Afrigo Band’s music came into our lives through our parents.
During their hey days, it was the band that made them scream Halleluiah, having performed in the turbulent times of Uganda , the band remains one of the few acts that have continued to perform even after the dark days.
With a repertoire of songs like Afrigo Batuuse 1, Semuwemba and Endongo Ewoma, the band creates a big part of Uganda’s musical and political soundtrack.
Formed in 1975, Afrigo Band was started by a group of eight musicians led by vocalist and alto saxophonist Moses Matovu.
According to Matovu, they started playing as Afrigo after leaving Crane Band. Much as the split was driven by Jeff Sewava, a saxophonist, he didn’t stay for long as he left Uganda for German where he now owns a bar that specializes in playing African music.
Afrigo, was coined from a motivational slogan Africa-Go musically, a motivation which Matovu says they felt they needed especially with a fact that they were getting in the market at the time much of the content that was consumed was from the west.
They first performed under the name on 1 November 1975 at Cape Town Villas, one of the trendy places in Kampala at the time.
Today, Matovu remains as the only surviving founding member with Charles Sekyanzi, Billy Mutebi, Tony Sengo, Dede Majoro and Godfrey Mwambala all dead.
In 2015, the band celebrated their 40 year anniversary of celebrating Ugandan music, Matovu being the original member did most of the first set songs with little help from the likes of Frank Mbalire, Rude Boy Devouh and of course the queen herself Joanita Kawalya.
In other toasts, the band was celebrating milestones becoming some of the first local acts to record digitally in the 1980 and of course becoming the first locally based acts to release a thematic compact disc album in 1994.
Matovu says that what has kept the band together for the years has been their commitment and discipline;
“As a band, we’ve had lots of challenges, losing members that are not easily replaceable but the dicipline and commitment has kept us together.”
While many of the band’s members are aging, Kawalya reveals that they are already grooming new blood to keep the Afrigo brand alive even for the next fifty years.
“We have younger people like Joe Tabula, Peter Bazanye (Rude Boy Devoh), Joe Tabula and Abby Katongole among others.”
Afrigo Band will take the Blanket and Wine for the second time this edition, many youngsters are already elated to see the band perform the anthems that made them dance during their childhood.