The Good, the Bad, and Projections for 2015 [opinion]

2014 was such a good year for entertainment. Many new hits were churned out, but most importantly it is the year that broke the bondage by Uganda’s music ‘historicals’ Bebe Cool, Jose Chameleone, Juliana Kanyomozi, Bobi Wine, Mowzey Radio and Weasel and Irene Namubiru.

New faces

This was the first year that artistes staged concerts without inviting any of those artistes and the shows still sold out. New artistes and former underdogs had outperformed the old guns that by June, it was hard tracing any of those big artistes’ songs on radio top charts, until later in the year when Chameleone dropped Wale Wale and Bebe released Love You Everyday.

With names such as A-Pass, Pallaso, Melody, Eddy Kenzo, King Saha, Maro, Sheebah Karungi, Ziza Bafana, Irene Ntale, Fille and Spice Diana, among others, the public didn’t have to depend on the usual culprits for hits. In fact, if some of these ‘big’ guys don’t wake up, 2015 may be even harder for them.

Songs such as Go Down Low (Pallaso and Sheebah), Gyobera (Irene Ntale), Twesana and Ice Cream (Sheebah), among others ruled the airwaves as Namubiru, Julianna and Bobi Wine in particular sank into creativity oblivion. Muliranwa (King Saha), Neera (Goodlyfe), Sitya Loss (Eddy Kenzo), Love You Everyday (Bebe Cool) and Wale Wale (Jose Chameleone), compete for song of 2014.

Film

Film could easily be termed as the sick man of Uganda’s entertainment industry and little of that changed in 2014. At the beginning of the year, with productions such as The Counsellor, Superstition, Kate and Kent In Production, it seemed like a very good one to anticipate.

It hasn’t been rosy, though film makers have continued to entertain empty auditoriums at movie premieres much as their productions have improved a great deal.

Uganda Film Festival came back for a second edition graced by Generations’ Rosie Motene and Nigerian veteran actress Patience Ozokwor. Only one Ugandan, Michael Wawuyo was nominated for the Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Movie Awards for his makeup skills on Felista’s Fable. We also saw some high profile movie premieres such as Luzira: Escape From Uganda and an all-star Beneath The Lies TV series.

For 2015, the film movement is expected to become ger, with big projects such as Queen of Katwe (starring Lupita Nyong’o) and Distant Grief’s Story set to start production in Uganda.

The woes of film away from the production have been well-documented cinema has suffered a great deal in 2014 with many even opting for other money-making options including hosting events in their halls.

While there has been an expansion in cinemas from just Cineplex this year, there are just not enough patrons to go around. Cineplex Garden City mall thus bowed out of the race and 2015 may be worse, even for the newcomers.

Fashion

The year 2014 has seen a great improvement on the fashion scene. More local fashion designers got recognition unlike in the past years where it was all about Sylvia Owori and Santa Anzo.

Names such as Renzioni, Kwesh, Shuba Wear, Martha Jabo, Czar Wear stepped up their game. There were a number of fashion events such as Lady Crane International Fashion Collection, the monthly fashion shows at Club Silk, but Mavuno Yetu and Gloria Wavamunno’s Kampala Fashion Week were by far the biggest.

The fashion year ended on a high with a successful edition of the Abryanz Fashion and Style awards.

Visual arts

This is possibly the one area of the arts that has seen vibrancy in previous years, but registered a very quiet 2014. Yes, the exhibitions continued, but we would be hard-pressed to recall any collections that left us gasping for more…

What stood out more, however, was artists’ increased interest in recycled art – call it dustbin art.

Marriage and ‘divorces’

Singers Geoffrey Lutaaya and Irene Namatovu’s wedding at the beginning of the year brought business to a standstill in Masaka. But just as everyone was still talking about the wedding, news came in that their band, Eagles Production had split acrimoniously, forming two bands: De Nu Eagles by Lutaaya and his wife and Golden band comprising the rest of the former Eagles.

Radio expert Joel Isabirye got married – again – and separated – again! – this year. The wedding was preceded by so much controversy and social media fights and when it actually happened, Isabirye and his wife Rebecca Jingo left no stone unturned, to silence their haters. Sad that they threw in the towel so fast…

CBS radio presenter Meddie Nsereko Ssebuliba also married, but it was former Sanyu FM presenter Seanice Kacungira who surprised everyone getting married to one of Africa’s finest actors, Jacob’s Cross’ Fabian Lojede.

Nudes the new billboards

Yes, it has been a year of nude pictures… from the top, we kicked off with Cindy, Brenda Nambi, Hellen Lukooma, Magla, Zari and her boyfriend Farouk Sempala, all took pictures of themselves in the nude, and shared them with the public.

The ‘winner’, however, was Desire Luzinda, whose leaked nude images literally changed the fortunes of her rather bad musical year she earned herself the nickname Nalumyanso and her inverted V sign went viral. No wonder the Kitone song is making rounds on both radio and TV. She has become so popular that now speculation is rife that she could have engineered the leaks for publicity.

Zari also chipped in, and many believe she leaked her own sex tape to promote her All White Party, which was in turn a success. Well, 2014 will be remembered as the year sex and nudity ruled the show business.

Miss Uganda

The pageant returned with an agricultural twist to it. Busoga’s Leah Kalanguka won the beauty contest, attracting international attention as the world looked out for the farmer-turned-beauty queen.

But that came with some bashing as well despite her being brainy and all with that reported first class degree in computer engineering, unkind Ugandans questioned her beauty credentials and sparked off another social media war.

Concert of the yearflop of the year

Besides Don Moen’s Kampala concerts and the Nile Gold Jazz Safari, there was nothing much to write home about international concerts. The Club Mega Fest happened but was not as well attended as it had been anticipated.

Freedom City on Entebbe road reaped from Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA)’s crack down on noisy shows after midnight, establishing itself as the best alternative given its location at Kampala’s border with Wakiso district. It successfully hosted Goodlyfe’s Neera, Gravity Omutujju, Haruna Mubiru and Da New Eagles concerts, among the others.

However, it was also a place of doom for international concerts after Davido and Chris Martin’s concerts turned out to be more of white chair magnets than people. Because of KCCA’s stringent rules on noise and the midnight deadline, many musicians had their firsts at the Kampala Serena hotel.

Desire Luzinda, Bebe Cool and Jose Chameleone all stormed the place once a preserve for aidback artistes such as Isaiah Katumwa and Maurice Kirya. Gone are the rowdy nights at Lugogo Cricket Oval and Kyadondo rugby grounds, in come the indoor fetes. We predict more artistes will go for Serena as a venue of choice and high price in 2015.

Bebe Cool has already booked Serena for his August 7 concert. Other concerts that impressed included Elly Wamala’s tribute concert at the Kampala Serena hotel and the best innovation of the year, the 50+ concert at UMA show grounds.

Theatre

This has definitely been a good year for theatre, with many productions out of the box such as KADS’ Much Ado About Nothing and Grease, Obsession’s surprise comeback with Goddess Of The Nile, Police Centenary stage production Now and then, plus a very successful debut of the Kampala International Theatre festival.

Even the veterans such as Bakayimbira Dramactors took aantage of the goodwill shown to theatre lately by patrons, and staged a successful $100-show as the year ended.

But it wasn’t all roses the war between artistes and the management at the Uganda National Cultural Center is still on as they (artistes) claim they have lost the creative space to wedding meetings, film and parties.

Social media trends

Talking of nude pictures making rounds on social media, the house girl video got everyone talking. It was the most shocking revelation of the year. How heartless can some people be? Anyway, we won’t invoke those memories. We know the tears that rolled.

The other topic that made rounds on the social media was that of DJs playing more Nigerian than Ugandan music. Bebe Cool and Jose Chameleone started the debate and it spread like wild fire that by the time it settled, there was a point driven home – good music got the airplay. Period.

Source : The Observer

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