By Bamuturaki Musinguzi
Published September 29, 2016
As the stage lights up with video graphics and sound, it reveals a bespectacled man clad in black Jeans trousers, under shirt, black leather jacket and sneakers leads an eight-member band.
“I say, Kampala, make some noise,” the man shouts and receives a thunderous welcome cheers from the floor hosting several young women holding placards that read: ‘Marry Me Maurice’, ‘I Love You’, and ‘Kirya for President’, among others.
“I am excited to see my fans again. Are you ready to party?” the man says.
As the fans respond in the affirmative, the man brings on music, doing the lead vocals and infecting the excited fans who dance away the night as they sing along.
Welcome to Kirya Live 2016 Show at Kampala Serena Hotel’s Victoria Hall where Uganda’s award-winning Afro-soul guitarist and crooner, Maurice Kirya, is serenading his fans with his Mwooyo (Luganda word for Soul), a blend of Afro-soul, hip-hop, gospel, R&B and traditional Ugandan rhythms.
He steps on stage at 8:58 PM on July 29, 2016. The fans of the song-writer and composer who sings both in Luganda and English, have waited three years to enjoy his live performance. That’s why the 90-minute wait for the concert to begin has not been a bother. And Kirya doesn’t disappoint as he serenades them with his old and new Mwooyo music.
Kirya plays material off all his three albums Misubbaawa (2009), The Book of Kirya (2013), Mwooyo (2015), and in-studio new material to the fans who had last watched him live on stage in 2013.
“I am excited to get my fans again,” he says again. “Are you ready to party?”
And so the party goes on late into the night, with Kirya mainly doing the lead vocals and dancing, playing a string of songs which includes: Don’t Wanna Fight, Beera Naabo, Njagala Ggwe, Angels Carried Me, Horses In The Sky, Misubbaawa, The Blue Dress Song, Wooye and Boda Boda.
Guitarist Myko Ouma joins him on Nkulinze, I Will Sing and Ugandan Girl.
The young guitarist Kenneth Mugabe plays a fusion of his two hit songs, Kibuno’omu and Naki as a guest artist during the interlude of the Kirya Live 2016 Show before Kirya returns with Die For You and Mulembe Gwa Kirya.
Off his next album, Maurice Kirya samples Love Me Now, Get Up Again, Pay The Paper and Young Blood through an a cappella performance.
Strumming his guitar as he plays Hold On, Kirya does not miss playing Maama We Made It, a tribute to his late mother, Sophie Baguma, who passed away in 2015.
Edwin Ruyonga , a rapper, joins him on Ghost.
As he signs out with Never Been Loved at 11:08 PM, Kirya’s play list has also included If My Lungs Don’t Fail Me, Binadamu, Nkooye, and Busaabala.
It is then time for the musician whose last live gig in Kampala was in 2013 to give an exclusive interview to ArtMatters.Info.
“It’s been a while since I held the Kirya Live Show, and with all the new material and high demand from the fans, it was inevitable, I was happy to do it,” he says.
Opining that the Ugandan live band music scene is on a steady growth path, he says,“It’s not like the time when I started out; it was harder then because so many people weren’t accustomed to it.”
On how much he has refined and promoted his Mwooyo music style Kirya notes, “My music genre is recognised worldwide and it’s nice to see many new upcoming Ugandan artistes and bands composing in a similar style, it makes me very happy.”
And how does he rate his performance during the Kirya Live 2016?
“I loved every moment; I loved the fans; I wouldn’t change a thing,” he responds.
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As to when his fans can expect his next album, Kirya says: “This very year. I will be dropping a lot of new material. They can also expect a song I shall release with my big brother, Vampino.”
Kirya became the first East African to win the prestigious 2010 Radio France International (RFI) Discoveries Music Award after entering his 2009 debut soulful album, Misubbaawa. He also won a career development grant and embarked on a year-long African tour.
At the eWorld Music Awards that took place on February 12, 2011 in Los Angeles (Carlifornia), USA, preceding the Grammys, Kirya won the Best Indie/Progressive and Best World Music awards. These awards showcased up-and-coming, unsigned musical talent, while recognising the decentralisation of music distribution.
Kirya’s other accolades include: KORA All-Africa Music Awards, Museke Music Awards (New York, USA), Kisima Music Awards (Kenya), and Pearl of Africa Music (PAM) awards (Uganda).
Kirya, who was born in 1984 into a musical family, grew up listening to Afrigo Band and Philly Bongoley Lutaaya of Uganda and Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson of the United States of America.