Mesach Semakula on how radios are killing Ugandan music

Singer Mesach Semakula is worried that Ugandan music is in a steep nosedive and local radio stations are to blame.

Mesach Ssemakula

The Golden Band maestro is concerned over how profanities and adult language are rapidly permeating the music industry.

He says electronic media houses especially radio stations are primarily responsible for this negative trend.

Semakula, while appearing on CBS radio, also blamed the upcoming artists for chasing after hits and making quick money.

It is sad; our music is growing on the one hand but also being destroyed on the other,” he said.

“It is getting destroyed because people are too fixated on making hits, yet when we were coming up, our focus was on releasing a good song whether or not it becomes a hit. It was a question of, does it have a message, is it touching someone?

Without naming any names, Semakula contrasted Uganda’s modern music with the one that came out 10 to 20 years ago, which was heavily regulated by radio stations.

He gave an example of how his own songs were rejected by radios because they almost sounded vulgar.

We used to bring our music to the radio station, and if they picked even the slight semblance of a bad word or profanity they would drop the song,” he recounted.

“When I was doing ‘Tukwegomba bangi,’ the chorus had the line, “kino kitwale nti kunyamba”

The person on the radio told me, that word doesn't sound right, we are not going to put it on the radio, and I was forced to go back and change the lyrics to ‘Kino ‘kitwale nti kyama’”

Yet today, Semakula shudders at how profanity-laced songs are being welcomed with open arms on radios.

“Someone brings a song to the radio in the song they are talking about the body parts found on his children and his parents and they are all in the song, and all radios are giving it airplay and celebrating it. This is wrong!”

Back in the day, Semakula recalls a DJ who used to break singers’ CDs in front of them if the music was not good enough.

He says this practice needs to be revived.

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