Simon Base Kalema re-loaded.
To many young Ugandan music enthusiasts think the name Simon Base Kalema might just sound strange and to others he might only be known for his hilarious drama roles with Uganda’s most popular theatre outfit the Ebonies, but for those that’ have followed Uganda’s urbane contemporary music industry since its infancy in the early nineties then they are well aware of the name Simon Base Kalema as a pioneer in the Ugandan music industry way before the most popular names you hear on the scene today.
Perhaps to create a more vivid picture I’ll add that his very first record inspired Jose chameleon way before he could start singing to consider the fact that he could also do it since a fellow Ugandan had successfully managed to record a Ugandan song in a Ugandan language and most of all in a Ugandan studio. The extremely flamboyant, and fashionably conscious comical Simon Base started out his musical career albeit as a fun thing without a long term vision and not as a career back then in 1991 with fellows such as Alex Odida, Hassan Kimbugwe, Peter Sekandi and Tony Ajuna and Together they formed the all boy group perfect generation while they were still students at Makerere College School. They had been spotted by Bob Bashabe (R.I.P) who was then a resident of Lumumba Hall at Makerere University then were he was studying psychology and in 1994 encouraged them to record their very first songs that included Stay, Bad attitude, Kakokolo and positive change songs which Bob would later vigorously promote at capital (91.3fm) radio were he presented a radio programme and also managed them as a group.
By the end of 1994 his fellow group members finally had to push out to further their education and thus some left the country for further studies which reason disbanded the group and thus Simo had to go solo. “I was confused at this point man because I really still wanted to push out my music thing” Simon explains as he sternly looks at me amidst beer sips. So I went solo in 1995 and released a song titled Omukwano muzibu through Peter Sematimba’s Makindye based Dungeon studios which made it a big on the Ugandan scene more than I expected. I became a hero to many youth at the time, and thanks to the vigorous promotion I got on especially capital radio through Bob Bashabe and Peter Sematimba who were presenters at the station at the time.” explains Base. “This particular song had a strong impact on Jose Chameleone and inspired him am an upcoming artist back them. I remember meeting him sometime back and him singing the entire song for me .He later confessed that it truly encouraged him to start out on his music career” says Simon Base. He would later on join Peter Sematimba’s Dungeon crew a youthful musical outfit that was put together by Peter Sematimba who was then fresh from the United States and with a vision of putting together some of the most talented youthful Ugandans at a time. The crew included artists like;Steve Jean, Rasta Rob, Terry Devos ,Shanks VVD now Shanks Gumaras, Mc Afric (R.I.P),Prim and Propa, Roger Mugisha and others. They together recorded a compilation CD and then later embarked on what would later become the most successful tour at the time the Dungeon tour which was hosted at the Lugogo Indoor stadium, Masaka and Jinja. “When we did this show I had now matured and was now not just doing music for fun I also wanted to get paid for my talent” Simon hastily adds. They also went ahead to hold a number of school shows.
In 1996 Simon took a break from music and relocated to London where his father had sent him for further studies. He was to study Graphics.” My father was always supportive for my interest in the arts and music because he had also been a musician with the Afrigo band back in the day. When he returned to Uganda in 1998 he was introduced to the VCL (Ebonies producers) management by Radio one’s RS Elvis where I was to start work as part of their graphics team. But while there I was encouraged by the Ebonies director to try out the big stage as an actor. “You know he’s the type of guy who believes one can do anything if they put their mind to it” says Simon. So in 1998 I got into acting with the Ebonies.” I will quickly add that I was scared of the Big stage at first because I had not done that before, but I sooner than later got used to it and today I can act any role that I was offered.”
In the year 2001 I revived my music career because that’s what I felt I would always do so I became a part of a Simba FM musical project that put together a couple of artists to release a compilation CD and on the project I released two songs Singa Teyali gwe (If it wasn’t you) and Kulya cash (popularly known in Ugandan social circles as having a good time) .They were recorded at Bk studios by producer Joe Tabula. I also have an eight track house music CD that I recorded with the help of veteran Ugandan producer Arthur KD But back then we had produced it for a South African market because my friend Arthur had just returned to Uganda from south Africa and he told me look house music is quite big in South Africa how about we do a house music project and that’s how that album was born.” says Simon. “Some of the songs were actually popularized by Radio one and Capital fm’s Alex Ndaula who played many of the songs during his theme nights at the On the Rocks Bar back then.
In 2007, Simon put together a group that comprised of himself, a lady by the name Dativa and a fellow known as Robin and together they went by the name Blaq. They managed to release a song titled Nkwaga for which they also made a video and it managed to reach spot number five. However some management issues made the group disband and Simon had to go solo again. Today, Simon is back at it again and has already compiled an eight track album that will officially be released between June and July. This is because he wants to fully release them with videos. The album has songs such as Jacinta, Koona Dance, Big Masavu, and Mystery Lady and its production work was done by various producers like Grayce record’s Henry Kiwuuwa, Cardinal and Davis of sound attack studios and Arthur KD. When not busy doing stage production work with the Ebonies, you’ll find Simon spending time with his two lovely children and his wife or sharing wild banter with buddies. However on a really lonely night you’ll catch him meditating as he puts pen to paper to write lyrics to a song.” Lastly to my fans both in Uganda and worldwide thanks for the support and feel free to keep in touch.
You can reach Simon through firstname.lastname@example.org or directly through; +256-752-635761