The Observer (Kampala)

11 December 2012

Uganda: Fare Thee Well, Don Canta

This has been a black year for the entertainment community. It has claimed lives of popular artistes that will be missed because of their contribution to the industry.

Livingstone Ibanda aka Don Canta is the latest on the list that already has Fred Maiso, Sarah Nampijja [Sera], Mr X and Ephraim Kiyingi aka Kadoma, among others.

One of Afrigo band's longest-serving members, Don Canta passed on over the weekend. His fans used social media platforms to express their shock and also honour the music star for a life well lived.

Posts containing condolence messages to his family and friends and others eulogizing him for his great talent and humour were still flowing in by press time. Don Canta died of pneumonia at Mulago hospital on Saturday morning.

Who is Don Canta?

'The Don', as he was known amongst his friends, was born in Iganga district and was the eldest of four children - two boys and two girls. Music came early in his life. At the tender age of eight, he was already performing in school and church choirs.

He always enjoyed putting up shows for his family and training the children from around the neighbourhood how to sing. In his high school, he formed the only music, dance and drama club.

His ambition for a career in engineering was cut short when he dropped out of school just before doing A-level exams. He had to earn a living from music - by then he was the breadwinner for his family following the tragic death of his father, an engineer.

Don has been one of the most talented and respected live band music performers in Uganda and East Africa at large. He has been a member of Afrigo band, the most successful band in the region. Even with this success, Don Canta was a modest and simple man.

Don was gifted with a rare ability to change his voice from one tone to another, able to cover up for different vocals in the same song. He equally had the ability to sing in several languages such as Luganda, Lusoga, Kiswahili, Bongo, Rutooro, English, French, and Lingala among others.

He had a dream of becoming a celebrated name worldwide and dreamt of re-recording the famous song - We are the world, covering all voices alone. Earlier in his music career, he performed in Jazz and Blues band, set up by some expatriates in Uganda.

Later, he joined other bands where he met two of his idols Koffi Olomide and Lucky Dube. He settled with Afrigo band, performed, left a mark and a big gap that will be hard to fill.

Additional information from www.hipipo.com

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