Kaz Kasozi relocates his “The 7 Project” to Jazzville Bugolobi this Tuesday May 13 after an excruciating experience at the music concept’s April 8 National Theatre debut. It was an excruciating night that one! The band was visibly going through an agonizing time. They could hardly hear themselves hence the constant requests for more audio on the stage floor monitors in-between songs. Not even Kasozi’s spirited vocal delivery and impromptu stage dance antics could mash fingers-on-a-chalkboard audio output.
Not that it was his fault. The National Theatre had booked four separate performances on his concert day leaving him with little time for that all-important pre-performance ritual, the “sound check”. That was enough to make the perfectionist Kasozi swear off performing at Kampala’s premier arts venue. Still there was a je ne sais quoi about the front man donning a Panama hat on stage. He does wear other [musical] hats; that of a consummate entertainer and a much sought-after ethno-pop/ world music producer. One of his seminal [and maybe underrated] works is Rachel Magoola’s Eisadha album on which the Ugandan diva delightfully departs from her bubblegum “Obangaina” sound to something deeper, mellow and delightfully acoustic. He sure is the vocal gymnast and a finger-on-guitar-fretboard to boot. He does tickle ivory keys quite sensually too. His April set had a whopping 21 songs; three sets each comprising seven songs. He flaunted his patriotic side on “I am Ugandan”, went sensual on “Cherry Lips”, dished up a cautionary tale on “Olubuto lwa Nalumansi” (Nalumansi’s unexplained pregnancy) and had us all getting our tongues twisted on “Eyalama”, a form of Itesot greeting.
The biggest beneficiaries in this musical labour of love that will have a seven-month run until October are the six musicians (The Blue Sugarcane Band) that shared the stage with the maestro. Timothy “Timpeti” Bulwa (trumpet), Brian Mulindwa (Trombone), Herbert Kiggundu (saxophone), Gerard Mbuya (drums), Ken Komagum (keyboards) and Ernest Otim (bass) comprise the handpicked instrumentalists that will complete the septet Kasozi aims to create with his “haute” musical concept. “The 7 Project” concept arose from a need to get the music to a Ugandan audience and for the band to develop a real sound than is definable,” Kasozi explains. “Most good bands get to be so by continuous performance on stage not by just practicing hard behind doors.” Running the shows around the number “7” goes beyond the number of musicians on stage. “The plan was to theme the shows on the different characters in the band. That didn’t quite work though. But I thought of philosophical and theological stuff that exalts the number seven and decided to theme the shows on different aspects humanity deems important around the number “7”. Tickets will go for UGX30K and the band takes to the stage at 8pm prompt.
Text: MOSES SERUGO
Pix: Kibuuka Photography