Culture Man back to the roots

If you have been to the Jam at the Theatre, you have probably been intrigued by the antics of the longhaired lean man at the back, playing guitar and providing the backbone of the different songs on stage. You have got a taste of Culture Man. And you are blessed because he is a legend where he comes from.

Richard Jakisa a.k.a Jaki a.k.a Culture Man has done the band circuit and he is now a pro at his craft. He has played with various artistes and everywhere he went, he only gained more expertise and experience. When you hear him play, you could be excused for thinking you are not listening to a son of the soil.

He was born on November 15th, 1978 in Kampala. His family lived on William Street when he was a child but he later on moved to Gulu when his father was transferred there. He attended nursery school in Gulu but later moved back to Kampala for lower primary. After doing stints in Jinja and Kibuli, he wound up back in Kampala. His education up to when he finished was in Kampala at Nakasero Senior Secondary School.

His interest in music started early on when he was still in primary school. Later, after school, he joined Trumpet Music centre but this was not because he wanted to learn how to impress in a band. All he wanted was to learn how to play guitar and since he had no access to it, Trumpet was a godsend.

After 1 year at Trumpet, he started playing in church, specifically at Sharing Youth Centre, Nsambya and even up to this day, he still plays when he has the time. He has also done kyeyo in different bands since then. He started out in Afrirena Band but he says they had a very strong Congolese influence and he wanted to do a lot more than that so he looked elsewhere. He has played with the Jones Band, Miami Angels Band, a band owned by fashion designer, Sylvie Owori’s mother. This was the band in which he played longest, 6 months, before he joined the Blood Brothers.

The reason he seems to be a free agent is that the Blood Brothers don’t necessarily play every day or every week. They are involved in other work that is not music related and the specialists can do this but it is private. That leaves the other band members without work. The way out is to find work elsewhere until the Blood Brothers regroup. This explains why people we have associated with the Blood Brothers keep on forming their own outfits. A case in point is Ras Buffalo Ssali of the Namagalo fame.

So Culture Man has come out with his own project too. He has dropped an album called Jamusuma and by the way it has been received in the North of Uganda and in Kampala, he is going to be a sure hit shortly. He worked on the project for six months and the result is a more authentic Ugandan mix of Afro Beat and traditional ballads with reggae backgrounds.

On Jamusuma, the title track, he exhorts bachelors to get their act together and settle down because that is the only way they can get respect. It has a catchy African beat that will be infectious everywhere it’s heard.

Other tracks on the album are Adimodong also called Cham Pajudong. It is a popular Alur anthem. Akelle is a reggae track, the only one on the album. It is in praise of the beauty of a girl and Akelle is a girl’s name.

You can also enjoy the remix of Jamusuma at the end. Culture Man sings in English mostly but on this effort, he has tried to keep it local, an effort to endear himself to his people, many of whom have had doubts as to his real origins. Sometimes, he has had to endure comments that he sounds more like Alpha Blondie than Jakisa.

He will be launching this album at the Gaf Hotel in Nebbi on July 8th, 2005. On the 9th, there will be another do at the same venue. The album is being promoted by Sam Semugooma and stage directed by Ssali Hytham Muserebende.