children and nine grandchildren, leaving a void in the hearts in all who were inspired by his groundbreaking music of Kadongo Kamu.