By Dennis Asiimwe
The fact that we have the curfew or lockdown being lifted soon has folks somewhat giddy. Events are being announced with a rapidity that is almost dizzying.
Guvnor, the club that succeeded Ange Noir, hasn’t wasted any time announcing its plans to get back into the thick of things as the “night economy” makes a comeback.
Their announcement also suggested that they would feature the Afrigo Band as part of their line-up of activities, with the post on social media nearly going viral. So our memory lane this week decided to feature a band that is truly timeless, and their gorgeous classic, Siyina Anantwala.
The Afrigo Band has a big band style approach to it music. A loose definition of a big band style is essentially one that goes beyond your typical four-piece/five piece set up (drums, keys, guitar bass, solo) and includes percussion sets that are separate from the drums and a brass section, and throws in at least two guitar types (rhythm and solo). This is a loose definition, so keep your music dictionaries in your pockets.
It is the reason the Afrigo Band sounds so absurdly rich even on the simplest of melodies. Siyina Anantwala is one such melody.
The band has a great ear for melodies; they max out solos in this regard, so that if you simply hear an intro to an Afrigo Band song, you will KNOW it is the Afrigo Band playing the song, and you will recognise the song immediately. These are not musicians just mucking around with chords – these folks dabble in defined music.
Siyina Anantwala, like literally every other Afrigo Band song, is easily memorable because of this. The song itself begins with a drum roll, a keyboard solo, and then that trademark saxophone solo from Moses Matovu.
Speaking of Moses, he rolls into that opening verse like some form of silky syrup. It is easy to take things for granted, but let us acknowledge the sheer singing ability of this gentleman and band leader.
There’s a smooth timbre to his voice that is only magnified by his technique – his delivery is so controlled. I have done business with Moses before, and he does it the same way he sings, with nuance and control.
Another gimmick that is deliciously Afrigo is the dual voice harmonies – they just work, you know? The whole thing is wrapped up by that deceptively simple hook that is quietly hypnotic.
As we look forward to the restart of the night economy, it would be great to hear tunes like Siyina Anantwala live once again.