By far the oldest band still in business in Uganda, Afrigo Band should be the benchmark of longevity, consistency and quality in the music industry. From the times of Crane Band, and the coining of the name “Afrigo” from Moses Matovu’s thought process of “Africa Go”, the talented countrymen have been giving us “Endongo Semadongo” from when we attained independence in the early 60’s.
With a barrage of albums to their name, “Abaana Ba Afrigo” released “Teri Mubi” an album with a touch of modern styles of music, but still true to their style that made a name for them as Legends. On a listen, you will find Teri Mubi a very intriguing album:
“Gira oyige” is a brilliant love song, that doesn’t base on cliches, but still sends the message loud and clear. The lyric “anaakukwata ko agenda kaganga”, is reminiscent of Mr. Matovu’s lines on “Jim Wange” which threaten suitors to avoid his lover. “Tojjanga” is an appreciation song. Has someone ever done something great for you, and you felt like they don’t even need to come to your funeral since they’ve literally given you the world? Well, that’s the feeling Afrigo seeks to talk about.
“Emiziro”, is a song about clans and totems in Buganda and “Olulimi Lwange” exalts the Luganda language. Afrigo has always been a pro-Buganda band, and praises the Kabaka and sings about the Pride of the Kingdom at every chance. The Bakisimba drums on this piece scream “Sewannyana”. The song gives you memories of his classic hit “Mulamu Wange”, from his days with Percussion Discussion Africa. Clever juxtaposition with mainstream band instruments makes it one of my best on the album.
“Omuze” scorns vile people, and how it’s hard for them to abandon their bad habits. Reminiscent of “Sekitulege”, an all time Afrigo Classic, this particular piece has a taste of South American salsa music, and must have a big contribution of the maestro Charmant Mushaga; due to the various tasty guitar licks.
Featuring the evergreen Jose Chameleone is “Teri Mubi”, which is the only collabo on the album. Afrigo aren’t a fan of collabos, but doing this particular one was a wise decision. The only other Afrigo collabo I can think of is “Nkwagala”, featuring Kahiri of Qwela Band, in which Moses Matovu did more of a sax contribution. Anyway the zouk-influenced Teri Mubi, which gives the album its name, praises diversity in the beauty of women, and that there’s no ugly woman, it’s just a matter of the beholder’s choice. Joseph and Moses, the two legends in their right, praise God’s generosity towards women, as he gave them unique features from each other: different complexions, shapes, sizes et al.
“Kitokota” tells of the happy city that Jinja is; the nightlife and love for music and sports. It is clearly the only song on which another Afrigo member’s voice is heard on the album. Racheal Magoola delivers her sharp Obangaina-esque Lusoga lyrics and Rudeboy Devo mentions other band member names, like Sewannyana and Joanitta Kawalya.
“Hamjambo” is pristine jazz. The main act is Mzee Matovu’s sax, speaking to you in only a language the soul understands. Only word in the song is the question “Hamjambo?”, a Swahili equivalent of the greeting “How are you?” It is repeated a couple of times as the song fades. The response is clearly obvious after such beautiful melodies.
That said, “Teri Mubi” will live on relevantly like all those old Afrigo Albums that we still dance exuberantly to till today, but I wasn’t so happy that we didn’t get to hear Joanitta Kawalya and other band members sing on the album. You can check it out on Tidal via the link below, but you need to first dial *157# and get affordable deals.