Rachael Magoola leads Afrigo Band during a performance

The iconic Afrigo Band, Uganda’s oldest surviving musical group has lost three members Frank Mbalire, Daniel Kaggwa Sseninde and Sammy Kasule who have made it clear to revelers … their new gang Ziwuna is going to take over.

In its four decades of existence, Afrigo Band which was coined from a motivational slogan, ‘Africa-Go musically’, has churned out 22 albums with over 200 songs and we are sad to see them spilt – so here are four reasons why the attractive trio left.

1.THE MONEY PROBLEM

Most times, the main reason why friends become foes is because of money related disputes.  Sammy Kasule says that before they left, the pay was dissatisfying. ‘We were never given a chance to air out our dissatisfaction when it came to pay. . I am 41 years old and I am not growing younger. I have aspirations too and I cannot continue to feel suffocated.”

2. LACK OF PLAYING TIME

Don Kanta (L) performing with the Afrigo band in 2011. Next to him is Abbey Katongole, Rud Boy Devoe and Herman Sewanyana
Don Kanta (L) performing with the Afrigo band in 2011. Next to him is Abbey Katongole, Rud Boy Devoe and Herman Sewanyana

The toughest reason for the trio’s departure to form another band is that they are only given a few minutes to perform on stage. Kasule and Mbalire say they have a lot of music they have done over time. The veteran musicians say they spend days practising songs and fine-tuning their instruments which they never perform thus the urge to create their own platform.

Moses Matovu, who is a composer, arranger, saxophonist, flutist and vocalist, is respected by the band members as a disciplinarian.
Moses Matovu, who is a composer, arranger, saxophonist, flutist and vocalist, is respected by the band members as a disciplinarian.

3.SIEZING THE MOMENT

The musicians make a case of lack of growth materially and can hardly compare themselves to new age artistes who have made more money in so short a time. Sseninde, for example, says the need to grow, musically, continues to bother them yet, because they are not the ones that call the shots, find themselves unable to fully express themselves.

4.PEOPLE LEAVE AND OTHERS DIE

This is not the first time important members are leaving Afrigo. Great deceased musicians such as such as Charles Sekyanzi, Billy Mutebi, Tony Sengo, Dede Majoro, Godfrey Mwambala and others have left Afrigo over the years.

Matovu says what has kept the band alive for decades is their commitment and discipline. “As a band, we’ve had lots of challenges, losing members that are not easily replaceable but the discipline and commitment has kept us together.”

It will definitely continue to churn out talented musicians by always taking on young blood for continuity.