Rema Versus Ntale – Is This the New Juliana, Iryn Music Rivalry?

For years now, the question of who of the divas Juliana Kanyomozi and Iryn Namubiru is better, has remained unsettled.

It is a matter that has been left to subjective opinions, based on tastes and preferences. Some say if you put Iryn and Juliana on the same stage for a live performance, Iryn would beat Juliana hands down. This school of thought says Iryn is a stage performer, with a versatile vocal range that allows her to do anything live on stage.

They, however, note that if you want someone to listen to in your living room or car, then that person is Juliana she has that charming voice that melts heart. Others say it is better to appreciate each of them as simply gorgeous – with little, if anything, to separate them.

Amid these debates, the last two years have seen the rise of two beautiful music divas: Irene Ntale and Rehema “Rema” Namakula.

And with them, a new healthy rivalry and competition is expected to spring up, however inaertent it could be. Yet that does not in any way diminish the question of who of the two, Ntale and Namakula, is truly the real deal?

So far, Ntale and Namakula have produced hits that have made them real household names. And coincidentally for both, the songs they did that got them their initial public acclaim, were done with the Gagamel boss Bebe Cool.

The Cease and Sekkle that catapulted Namakula into the limelight was done with Bebe Cool. And undoubtedly, the melodious sound of Ntale’s Love Letter with Bebe Cool, got people to notice her. Yet she had been around with Uneven band, doing beautiful songs such as Politics, that went unnoticed.

But since crossing pathways with Bebe Cool, Ntale and Namakula have never looked back. Instead, they are growing ger, with hit after hit. Namakula has since done the Kaliba song and many others her growing fame aided by her piercing beauty.

Ntale has also thrived. With her husky voice and expression, coupled with top songs like Stay With Me and Gyobera, the nation seems to be at her feet.Nonetheless, there has got to be one that edges out the other. Sylvester Kyagulanyi, a songwriter, producer and singer, is equally undecided on the two girls.

“Interestingly, I haven’t addressed my mind to evaluating these two singers,” he told The Observer.

“I just appreciate how good they both are musically and vocally. I feel comparisons are subjective and irrelevant.”

In addition, Kyagulanyi said that they are still new on the music scene and only time will tell how they evolve, position themselves and build their brands. He stressed that character and personality too will inevitably influence the public to make their pick.

That said, Sanyu FM’s James Onen alias Fat Boy has already noticed what sets each girl apart.

“I feel both Ntale and Namakula have their distinct pros,” he says. “Ntale has a more diverse range of music talent. She can sing Afro-pop, Afro-Caribbean, rock, jazz and RampB with ease as compared to Namakula.”

Yet, on the other hand, Fat Boy added that Namakula has a rich musical tone. He said Namakula’s voice is so good that it can make a poorly-done song sound really nice and powerful.

In essence, Ntale and Namakula are two emerging divas that the music industry here needs for the different strengths they have and can only supplement each other.

Just recently, in the late Elly Wamala music rendition by different musicians among which were Bobi Wine, Jose Chameleone, Mowzey Radio and Weasel, Ronald Mayinja and Mesach Ssemakula, it emerged that the young divas outmatched the established musicians.

However, Eddie Sendikaddiwa, an arts promoter and critic, analyses their public relations and says:

“Ntale is on a high now, yet Namakula is a bit on a downward spiral both musically and her public relations. The news coverage on Namakula is negative now because of issues in her personal life.”

Sendikaddiwa notes that Ntale has smartly mingled both the corporate and low-end market to appreciate her, hence, and enjoys more gigs today than Namakula. And the fact that she is one of the few female musicians that play the guitar has given her massive clout and appreciation.

“That is why you see even Chameleone trying to play the saxophone today. Being an instrumentalist is power,” says Sendikaddiwa.

But Jenkins Mukasa, another music promoter and critic, disagrees with Sendikaddiwa. He says Namakula is more popular and known, even though musically, Ntale is more accomplished.

In fact, he points out how the popularity that Namakula has garnered from singing Afro-pop, has also seen Ntale delve into the genre too. “Ntale is best in Afro-fusion like Suzan Kerunen – because that is where she is more gifted. But in Afro-pop, Namakula beats her on any day.”

Fat Boy, however, sums up Mukasa’s views as: “Ntale has had to go into Afro-pop, which is the common music genre in Uganda as a market strategy to broaden public awareness about her.”

It has, indeed, worked, as she has done well there too. But perhaps like Kyagulanyi said, rating Ntale and Namakula against each other is as irrelevant as it is unnecessary. Perhaps we should just celebrate their music, period.

Source : The Observer

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