She spent last year playing a supporting role and curtain-raising for different jazz and world music concerts.
But it was just a matter of time for her to find a place to call home. Sandra Nankoma aka Sandy Soul has started weekly shows –every Thursday at Jazzville in Bugolobi, where you get chance to watch her perform for a solid two hours, feeding on her neo-soul and funk jazz.
Last Thursday, we were in the house to watch the young singer take centre stage as the lead vocalist for a band that has talented instrumentalists such as Pragmo (on the piano), Shaba (on the drums), Mark (on the soprano saxophone) and Chris Weighers (on the double bass). I must confess that I have not met anyone else in Uganda that plays the double bass so well like this gentleman.
Plus, the proprietor of Jazzville, Chris Ireland, had earlier revealed that they were unveiling their grand piano, which Pragmo would ‘terrorise’.
That made me anxiously waiting for the show. The show was slated to start at 8pm, but for some reasons, we had to wait for thirty more minutes.
As usual, Sandy Soul was amazing. And I don’t know whether it is because of her great vocals or choice of songs that do the magic. The moment she opened her mouth to the first note of Asa’s Jailer, it was clear this was going to be a good night.
With Mark doing a flawless job on the saxophone and Pragmo’s magic on the grand piano, Sandy Soul manipulated sounds to give each song an authentic jazz feel. The fundamental sound of Weighers’ double bass can be ignored by many; some may argue that it’s insignificant or even not heard. However, it was the ingredient that added even more mastery to the menu; it was slow but strong and soothing.
Also played was the amazing Pata Pata, a tribute to the queen of African jazz, Miriam Makeba. It was delivered in a structural sense and completely bonded with Sandy Soul voice and the instruments accompanying her.
The second half of the show too was as memorable, with covers such as Bill Withers’ Ain’t No Sunshine and Chaka Khan’s Ain’t Nobody. There were constant demands by the audience for James Brown’s I Feel Good, though for a night dedicated to authentic jazz, the blues would have been contaminating.
The show was concluded with arrays of solo notes by Mark on the trumpet. His sound comes with an aura of innocence that makes each key even more believable. Once in a while, Pragmo, Weighers and Shaba could come in to give it a sensual and sleepy feel – a clear message for us all to go home.