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Philip Songa

Philip is a jazz and photography enthusiast who enjoys discovering new music. The two in combination? Pure heaven. He also enjoys travel and writing.

About Me

I got into jazz in the early nineties. Before then, I had no patience for “music without words”. How on earth did one listen to music like that and actually enjoy it?

But miracles do happen, and through the insistence of my older brother who played Kenny G (that name again!) almost ceaselessly, I started to appreciate “music without words”. Then I decided I liked the sound of the saxophone.

Around that time, the first two FM radio stations in Uganda opened and both of them featured jazz programmes. Since then, there has been some form of jazz program on radio on Uganda, although admittedly, there is very little airtime for jazz. “Jazz does not sell”, they say.

By 1995 I was comfortable enough to enjoy jazz on my own on the radio, and begun to appreciate more the traditional side of jazz. I discovered also around that time through The Jazz Affair, to date the best jazz program on air in Uganda, that jazz was multi faceted and could sound African, Latino and almost anything on earth.

To cut the story short, I was hooked. I soon started to collect jazz avidly, even though jazz generally is very hard to come by in Uganda. I also started to write. My first article in the Ugandan newspapers was a piece on Dave Koz, then later on Kenny G both in 1997 (Smooth jazz is mainly what goes in Uganda). Since then, I have written on a little more diverse subjects, at one time writing a local column called Jazz Notes for The Monitor newspaper in Uganda.

However, time allowing, I do still like to write about and continue to enjoy jazz in its various guises, and interacting with people from all over the World.

I now enjoy listening to a wide range of jazz in the UK and have been to live jazz and other music performances in Bristol, Newcastle, Birmingham, Bridlington, Brecon, Liverpool, London and Cheltenham as well as in my “adopted hometown”, Leeds.

Check out some of my photos on Flickr and my web portfolio.

Published Articles

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My Jazz Story

I love jazz because of its sense of freedom. I was first exposed to jazz by my eldest brother who incessantly played Kenny G! I met Dennis Rollins, Andy Parsons (BBC's Mock The Week) and Tshaka Mayanja. The best live music show I have ever attended was Billy Cobham & Asere at Musicport 2008. The first jazz record I bought was (don't kill me!) Dave Koz' Lucky Man. My advice to new listeners - listen with your heart, mind and soul, not just your ears. And definitely not to what others say about your choice in music.

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