Ugandan artistes may not be there yet professionally, and things like the copyright law may still be a mirage, but at least these days we have artistes holding listeners' parties before they release albums.
A listeners' party is one where the artiste invites a select focus group to listen to the music and then later critique it so as to give the producer a chance to make adjustments. Our artistes, like their foreign counterparts, now take it further by also venturing into video launches as witnessed by Navio as he launched his One and Only at The Hub, then Viboyo launched his latest single Zina at Club Amnesia as Angela Katatumba did with So Close.
Last Thursday the evolution spread to the deejays as Uganda's gospel DJ, Peter Twongyeirwe Mugarura aka DJ Twonjex, spread his wings further with what he described as The Rebirth of DJ Twonjex. Twonjex, a son to former Makerere University chaplain, Reverend Canon Ben Mugarura, is not that much of a household name when you mention deejays because his niche is church.
But just like he defied the odds eight years ago, he was at it again last Thursday, showing his fans that he was ready to give them something different and was open to other gigs as well. Every business depends on how well you brand it and Twonjex got his point across by hosting his fans to a two-and-a-half-hour session at Sheraton hotel's Lions bar.
Although deejaying was stereotypically known for hippy and worldly music, with faith he pulled through and Twonjex says it's the same faith that made him believe that his Sheraton gig would work out. Lions bar wasn't full, but the turnup was decent. And Twonjex didn't disappoint. He lined up some great talent to back him, like Roy Kasika aka The Drum Machine, Martin Mutabingwa and David Mute on the bass guitar and Trevor Muhumuza on the keyboards.
As he mixed the beats, the band added the cherry on the cake. Awesome. Twonjex started off with a rendition of Michael Jackson's Billy Jean, then he followed it up with his signature acid jazz. Ruyonga pitched in with a remix of his Tutuuse single, while rapper Ky-netic performed his new single Hey.
New gospel girl on the block, MoRoots, gave the fans a bit of what she can do, before Twonjex performed Inside My Heart, Yoga, Could It Be Love, Take Me To The Salon and a host of other songs. Towards the climax, Twonjex's fans joined him on stage and were given a chance to show off their skill.
Now Twonjex's listeners' party is becoming a quarterly affair to increase his fan base. It was a great innovation, one mushrooming deejays in town could definitely copy.