The Observer (Kampala)

27 November 2012

Uganda: Where Are Uganda's Older Gospel Artistes?

The annual Power FM PhatFest is on again, happening at Kyadondo rugby grounds on December 14. This year, rather than having international artistes, Power FM thought it wise to have our very own, right from the first gospel artistes to the current cohort, in honour of Uganda's 50 years of independence. Ever wondered about the people or groups that graced the gospel charts 15 or more years ago? This is the walk down memory lane.

Fiona Mukasa:

She is the daughter of the late Elly Wamala and founder of New Wave band. Her band was the first to venture into "hip" gospel music. Limit-X and Paul Serukenya were also members of this band before they split.

Some of Fiona's hits of all time are Mweyambise, Bisuule and Dance For The Lord. Married to Pastor Godfrey Mukasa, Fiona is based in the UK with three children and she is still making music for the Lord.

LIMIT-X:

This group started in 1989 with Dennis Sempebwa, Isaac Rucibigango and Paul Mutebi, who were youth ministers and worship leaders at the Miracle Centre church in Kampala.

The group gained even more popularity as co-hosts, with their pastor, Robert Kayanja, of a weekly show on Uganda Television in 1988 and soon became a household name.

In 1989, the young men moved to London, UK and changed their name to 'LIMIT X', which means "our God has no limits". In 1992, LIMIT X won the Club 291 contest, which was the British version of the New York Apollo Contest and in the 90s were a household name in gospel music with hits such as Malibongwe. Their first CD, Unashamed, made its way into Britain's Top ten recommended gospel albums charts.

Ken Serukenya and the Black sisters:

They were big in the early to mid-90s with hits like Akasiisi, Rejoice and Missing Rib which was a popular gospel love song. In 2002, they launched an album, Beyond Words at Watoto church, then Kampala Pentecostal Church.

Ken Serukenya later married one of the Black Sisters, Sarah Serukenya. Susan Nsibirwa, a member of the Black Sisters is currently heading marketing at Vision Group.

First Love:

According to their website www.planetfirstlove.com, this group of five was born in July 1993 as an offshoot of a schools' mission programme at Kampala Pentecostal church, now Watoto church. The current group members, Sharpe Ssewali, Nicholas Mayanja, Fred Walusimbi and James Brown Damba continue to minister through gospel songs.

Paul Kim, the leader of the group and producer, passed on last year in May. The group has twice toured East, Central and Southern Africa where they held successful concerts. First Love is attached to Liberty Christian Fellowship in London, under the leadership of Pastors Lincoln and Grace Sserwanga.

Calvary Cross choir:

Calvary Cross choir was founded by Pastor Simeon Kayiwa, together with his wife Celia in 1977. The then very popular choir, whose home is Namirembe Christian Fellowship along Balintuma road in Mengo, has recorded over 50 songs including Dawudi n'Abafirisuuti, Omusaalaba ku Kasozi and Baayuugumya Ekibuga, and has over 20 albums.

On the gospel scene were also choirs like the Golden Gate choir with Seventh Day Adventist roots, which dominated in the 1970s and 80s with songs like Ekkondere, Tulina Essanyu and Obutonzi, as well as the Escatos choir (Anglican) that is still active.

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