In the recent past, social media has been awash with mixed feelings and reactions towards Eddy Kenzo – when he re-did the late Philly Bongole Lutaaya’s classic “Born in Africa“.
With a huge section of music lovers trashing his version down the bin, the big question was – what really makes a cover song good? Today we look at some of the well done cover projects done by living Ugandan artistes but before, we make sense of what a cover song is!
As the record business grew, companies wanted to get their own versions of the latest popular song out as soon as possible, directed at different regions or demographics, to “cover” the marketplace—which seems to be researchers’ best guess at the origin of the term cover version.
In popular music, a cover version, cover song, remake, revival, or simply cover, is a new performance or recording by a musician other than the original performer or composer of the song.
Before one does the cover, there’s need to seek permission from rights owner who might not necessarily be the musician. Once a musical work has been published, anyone can record a cover version of the song by obtaining a mechanical license.
In no particular order We list some of the well done cover pieces below !! Enjoyyyyyyyy………
DIANA – JULIANA KANYOMOZI
Many people have redone Philly Bongole Lutaaya’s songs, however all covers of his songs, even with the benefit of more technology, many music analysts agree to the fact that Juliana Kanyomozi’s 2008 remake of “Diana” came close to Philly’s craft. In Diana, Juliana captures the essence of the original and also uses a story telling style, pure genius! A deeper look into the original song by Philly shows that, even with his music mastery, Diana was never a big song, not until Juliana placed her vocals to it years later. At the time of doing the Philly Lutaaya Memorial Album, Diana seemed a filler song. The wow Factor about Juliana’s remake is that it blew out to being one of the most (If not most played) songs of the year 2008. True to that, it won the then famous PAM award as song of the year with Juliana as Artiste of the Year.
EMPISAZO – IRYN NAMUBIRU
This was Philly Bongole Lutaaya’s first ever song in 1968. In “Empisa Zo” by Iryn Namubiru years later, She brings out the emotions & personifies the female character on that re-do quite ably! Her version was a real Rendition of Lutaaya’s timeless hit. She descended on it and did real justice onto it. While at it, she kept the original story by maintaining the lyrics, only adding her melodius vocals – a key factor in executing a cover well.
VIOLA – GOESTEADY
Originally sang by Elly Wamala in 1974, Singer Geosteady would 4 decades later obtain his major breakthrough by re-doing the same song. Geosteady executed the rendition perfectly well, thanks to his melodic vocals. To him, it was a good song with a bad experience after the late Wamala’s family dragged him to court for allegedly redoing the song without their permission. His version was produced by Isma Pro and video directed by JahLive Films.
ANI YALI AMANYI – GNL ZAMBA
At the peak of his career in 2009, HipHop star GNL Zamba chose to sample Elly Wamala’s “Ani Yali Amanyi”. He explained that his was decision aimed at Bridging the gap of old and young crowds in HipHop. “It brought success and introduced HipHop to more masses” GNL reminisces of that experience. In the song, GNL mantained the late’s chorus and only replaced the verses with his own hip hop style of flowing – this was well thought of because he left a touch of originality to that piece of art, something that got the song appreciated the more.
BISAANI – BRUNO K
Originally produced in 1999 as a title track for his Ebisaanyi album, Kabuye Sembogga later sat on the same track in a remix with Bruno K in 2017. Originally done in a loveras rock-hip hop style, Ebisaanyi endeared Semboga to many music fans. The song generated debate on whether he was a youthful musician or the mature band musician he actually was. What it did for Bruno was no difference because he nailed it, embedding his vocals and calm personal to allude to the feeling he got when a dear one deserted him, something the song is fully about. Bruno K’s remix was done by producer Eliarkhis and shot by Zyga Phix.
MPEETA – SHEEBAH & KING SAHA
Off her 2020 album “SAMALI” – sheebah teamed up with King Saha to bring back Ragga Dee’s 2003 single Empeta. The song tells a story of a man who appreciates his lover and decides to put a ring on it. Originally produced with a mixture of raggae, ragga, Kwaito and afrobeat – what Sheebah and Saha did was adding heavy danceable bits to suit today’s kind of style. They are also credited for striking a balance of a man & woman portraying the rightful picture of lovers that the song made sense of. The cover was produced by producer Diggy Baur and shot by KD on the Lens.
WALUMBE ZAAYA – GRAVITY OMUTUJJU
Originally released by the Late Prince Job Paulo Kafeero in 1994. 18 years later, the same song would launch Gravity Omutujju’s musical career. What Gravity did was to get the seriousness of Kafeero’s song and then treat it to a feel of his grave terror. He treated the dreaded phenomenon of death like another wasted stray criminal in the village, who needs a thorough beating so they can return to their senses. He does not only call death hopeless and stupid, he calls him/she/it “stupid of yesterday” (whatever that means!) and some other words that normal people cannot print. He sends a warning to death saying he will rally troops, including the ‘great’ Golola Moses, to come and beat him up. Gravity gave us a great remix to the late Paul Kafeero’s classic. It retains the gravity of what death means to us, while treating us to a ride of a good laugh along the way.
BORN IN AFRICA – BEBECOOL
In the early 2000’s, Bebecool Banton released his cover of Philly Bongole Lutaaya’s 1987 single “Born In Africa”. It was song number 8 off his Album “Never Trust No People”. With many of this song’s covers coming up today everyday that passes, Bebecool’s cover still stands out because he managed to sing the exact lyrical content in the same pronunciation as the original aswell as balancing its chord progression, an element have failed at. That aside, the song gained maximum popularity when Bebe performed it at the 90th Birthday celebration of Nelson Mandela in 2008. This was a big audience, the biggest Bebecool has ever performed at, having been chosen because of the same song.
KIKOMANDO – IRENE NTALE
Then at Swangz Avenue, songstress Irene Ntale took on the mantle to redo Bobiwine’s 2007 single Kikomando. Her husky vocals did well on the jam – adding s new taste to it. Many described her cover as one of those few redone projects that were better than the original. Produced by late producer Danz Kumapeesa, the cover by Irene Ntale was further pumped lyrically by Writer Dokta Brain who changed a few lines to suit the feminine nature of Ntale.
DIPO NAZIGALA – BOBI WINE
Bobiwine and the late Paulo Kafeero had a similarity that was different at the same time! Both were addicted – to different addictions, Alcohol was to Paulo Kafeero as Weed was to Bobi. In a bid to end his severe drinking, Kafeero released Dipo Nazigala to literally mean that he closed the Alcohol source. When Bobiwine chose to redo the song 2 years after Kafeero’s death in 2009, he was in a bid to quit doing weed, he did its cover owning it and naming it “Ghetto Nazigala“. A self proclaimed Ghetto president at the time, the song was received well in the audience that related the Ghetto with weed. Bobiwine used great timing to achieve much from the same song, at the time he was coming out of a strong illness whixh put him down with many claiming he was battling drug abuse effects, coming out to announce that he was done with the drugs songs in the same song was a big move.
OTHER NOTABLE PROJECTS……
Ekimuli Kyalooza by Coco Finger – Originally done by Fred Maiso, Ntongo by Mesarch Semakula – Originally done by Dan Mugula, Makanika by Irene Namubiru – Originally done by John Blaq, Lowooza Kunze by Rema, Leticia by Ronald mayinja, Bwewakolanga by Chameleone all by Elly Wamala among many others.