20 December 2012

Uganda: Meet Young Nomad, the Next Music Icon

Musicians are known to bring a feeling of pride upon their families but this was not the case with Bosco Anziku a.k.a Young Nomad.

When the 25-year-old first showed prospects of becoming an artiste, his clan elders were not amused. They forbade him from pursuing such a "shameful career".

According to the Lugbara elders, artistes are abominable people who subscribe to Satanism and immoral lifestyles. But Young Nomad, then a teenager, stubbornly refused to heed their commands and continued performing with his band, Ghetto Boys.

"They [elders] believe artistes get rich and famous by sacrificing human beings. I was hence banished," soft-spoken Nomad painfully recalls.

As though the excommunication was not enough, his father, a teacher, stopped paying his school fees. Nomad's life crumbled.

"I had nowhere to turn to except my music," he says, explaining he left home and started hassling for survival. Later, through the help of his elder sister, Anziku completed his A-level at Bishop Cipriano Kihangire SS.

Nomad credits his education for the birth of his fast-growing style of music, which has steadily endeared him to Kampala audiences.

"I started intertwining poetry with different music genres and the product was a sort of music that connected with my heart," says the lanky dreadlocked singer.

But Nomad's solo (and rather prolific) career, which has seen him write over 60 songs, only took off a few months back when he relocated to the city. His new music was shunned by his Arua fans who prefer the older danceable Ghetto Boys' vibes.

Nomad music

The laid-back artiste's style of music, which he calls 'Nomad' defies category. It is a mixture of poetry, blues, soft rock and basically every other genre. The most defining feature is the heavy instrumentation, mainly a classic guitar. Most of it is unrecorded.

Nomad music has swiftly found a way into the hearts of affluent Kampala audiences. At a recent poetry reading session held at Alliance Francaise in Kampala, Young Nomad stole the show with his songs, Ego Eagle, Will I Ever, Time is Abused, Human Like You and Like a Bird.

"I draw inspiration from my life experiences and situations around me," says the artiste whose critical music once rubbed Arua authorities the wrong way, landing him a stint in jail.

He mainly performs in top bars, social events and at open mic sessions. He also markets his music online through such forums as soundcloud and sonicbids.


But city life has been harsh to Nomad. The artiste confesses he is financially struggling and currently has nowhere to stay. He is only housed by friends and good Samaritans. To make ends meet, Nomad has resorted to working on construction sites as a porter, earning a paltry Shs 8,000 a day. This, he says, can't even carter for his transport, let alone meals.

Nomad narrated how a freak accident on a construction site the night of our interview had nearly claimed his friend's life.

"I want to earn from my music, not from mixing sand and cement," he lamented, complaining that it is mainly foreign expatriates who appreciate his music.

Nomad has the potential to dislodge the likes of Maurice Kirya, Myko Ouma and Suzan Kerunen because his music speaks to the heart.

Future plans

For now, Nomad hopes to convince organizations to sponsor his music. He also runs an Arua-based youth and environment NGO called Green Artivism which he hopes to expand in the next few years.

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