On seeing a Ugandan musician on stage with a pot-like gadget for the first time, you might wonder what they are going to do. If you have not come across any music instrument from West Africa, then you’ll know you are completely lost. But there is one young man who has defied the odds by trying to fit into the West African music style and culture. Meet Joel Sebunjo a Ugandan musician whose music is not very popular with the locals because of its style but commands big respect oversees and among the diplomats and a few notable corporate individuals in Uganda. He plays world music which is not a favorite for many Ugandans but a choice for a few. Over the years since 2007 he has built his audience by performing at unique and rare events like the Bayimba Festival of the Arts Kampala that takes place annually.
Joel Sebunjo has won some accolades and has 3 albums to his name. These include; I speak luganda, the Heart of a Griot, and Ganda Mande Crossroads. His popularity has grown in East Africa from the kind of music he performs and the unique instrument he uses. Instead of the guitar, he plays a number of instruments mainly including the Kora which has 21 strings, from West Africa. He has opted for the electric Kora which he says gives more and better sound than the traditional one. Joel has performed at several music events worldwide with the likes of Salif Keita, Miriam Makeba, Didier Awadi, Yossou N’dour, and Oliver Mtukudzi.
Joel fuses his luganda (local dialect) into the West African style that makes it unique. World Music in Uganda in the past has and is still not that popular to Ugandans save for a handful and diplomats but Joel has managed to pull a crowd due to his consistency it is not popular