19 April 2017

Uganda: 'Evergreen' Maddoxx Sematimba Is Back

David Ssemanda aka Maddoxx Sematimba is one of the few Ugandans whose music spells timelessness.

Without a popular new song in recent years, he has continued to grow his fan base, while maintaining the old ones he won over while he was still in Sweden. Some people will remember his 2001 sold-out concerts at Nile Hotel gardens and Nakivubo stadium.

But a lot has happened since. After 10 years in Sweden since 1991, he was deported, but left his family behind. This could have arguably left him frustrated, but his talent has not died out.

He has picked himself up - starting from small gigs to big stages like Bayimba festival, Blankets and Wine and Roast and Rhyme, among others. The long wait for his own show ended on Good Friday. It was well-attended at Imperial Royale hotel. People started arriving by 6pm, but action kicked off to a slow start by comedian MC Kapale, the host.

Singer Maro performed to a nonchalant audience, while Geo Steady got the attention with Owooma - his collabo with Rwandese songstresses Charly and Nina.

The event turned into a comedy show for close to two hours featuring Kapale, Madrat and Chicco. A few minutes to 10pm, UB5 band took to the stage. Before long, Maddox appeared. He was dressed in a white Timberland T-shirt, a patched jacket and distressed jeans. His dreadlocks were covered by a green, gold, red and black Rasta cap with a matching scarf.

He demanded for more sound from Fennon Entertainment and mumbled a quick "Mwebale kujja" (Thank you for coming).

Then the intoxicating, cooing ballads wrapped in bouncy roots of reggae music kicked off as he performed Dembe. Through Come Let's Rock, Wansonyi and Fed Up, one could tell his vocals are still intact.

He paid attention to every sound that came through the monitors - checking in with his all-male backup vocalists and the wind instruments section - giving revelers clear sound.

The whole band was on fire, and made the live performance sound like a pre-recorded and mastered audio CD. Songs like Irene, Omukwano and Nakatude got the audience on its feet. He also called upon artistes like Nubian Li, Bobi Wine and Rema Namakula to do a free style on Easy and his last song of the night - Namagembe.

The 12-song performance confirmed one thing: Maddoxx Sematimba is officially back.


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