Don’t Write Maddox Off Yet!

Three names come up when the reggae music genre in Uganda is mentioned: Maddox Ssematimba, Bebe Cool and Henry Tigan.

Bebe Cool is the self-proclaimed king of reggae, Maddox is indeed the legendary king of reggae, while Henry Tigan was at one time the promising prince of the genre. For reasons the article won’t delve into today, both Tigan and Maddox fell off the cliff and we even forgot their sweet melodies.

But because the Bayimba International festival recognizes authentic talent regardless of the negative publicity, the two were lined up to close the prestigious celebration on Sunday night. This was a chance to reinvent themselves. According to Faisal Kiwewa, director Bayimba foundation, he chose to programme Tigan after listening to one of his songs during the sixth festival in 2013. He later added Maddox after a string of bad stories were done about him.

“He said he’s been frustrated by guys that give him bad contracts, but if there’s one, he would be available,” Kiwewa said about Maddox.

On Sunday, Tigan took to the stage first. For some reason, straight from his appearance, something was amiss. Maybe his performance was choreographed and produced by someone that hates him! Even the way his band and backup singers made it to the stage exhibited that exceptional lack of talent.

When they started performing, it was clear they had not rehearsed and had stage fright. Revellers, too bored, left Tigan and his stage to enjoy other servings at different festival platforms. After an agonizing sixty minutes of Tigan – and fears that the longer Tigan stayed on stage the higher Maddox was possibly getting backstage and could fail to perform – the Namagembe singer was finally announced.

Clad in a denim coat and a threaded hood, David Maddox Semanda Ssematimba took to the stage, armed with a guitar and backed by the all-reggae Blood Brothers band. From the top, Maddox’s vocals were spot on he coordinated well with the band and did not waste time on unsolicited speeches like many local artistes do.

Besides a few flaws like one of his backup singers flatting on a chorus, Maddox was the lord even patrons that had escaped to the silent disco, Santuri DJ stage, all left to come and watch the legend perform.

That’s actually when activity elsewhere halted – I guess till the next festival…

He went on giving hit after hit with Tukolagane, Nakatudde, Omuyimbi and Irene, among others. He has not lost any bit of his showmanship and though it is said he is still struggling with alcohol and other things, he still sounds awesome. One could think he was lip-syncing to a great-sounding CD, but he was live. He kept the crowd on its feet as he made fans wait for his all-time classic, Namagembe.

The moment the band started playing the song, National theatre parking lot went wild, with fans singing along, word for word. Maddox had not only registered a huge comeback, but he had also given Bayimba one of its most memorable ending. What a loved man hope he can get his off-stage act together.

Source : The Observer


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