In the year 2001, Zeegy Dee, then a little known Ugandan artiste living in Dar es Salaam, released the highly popular song, Mike Ya Zeegy Dee. The song went on to become one of the biggest hits of our time, ruling the airwaves and dance floors for several years that followed. The veiled sexually explicit lyrics just seemed to light everyone’s wood.
The dancehall song gave Ugandans a momentary license to throw innuendo around without the fear of being frowned upon. Adults smiled as they watched children dance and sing along to this ‘evil’ club banger.
Then, in the year 2004, after releasing a few other songs that were not as successful, the young singer came back to Uganda and started a branding business. Being a talented painter and caricaturist, he soon immersed himself in his other passion and left the canal-minded Ugandan’s hanging. The shift in focus robbed us of a great entertainer for over a decade. Until last year when the mother ship contacted him.
Fast Forward to three days ago, Zeegy Dee released a reggae song on several online platforms. The deep roots reggae song, Talina Musango, is miles away from the dancehall music that we came to know Zeegy for. The reggae track, over which the rastaman sings, was created by Mungo’s HiFi, a Scottish reggae band that East African Records is corroborating with. East Africa records is an online-based label that aims to sell East African music to European markets over the internet.
Talina Musango, in keeping with roots reggae thematically, is a song about community. People are who they are. We are not what we are because of what wrong or right we have done. Our tribes or skin color is not a choice we have made. We all have a right to breath the same air. We have a right to live in our communities however poor or ill-fitting. Any form of discrimination is irrational and pure evil.
Mungo’s HiFi, the European band that is behind this track is highly respected in the reggae world. Which is why it won’t be surprising at all when Zeegy makes a huge come back as a respected reggae artiste.
“Mungo’s HiFi are more attuned to the deep reggae culture of Jamaica because that is where they get their inspiration from,” says, East African Records director, David Cecil. “We work well with them. They have a history of working with independent musicians and are more about the music and the art than anything else, and that is very seminal in the music world.”
Zeegy says, “This group is one of the best in the business. When I heard of this group, I definitely knew this would take me somewhere. These guys are five serious music professionals working on the same track. That’s not the case in UG. This is real work. We are taking reggae and dancehall music to the next level.”
Ths same group is not alien to Uganda at all bytheway.
When Nyege Nyege festival first started four years ago, these great Mungo’s were the headline act. Something must have struck them about Ugandan music because now they are coming back to record with East African artiste, among which is Nazizi from Kenya and of course Zeegy.
Rewind to early last year before he got signed by East African records, Zeegy released a self-produced beautiful reggae ballad called Sumayah on YouTube. The song impresses whoever comes across it, albeit by accident because it has been poorly promoted. Even when it is languishing online with no airplay at all, it has received several thumbs ups from music reviewers in several Kampala tabloids.
Sumayah is a strangely melodic song. It is a gem waiting to be discovered by a serious radio professional worth their name. It belongs on the very best of playlists.
Today, Zeegy will be doing his first public appearance in years. He will be performing at The Sqaure with his new godfathers, Mungo’s HiFi. Reggae lovers will be wringing their hands, looking to see if Zeegy still gat it. Whether his songs will finally come out of the nebulous internet to the airwaves after today remains to be seen.
The Scottish group will stay a little longer to record a few more chunes with Zeegy before they head back home.
Article by Tony Musho