Feature: Virtual concerts drive young talents in Uganda amid pandemic

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, September 25, 2021
Adjust font size:

KAMPALA, Sept. 25 (Xinhua) -- Two years on, physical musical performances are still not allowed in Uganda because the government sees them as super-spreaders of the coronavirus.

With no signal of reopening soon, youngsters are rediscovering their musical talent through virtual performances. When the government closed the entertainment industry in March last year, 29-year old Nicholas Muhanuzi thought his music world had come to an end.

He derived his livelihood from physical performances in different entertainment centers.

"I was mainly singing in churches and crusades organized by church leaders across the country. But when the pandemic broke out, all the churches remained closed and crusades were halted," Muhanuzi told Xinhua in a recent interview.

To move on with his music career, he has resorted to online shows and recording videos that he shares on social media. "I have recorded some songs that I uploaded on YouTube and online for my fans to watch frequently," Muhanuzi said.

His story is similar to Leyna Kagere who kicked off her music career at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country in March last year.

"I started singing last year when the country was hit by a pandemic and we were under lock. My team decided I can produce songs and perform mainly online for my fans throughout till the situation normalizes," Kagere said.

She said her performances on virtual concerts have since enabled her to get fans across the world.

"Now I have lots of followers on my social media accounts following my virtual concert performances. I believe by the time the country opens fully and allows the entertainment industry to reopen I will have more fans," Kagere said.

Smart Kakooza, another upcoming musician said online shows have helped them access airplay unlike during the physical or television shows where airplay is given to already established musicians.

Irene Namutebi, another young musician said while virtual concerts have availed them an opportunity to showcase their talent, they need government support to shoot music videos which she said are expensive.

"I put a lot of resources in video-shooting and even promoting my music online and media houses here. So I need funding from the government to help sustain it," Namutebi said.

She wants the government to set up a stimulus fund to help upcoming musicians during the pandemic.

Andrew Ssebagala, an art director at Uganda National Cultural Center (UNCC) said they have extended support to young comedians and artists who can no longer stage shows in the national theatre auditorium.

"As UNCC we decided to give a helping hand to upcoming artists and comedians, to shoot their videos and later stream them live on our social media pages," Ssebagala said.

"We believe this gives them mileage for their fans to watch them live despite being under lockdown," he said.

Ssebagala said the national theatre continues holding virtual concert shows as they keep their fans entertained throughout.

The government through its Operation Wealth Creation program funds the UG-Connect concert where over 20 artists perform to their fans online every Saturday. Musicians, disc jockeys, and comedians entertain guests who watch live-streamed feed in the comfort of their living rooms.

E-concerts have also been bolstered with weekly TV dance party shows on several TV stations. Some artists also hold sole digital concerts on social media and YouTube.

Fans are also adjusting to liking online and weekly television music shows.

"I do enjoy their music shows, the ambiance, lighting of stage and performance by especially upcoming musicians," Francis Outa told Xinhua in a recent interview.

Brenda Namuganga, another music fan said the online and television shows give her a feeling like she is attending a live concert. Enditem

Follow China.org.cn on Twitter and Facebook to join the conversation.
ChinaNews App Download
Print E-mail Bookmark and Share

Go to Forum >>0 Comment(s)

No comments.

Add your comments...

  • User Name Required
  • Your Comment
  • Enter the words you see:   
    Racist, abusive and off-topic comments may be removed by the moderator.
Send your storiesGet more from China.org.cnMobileRSSNewsletter