About this Recording
NXW76108-2 - UGANDA - Milégé: Afwoyo
English 

AFWOYO

 

We derive our name Milégé from the ankle rattle, a bell worn round the ankle to create rhythmic sounds that compliment dance performances. The rattle exists across the entire continent of Africa in different forms and in other parts of the world. Milégé is a symbol of unity, celebration and heritage.

This album is very special to us, this will be our first album after nine years of the band’s existence amidst countless hurdles. It is for this reason that we chose the album name Afwoyo which means thank you in Thuphadola, a luo dialect from the Japhadola tribe of Eastern Uganda.

We are thankful for the love and support from all those who have believed in our sound and have waited patiently for this authentic piece of work. We hope that this music will bring healing, hope and inspiration to the world!

Milégé

 

1. Akaburwana (lyrics in Runyoro)
Akaburwana is sung in Runyoro, the language of the oil rich region of Bunyoro, famous for its brave king Kabalega. In 1894 the British launched several attacks to capture the kingdom of Bunyoro in an attempt to place it under British rule, but these attacks were futile because Bunyoro’s King Omukama Kabalega was a fierce warrior. In 1899 the British joined forces with other countries and the Buganda, the largest ethnic group in Uganda, to defeat Kabalega. The King was killed in battle, leading to a spell of darkness over his kingdom. Akaburwana means ‘he has fought’ and the song is a tribute to Omukama Chwa II Kabalega.

2. Kankutwale (lyrics in Luganda)
Kankutwale highlights a point in conversation between the Creator and His Creation where God urges the creation to drink from living streams of water.

3. Afwoyo (lyrics in Thupadhola)
Afwoyo means ‘thank you’ in the language of the Luo tribe of eastern Uganda. The song talks about counting one’s blessings even during hard times. Sometimes negative experiences in life can blur our view of some of the positive things that make life worth living. Afwoyo is a song of gratitude.

4. Latin kok pi ngo? (lyrics in Acholi)
The song represents our version or our understanding of the Acholi sound. Acholi music is usually fast and energetic, possessing some of the most exciting dances from Uganda, such as the Bwola, Larakaraka and Ding Ding.

5. Kuza engo (lyrics in Lumasaba)
We went to boarding school in Uganda in the late 1990s. We had visitation days twice every term (each term was about four months long) when parents came to visit their children. Everyone looked forward to these days. The visitation days were also a showcase of success amongst families as the latest cars, clothes and gadgets where flashed around. Every student stood at the gate anticipating the arrival of their family. However when this one girl saw her mother walk up the dusty road full of sweat, carrying a heavy bag of food neither driving a posh car nor wearing nice clothes as did the other parents, she ran away, she felt that her mother was an embarrassment to her.

Her mother worked so hard and invested all the proceeds from her small business into her daughter’s education but social status was more important to the girl than her mother, who had faced a lot of pressure as a teen mother. The pregnancy had cost her education and reputation. At that moment she forgets that her mother raised her only daughter single-handedly as her father was unable to work because he suffered a stroke. The meaning behind the song is to always be proud of the people who make an effort to build us however embarrassing they may seem. We should never despise home, we should be appreciative and considerate and we should focus on the things that really matter in life.

6. New Era (lyrics in Runyoro)
The song talks about allowing change to happen and embracing it. It uses children as a symbol of new beginnings.

7. Nankasa (lyrics in Luganda)
From the traditions of the Baganda—the largest ethnic group in Uganda—the Bakisimba dance was created in celebration of banana wine.

At a cultural function in the Kingdom, the Kabaka (‘King’) drank a lot of tonto (‘banana wine’), which made him dance. As he danced, in appreciation of his drink, he kept repeating the phrase ‘Abakisimba Bebakiwomya’ meaning that the one who planted the banana tree is the one who made the wine tasty. This phrase and the dance movements of the Kabaka inspired the Bakisimba dance.

Among the dance patterns made by the Kabaka was the Nankasa: one of the movements in the Bakisimba dance that eventually evolved into one of the celebratory dances of Buganda.

The movement became very popular to the extent that a special drum took the name Nankasa to accompany this special dance.

This song is a celebration of life!

8. Akadema (lyrics in Ngakaramojong)
Akadema means ‘she has grabbed (him)’. A young woman, Nachulu, fears that the man she loves is interested in her old-time friend, Natyang. Nachulu is furious and plans to confront Natyang, certain that Natyang has stolen her love from her. The village quickly gives Nachulu sympathy, only for her to realise that it is all in her head. The melodies describe the emotions running through her mind and the feeling of losing the man that she loved so dearly.

9. Weyo (lyrics in Thupadhola and Luganda)
Weyo is the melody of a lullaby from the Jopadhola people, and the verses are in Luganda, the language of the people of central Uganda. The song is about the unfulfilled wishes that parents have for their children—things they have always wanted to do for their children but for some reason have not been able to.

 

Acknowledgements

Thanks to God who makes all things happen!

Thanks to everybody involved who helped to make all this happen!

Special thanks go out to Alison Nadunga and Ignatious Loyola Musaazi for arranging and coordinating operations and resources regarding this album project; and to the band’s longest serving members Manana Birabi and Paul Steve Wembabazi.

For reviewing lyrics/language: Mr Siima Ronnie, Mr Kyomuhendo Ateenyi, Dr Allan Kenneth Birabi, Olive Ayo Birabi, Lydia Alweny Ochola, Wobusobozi Amooti Kangere and Nabulega Rose.


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