There is something unique about Ugandan music—it has a conflicted identity. Perhaps, lack of distinctiveness could best explain why Ugandan music is not scaling to the levels of her counterparts in Nigeria, South Africa or Tanzania whose sounds are easily noticeable with their Afro-beat/High life, Kwaito and Bongo flavour respectively.
However, during his performance at the just-concluded Blankets and Wine, folklore artiste Giovanni Kremer Kiyingi told the crowd that people who keep arguing that Ugandan music doesn’t have an identity are not well-researched. “Our music is the xylophone, drums, tube fiddle and all our traditional instruments,” he said.
To shed more light on the identity of Ugandan music, the annual Pearl Rhythm Festival was created in 2012. Local artistes prove to the world that they can play both local and contemporary instruments to produce a unique sound. Originally, according to one of the founders, Suzan Kerunen, the festival was created to provide a stage for a Ugandan sound that was mostly unique to Uganda or Africa; a sound that you might hardly find on radio stations and concerts.