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Qwela rejuvenation takes shape, to be tested at Vintage show

Joe Kahirimbanyi Apuuli needs no introduction on the music scene.

The brains behind the formation of Qwela band is once again talking big; this time from a point of redemption. Qwela’s arrival on the scene in 2007 caused a stir in live band music through their ingenious creativity to play a variety of music from across the world.

Through their afro-fusion style with a world music perspective, Qwela brought out something new to the music scene. The instant success of the band saw them headline several events on the social calendar. They also performed across the region as their popularity soared.

Joe Kahirimbanyi

That success also raised the profiles of several band members to the extent that they started performing individually at different gigs. With time, however, that rise also came at a cost when the band couldn’t perform together due to personal engagements.

Qwela went into a slumber of sorts when some instrumentalists such as guitarist Michael Ouma and trumpeter Emma Dragu moved on and have since formed their own bands.

Perhaps the band wasn’t prepared for the success or it was simply down to egos. Nonetheless, Kahirimbanyi took a break to reorganise the band and plans to return Qwela to the big stage on July 28 during the CBA Vintage auto show.

“We’ve undergone rigorous preparations and Qwela is back to the big stage,” says Kahirimbanyi.

“We have quite some new faces and many old ones.”

Indeed, the addition of vocalists Masha and Sandra Ssuubi should provide the much-needed energy and balance to the band.

In Fidel Mambo, Qwela have landed a seasoned guitarist and jazz specialist who will be complemented by Sam Dibya on the bass. Meanwhile, Roy Kasika maintains the keyboard while versatile Jay Jay mans the percussions.

Qwela will also perform some of their new songs for the first time at the show such as Kabirinage and I do, which are fine ballads that locals can identify with.

They also have a different flavour from the usual ballads of the likes of Mesach Semakula. The Vintage show is just 10 days away and the anticipation from the new Qwela is running high.

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