Kangende by Ecklas Kawalya
File Name: Kangende by Ecklas Kawalya
Published: 2018-08-31 02:27:16
Uploader: Jason De Boer
Ecklas Kawalya is joined by Jane Frances Kiryangokibi aka Hadija Namale on this beautiful 1960s rumba piece.
Ecklas “Sitale” Kawalya was a Ugandan singer, songwriter and actor. He was the main character (“Nyonyitono”) in Byron Kawaddwa’s epic music drama, Amakula ga kulabako. Ecklas started his professional singing career in the late 1950s with Israel Magembe’s Kampala City Six Band. In the early 1960s, he was recruited by the storied Robert Majora into Suzana band, Suzana Nightclub’s resident band. While at Suzana band, he was mentored by Martin Munyenga, a talented multi-instrumentalist, and composer who had just arrived into the country from Lubumbashi in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Mr. Munyenga, who made Uganda home, is undoubtedly among the most influential forces behind the development of the 1960s/70s dance-band genre. He tutored and mentored many young Ugandan musicians who went on to become household names e.g. Frida Sonko, Hadija Namale etc.
Some of Kawalya’s greatest 1960s hits were sang with Suzana band alumni. He formed a great team singing with some of the leading female musicians of the time. He teamed up with Rose Namere and Yunia Nalwanga on “Omulongo”; Hadija Namale and Mary Nattima feature on “Nsamba.” Mary Nattima joins him on the duets “Rin” and “Fumbira abana.” He enjoyed a close relationship with Hadija Namale. Both Nattima and Hadija saw in Ecklas their role model.
Kawalya would later leave Suzana band, joining his friends Fred Kanyike and Bonnie K. Stephen at Kamulu’s New Life nightclub in Mengo. When Fred Kanyike quit New Life to found the famed but short-lived Rwenzori International in the 1970s, Kawalya was part of the new band’s star-studded line-up. Kawalya had a long career, leaving behind a great body of work with brilliant lyrics and skillful instrumentation, which continues to entertain fans worldwide.
Fan facts about Ecklas Kawalya:
- He was a son of a chief.
- In the 1950s he owned a Vespa scooter, a rarity back then.
- Ecklas was greatly admired by his peers and was often consulted to resolve music-fraternity disputes.
- Two of Kawalya’s daughters are professional musicians. Joanita Kawalya currently sings with Afrigo, Uganda’s powerhouse musical group. Her older sister, Margaret Kawalya, was one of the 2 female vocalists who sang with Afrigo in the early to mid-1980s. The other female vocalist at the time being Harriet Mpagi.
- Elly Wamala, another Ugandan music legend, sang about Ecklas’ child in “Akaana ka Kawalya”. The song was composed and produced by the legendary Edmund Hannington Batte who worked with Paul Kerssemakers on the Philips and latterly the Serenade label.
Jane Frances Kiryangokibi