By Dennis Asiimwe
Afrigo Band, which has been defined by consistency, won the lottery when they discovered Joanita Kawalya.
While Afrigo’s vocalists were often subtle in their execution of their vocals, Joanita brought an unmistakable sass to their music, something that refreshed their repertoire and helped them deliver songs like Mpa Eddembe and Jim. This slight change in their vocal front men/women brought them new legions of fans and added to the band’s longevity while helping them add songs with a different bite to their material.
Mpa Eddembe was still vintage Afrigo, with the silky harmonies, the male vocals that sound like they are delivered with silk and the heavenly full band experience, that meant their songs lasted nine to10 minutes and were favourites to which it felt like you were dancing forever.
But what really stands out on songs like Mpa Eddembe is the sass and energy that Joanita came packing, something that turned these songs into the timeless classics that they were.
I have mentioned that an artiste’s charisma is about as vital to how their material sells as the material itself, and this is something that was equally true of Ms. Kawalya.
You feel the playful defiance that is who she is, in the lyrics of Mpa Eddembe. And she delivers the same, joyful, vocal performance, each and every time, with metronome-like efficiency. I think at an unconscious level, that is the one thing we all love about the band – we could rely on them to always be Afrigo.