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Tshaka Mayanja: Chasing His Jazz Dream

By Published: October 29, 2008

AAJ: What has the local [Ugandan] response to your music been?

TM: The common response has always been, "Is this Ugandan? No way! This stuff was done in Europe." In Uganda, this is a high compliment. The CD sales and requests have been tremendous, and the reviews too.

AAJ: Do you think you will encourage more people on the local scene to follow their hearts?

TM: I really do not want to place my self as a role model. I worked hard, read hard about the history of music (I still do), contacted and spoke to lots of people I admire. This is the only advice I can ever give.

AAJ: Have your projects so far met with commercial success? What factors have driven this?

TM: You are having a laugh, aren't you? Commercial success doing this kind of music in Uganda, let alone anywhere else in the world, is still a dream. However, I have been lucky and I am thankful, that Uganda Breweries Ltd., through its Tusker Malt Lager brand, has supported all my four recent album projects. Ange Noir [Discotheque] has also been ever-present since my very first project in 1993. This has helped supplement whatever I had to complete these projects. These projects are very expensive, but I refuse to compromise on quality.

AAJ: Where do you see yourself going next, musically?

TM: Only The Most High—Ever Living, Ever Sure—knows my paths and what the future holds. I am continuing to learn more about jazz and funk as I really want to become a very good bassist in these genres.

align=center>Tshaka Mayanja / Angela Kalule / K'Angie Mtume Tshaka Mayanja with Angela Kalule (aka K'Angie Mtume)

I am also a promoter in my other life; my recent project being the final UB40 concert, which was held in Uganda in February 2008. I did that project with MTN Uganda. I want to continue promoting huge concerts, by securing artists and doing production for huge concerts.

This year [2008], I also want to start an East African Jazz Festival, featuring the region's jazz talent. But, above all, I want to become a better musician and producer.

Selected Discography

BlackRoots UNLIMITED, The Enfunkclopedia of Jazz (Blackroots Muzik, 2008)
BlackRoots UNLIMITED, The Pragmo'tive Is "ii" Chill Out (Blackroots Muzik, 2007)
BlackRoots UNLIMITED, REGGAEOLOGY - Chapter 1: Bass After Dark (Blackroots Muzik, 2006)
BlackRoots UNLIMITED, Dark Chocolate (Blackroots Muzik, 2005)

Photo Credit
Courtesy of Tshaka Mayanja and BlackRoots UNLIMITED

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