The sounds of silent night, o come all ye faithful, Little Drummer Boy, O Little Town of Bethlehem, Feliz Navidad and Joy to the World, among others, still sound fresh each year that passes, and get as much airplay on radio stations across the country, and through the streets of Kampala as the season sets in.
Christmas songs produced in the '70s and the '80s still rule the airwaves, decades later, partly because today's
melodies do not have the same sense of appeal.
The sounds of silent night, o
come all ye faithful, Little Drummer Boy, O Little Town of Bethlehem, Feliz Navidad
and Joy to the World, among others, still sound fresh each year that passes, and
get as much airplay on radio stations across the country, and through the
streets of Kampala as the season sets in.
These, only compete with Philly
Lutaaya’s Christmas Album, produced in 1986, with classics such as Merry
Christmas, Zuukuka, Tumusinze, Ssekukkulu, Gloria and Katujaguze. To date, his songs
remain central to Christmas celebrations in Uganda.
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But a section of radio stations
in Kampala says that tons of domestically-produced Christmas songs don’t tell good Christmas stories and do not come with similar charm
like the 40 plus-year-old sounds of Boney-M, or even Philly Lutaaya’s three-decade-old lyrics which were conceived and choreographed in an age of digital
Some of the artworks have been
condemned for failing to meet minimum broadcasting standards and as such, get less or even no airplay throughout the season.
Pastor Ronnie Mutebi, a music producer and Programme
Director of Radio Two (Akaboozi) says that many Ugandan Christmas productions do
not qualify for airplay due to quality issues,
lack of creativity, and spiritual clout.
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Mutebi says Uganda’s Music
Producers should rise to the occasion to produce quality works as they have
done with secular songs.
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Elvis Kalema Ntale, the Music
Producer of Radio One FM 90 says Ugandan songwriters and music composers are focusing
more on the demand for secular music that will probably bring in quick cash
than investing in legacy projects like Christmas album akin to Lutaaya’s
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He, however, attributes the
shortfalls in Uganda’s music industry to cultures and traditions which do not relate so much
with the genesis of the season.
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Gloria Nanfuka, the Programme
Director of 104.1 Power FM says many Ugandan Christmas Music productions have
been rejected due to the character of the composers.
Nanfuka says songwriters to get
more deliberate about Christmas music productions that will tell the Christmas story
a way that will plug the deepening valley that is denying the Ugandan audience
appealing Christmas Music for seasonal celebrations.
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Godfrey Kimuli Magonda, the Production Manager at Impact
Radio shares the opinion that there are not so many Christmas carols produced
in the country that fulfil airworthiness at their station. He says that the budding songwriters and
singers are failing to capitalize on the technological development to create
memorable scenes in the minds of the audience as done in the ’70s and ’80s.