When Isaac Nabwana, a Ugandan low-budget filmmaker decided to try out his skills in music production, the results were amazing. In the past, he had entertained the thought of producing a music video, but never got around to doing that. He reckons that his busy schedule as a filmmaker took much of his time and energies. But, what he did not know is that a rudimentary music video he would later produce in 2016 would be one of his biggest success stories going by its reception online.
“I had been thinking about producing a song about domestic violence. When I turned the idea into action, the song and the setting of the video were, to me, perfect. I knew it was a good song but never expected people to understand and love it that way,” he says.
The music video he produced is by Uganda’s WakaStarz Kids’ Band, which happened to be his most inspiring element last year. The WakaStarz Kids Band is part of his Wakaliwood movie production hub. It consists of children known locally for acting in Ugandan movies produced by Ramon Film Productions and Wakaliwood, which he founded years ago.
He was part of the production process and was, in fact, planning to improve on the song (by producing what he says would have been a more polished version) but after the reception online with views on Facebook now at over 7 million views, he stopped at that. His daughter is the lead singer.
The interesting bit is that the kids had no prior singing experience. They had never sung before, but he says their song ‘Daddy and Mummy’ went on to do so well on social media, resonating very well with audiences across many parts of Africa especially in Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Mozambique and in their home country, Uganda.
In the song, the kids are pleading with their parents to stop their constant fighting. The kids are portrayed as coming from very poor backgrounds. They blame their parents for constant fighting, for mistreating them and such behaviour is what has driven them into the streets.
“What amused me is that when the Nigerians saw it, they started owning it as if the children are Nigerians. But the children are singing in Luganda (a local dialect in Uganda) but the chorus is in English.”
He feels that such authentic, original but simple African compositions can have such a great appeal and impact audiences anywhere in the world.
The song’s massive appeal has made him more recognised in his country Uganda way more than the movies he has produced have done, he believes. On the flipside, he is known more for his movies and recognised international more than in his home country, Uganda, but the song has changed all that.
“I have gained more recognition internationally than locally because of my movies. But, when this song came out, I am now equally well recognised at home. We made this song as joke. In fact, I was making a demo video, which became a big hit,” he says.
The instruments are also rudimentary. The drums are made of sauce pans and basins. A cow’s horn is used as the trumpet.
“Everything that is at home is talking through music to everyone; to the parents asking why are acting so badly. These saucepans are seeing the parents fighting. Sometimes, the fighting parents throw the saucepans at each other. That is the message the instruments bring out. But, I don’t know if those people who loved the song understood the message,” he admits.
Video and photos courtesy of WakaStarz.