BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.

Accessibility help
Text only
BBC Homepage
BBC Music
BBC Radio 3

Radio 3

Contact Us

Like this page?
Send it to a friend!

World On Your Street: The Global Music Challenge
Joseph Nsubuga
Send us your review:
Describe the atmosphere and live music at a local pub, restaurant, festival, church or temple, club night.... inspire other people to check it out!

Musician: Joseph Nsubuga

Location: London

Instruments: voice, guitar

Music: Ugandan / East Africa / Rumba / Kiganda

HOW I CAME TO THIS MUSIC          WHERE I PLAY          A FAVOURITE SONG Click here for Hande Domac's storyClick here for Mosi Conde's storyClick here for Rachel McLeod's story

Listen to Joseph and fellow-refugees perform with
Eliza Carthy at
Celebrating Sanctuary 2002
The Home of Black Websites

Listen  Listen (8'07) to Joseph Nsubuga and Impala perform 'Byaffe' with Joseph on vocals and lead guitar, Betty Nsubuga on vocals and Jayesh on percussion.

Listen  Listen (8'00) to 'Mandela', performed by Joseph Nsubuga and his band, Impala.

Listen  Listen (2'55) to Joseph talk about his music.

'It's my dream to expose this melodious East African music to the widest possible audience.'

How I came to this music:

My Grandfather was the only musical member of my family before I came along. He played the endingdi which is a traditional East African harp. Then my brother and I took up music, so inspired were we by the sounds of Franco, Tabu Ley from the Congo and our own Ugandan musicians like Fred Masagazi and Kawalya.

Joseph NsubugaDuring Idi Amin's reign, Ugandan music was at its height. There were bands for every professional group - military, prison, police and even breweries. Most schools had a live band and as teenagers, we'd go to afternoon school dances. All the bands would compete against each other to build up the best reputation in order to attract girls from the most famous boarding schools in Kimpala.

In 1978, while I was still a student, I started singing with the Suzanna Band at The Suzanna Night club, Kimpala's most prestigious club. They liked my singing so much that they paid me a salary. With all this money, I left the study behind me and joined the band full time. I sang in Luganda, Swahili and a little bit of Congolese as we included Franco and Tabu Ley covers in our set. I dug the club music so much that I just took the traditional music for granted because those Kigana songs were all around us at every occasion from christenings and weddings to birthdays and deaths. Yet that 70's sound was fully rooted in those traditional rhythms.


[next page]
// page 1 | 2 | 3

About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy