Here’s Why The Slick Nature Of World Music Makes It “Local Music From Out There”


Many Ugandan music lovers, over the years, have marveled in silence what sort of music it is that so consummately embraces synchronizations of traditional art and that which is foreign moreover coming out with such sound so conspicuously original while at the same time fathomable and intuitive!

A song played in this genre is such close to your heart that you’ll immediately relate to it. Yet as it progresses, it introduces new musical “gymnastics” to itself and you’ll almost not be able to put your hands on it, as it were – for it is pristine and almost bizarre. To be honest, this is a sentiment that bamboozles almost everyone around the world. Hence, for abundance of caution, it was named world music.

The coinage was adopted as a classification for music that combines Western popular music styles with one of many genres of non-Western music that are also described as folk music or ethnic music. It is music that encompasses many different styles of music from all across the globe – it is a product where more than one culture fuse to create an all-inclusive exotic brand of music. World music therefore is neither exclusively traditional folk music nor is it an unadventurous stand-alone genre.

It may include jazz, soul, rhythm and blues and cutting edge pop music styles as well. Concisely, it can be described as “local music from out there”, or “someone else’s local music”. It is a very nebulous term with an increasing number of genres that fall under the umbrella of world music to capture musical trends of combined ethnic style and texture, including Western elements.

World music may incorporate distinctive non-Western scales, modes and/ or musical inflections, and often features distinctive traditional ethnic instruments, such as the adungu [Ugandan bow harp], the  drum [engoma], the tube fiddle, the xylophone, the guitar, the sitar, the saxophone, piano, horn, shakers, or the didgeridoo, among others.

Music from around the world exerts wide cross-cultural influence as styles naturally influence one another, and in recent years world music has also been marketed as a successful genre in itself. World music in Uganda has grown to include even the isolated forms of ethnic music from diverse geographical regions all over the country.

Prominent world music luminaries in Uganda include, Alex Mukulu, who over the years has been reckoned as the “god-father” of the rather complex genre. In his company, there was always Julie Ssessanga and Afrigo Band’s Moses Matovu, a saxophonist, who continues to deliver inspiration to the new generation of World Music adherents; such as Isaiah Katumwa, Maurice Kirya, Ganda Boys, Lillian Mbabazi, Susan Naava, Esther Nabasa, Kaweesi and Quela Band among others.

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