Dr Olugander, one of Gambia's finest Reggae Ambassadors, has just recently returned home from his European tour and told Foroyaa's Art and Music that it took him to Austria, Vienna, Germany, Finland, France etc. The Reggae Star said he was also busy with the recordings of different compilations at different European countries.
When asked to explain more about his European tour, Dr Olugander told Foroyaa Art and Music that the Gambian community in Austria often invites him in the month February to perform in the celebration of Gambia's Independence. He said it was after this trip that he decided to stay in Europe for sometime in order to undertake and conclude some of his music projects before he returns home.
He described his performances in Europe as very successful and well attended not only by the Gambian community but other music lovers as well. He said it is also a tradition for him to organize a 'Welcome Back Party' for his fans every time he returns from this European tour. He added that this is by way of expressing his gratitude to his fans whose support, he said, have made him to be what he is today.
This year's 'Welcome Back Party' was held last weekend, Friday -4th January 2013, and was also well attended by his fans and other music lovers. Many other Gambian artists also graced the occasion and Dr Olugander told journalists that the proceeds derived from the show will be donated to the Gambia Organisation of the Visually Impaired (GOVI) and its School for the Visually Impaired.
Our reporter Mr Saikou Jabbi Suwareh attended the show and below is a detailed report filed by him.
Thousands of spectators on Friday gathered at the Serrekunda East Mini Stadium in a ceremonial welcome of the Gambia's reggae king Dr Olugander as he arrived recently from an international music tour in Europe.
The show was well attended by all ages and described by many as the biggest music gathering since 2013. With the objective of generating funds to provide financial help to the GOVI School for the Visually Impaired, the story of the show, according to Junior Pieces, started when he invited Dr Olugander to the blind school where he (Junior Pieces) is teaching. Olugander then felt so emotional with the plight of the students and decided to create an initiative that will boost their morals.
The night was garnished by Gambia's top disk jockeys and the sterling performances of a host of local and international artists including Magnificent Joe, Mighty Joe, Philanthropist, Jah Turban, Melody B, Heart Breaker, King Pata, Junior Gander, Jah Lightening, Junior and Don, Jalex, Jolofman, Balla Ranks amongst others.
The show also saw the performances of the Senegalese star, Fafadi who had not appeared on stage for a couple of months now due to the preparation of his most anticipated album to drop out.
Speaking to Foroyaa Art and Music on the night, the man behind the scene, Dr Olugander, expressed his satisfaction with the number of fans that turned out to the show. He noted that he felt blessed to see the response of the fans because that alone, he went on, is a blessing in abundance. "I lead an international foundation called Ganders Production Foundation with the registration number 493. 2010, we donated to the disaster flood victims, we rehabilitated the school toilets in Wassu Upper Basic School and Wolipa (many) things we do to uplift the community because this is not my first time", he said.
He noted that they are born and raised in the ghetto where one shares a loaf of bread among one's friends. This felling of sharing, according to him, is what the program is centered on because Ganders Production is here for the people.
Olugander finally thanked all the artists, the proud sponsors and the fans for their contributions and moral support.
This reporter also sounded the impression of some of the artists and DJs present about the show and below are their remarks:
I'm very happy to contribute to the show through my vibes which is aimed at generating founds to donate to the disabled and it is our duty as artists to come and contribute towards national development. I'm really motivated by the initiative and that is why I'm here. Definitely, it is my duty to take part in any national development because one hand washes another. I'm very grateful for the invitation and it is very important. Thanks to Olugander. He really motivated me, you know.
The show is really good. I'm really happy today. It is really great, helping the visually impaired people because they can't see and they are not like us. Doing a fund raising show for the blind school really motivated me and that's why I'm here. Olugander is a brother to me, you know. We communicated any where he is in the world. A big thanks to the fans for coming here today.
I feel very glad. It's like Olugander is a brother to me. It's a collective responsibility to join hands and give support to the visually impaired because we have to love each other if we want to succeed. We are all brothers and sisters from the same blood and the same family, so we have to help one another. Let the fans expect my album soon. It is called "The Article of Evidence".
I feel great to be part of the show tonight. Gambian music is really growing. We just need to sing more conscious sounds and learn more instruments so that we can have more bands. Thanks to Olugander for organizing this show.
It is wonderful and blessing coming here today because Olugander is a proper artist and I really appreciate his initiative. This is what we want and how we should do things. Uplifting the poor and the needy is the mission anyway.
It is very nice; this show will be able to help the artists to move to another level. You know if you are singing and people are responding to the music it is a nice thing. I'm impressed about the initiative. Anything that is geared towards national development I will contribute.
It's a blessing and honour to help the visually impaired people. Big up to father Olugander. I haven't come to the Gambia for about 18 years so is blessings to come and perform in big shows like this. Olugander is a mentor to me and I'm very glad to come and answer to his call.