Herman Basudde (1958–1997) was a Ugandan kadongo kamu musician. He was born in Masaka District, Uganda.[1]

Herman Basudde the former kadongo kamu music sing
Photo of Basudde's grave

Herman Basudde
Born(1958-12-05)5 December 1958
Died11 June 1997(1997-06-11) (aged 38)
Kabale Bugonzi
Years active1980–1997
Known forKadongo Kamu

Background

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Herman Basudde was born on December 5, 1958, to Eria Katende and Dimitiria Namyalo.[2] He attended Kibanda Primary School and Kitenga Primary School, and is said not to have gone beyond primary school.[3]

His brother, Timothy Sserunjoji, said that reason he did not go further may have been due to the lack of funds to facilitate his love and passion for music. One of Bassude's classmates in school said that he was a quick learner with a passion for art and graphic design. In addition, he was a member of the school choir.[4]

The legacy of Basudde in the field of music can be traced to a friend of his father, Eria. The late Mark Makumbi, a former Bukedde TV and CBS Radio presenter, spoke about Basudde while giving some background on kadongo kamu singers.

Brown Rodgers, a friend of Eria during World War II, gave him a guitar as a way to remember him after the war, and his son took an interest in the instrument. The guitar quickly took up much of Bassude's time, and his mother Dimitiria was dismayed that he spent less and less time doing housework or schoolwork. However, Eria insisted that Bassude keep practicing as he might prosper in a musical career. The guitar, along with the absolute poverty in which the family lived, pushed Bassude to drop out out school.[5]

Bassude quickly became something of a local legend. Whenever there was a party in the village, he entertained the guests with his guitar and his music, receiving money in return as a token of appreciation. However, this was not looked upon favorably by others. Some youth wanted to force him out of the area, jealous that he was earning presents and gifts for his services.[citation needed]

One day, Bassude was entertaining at a local Catholic church, where he sang a song called ”Amajjiini ngetala luno" (The Rampant Demons). The priest liked it so much that he told him to play it again and again, and paid him generously. This troubled Bassude's rivals, and they secretly planned a way of taking him out.

In the area, there was a rebel group called “FEDEMU” which had captured most of the part of Southern Uganda. Peace was now in their hands. Basudde's rival youth approached them informing that Basudde had a gun. Immediately, they sacked his father's house. They searched the whole place. They grabbed him and took him for interrogation. They tortured him unceasingly while asking for the whereabouts of the gun. After all that, he was brought back home nearly to death. He was taken to Masaka Referral Hospital where he was treated for many days. He was later returned home and given medicine there. As he gained energy, his father advised him to leave the village or else he would lose his life.

In the mid 1980s, he was picked by Eria Katende and brought to Kampala.

Career

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His career guide was the singer Livingstone Kasozi who trained him how to play a guitar, sing and perform live on stage.[6] He toured East Africa countries, travelling to Kenya, Tanzania, and Rwanda. This tour raised him over USh 70 million, a huge amount at that time. [citation needed]

Basudde is credited as one of the musicians who revived interest in baakisimba, mixing Western and Kiganda music to appeal to a new audience.[7] He had a husky voice, and sang passionate songs about mischievous love affairs, philandering husbands, and bizarre witchcraft. In a popular song, Ekiwuka Ekyaga Muntamu, Basudde used metaphor to invoke the AIDS epidemic in Uganda. In the song, the narrator dreams of a lizard-like insect invading his home and despoiling life, food and sex.[8]

Basudde died in an accident while travelling to his parents' house in Masaka, south of Kampala. His funeral was a national occasion, and the funeral fund raised USh 12 million.[citation needed] Some saw Basudde as a rebellious spirit. He had left the Catholic Church to adopt animism and was attacked by certain clergy for forsaking religion in favour of witchcraft. He was accused of sensationalising his music by bringing seductively dressed girls onto the stage and commercialising the Kadongo Kamu singers.[9]

Popularity

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Historian Basaaya Rocks Peter says that Herman Basudde was a prophet since he could foretell what would happen before. His popularity is still high, and many upcoming musicians visit his grave to seek wisdom. Fred Ssebatta, one of Kadongokamu regents, asserts that Herman Basudde was creative and worked quickly. He continued by saying that it would be very difficult to compare Herman Basudde in writing music with anybody. He further said that whenever Herman Basudde could release a song, Ssebatta would target him on the second day.

On October 12, 2012, Gheto president Bobi Sine paid tribute to the work of Herman Basudde. "How I wish prophet Herman Basudde could be around," he said. "He left us to accomplish his mission, but his shoes are far big for us to wear." Basude composed in his head and couldn't repeat what he had earlier sung. Herman Basudde toured several East African countries, including Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda. This tour raised him over USh 70 million, a huge amount at that time. [citation needed]

Death and legacy

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Grave of Basudde in Bubondo

Before his death, Basudde had foretold his death through words and actions. Aisha Nakito (widow) narrated what happened days before his death. On 10 June 1997, he went to meet Jane Basirika (concubine) after several days while touring EA . They had a meal in await for Serunjoji. As soon as Serunjoji came, he embraced him. They had had some misunderstanding back ago, so they had a family reunion. After all, they set for Masaka. His father had been paralyzed at home.

On their way, they stopped at Lukaya road toll for a snack. Here, Basudde got annoyed with a certain man and he was about to fight him. Sylivester Busuulwa settled the matter. He started the vehicle with a lot of anger and at a high speed. Reaching Kabaale Bugonzi, a tragedy happened. As a lorry was overtaking, Basudde lost control and his vehicle overturned several times. "What a mess this man has caused me!" He had his last breath.

Herman Basudde had died in a tragic accident while travelling to his parents' house in Masaka, south of Kampala. Basudde had a huge following for his husky voice and the passion of his lyrics about mischievous love affairs, philandering husbands, bizarre witchcraft and other songs which propelled him from abject poverty to a fortune worth millions during his lifetime. He had revolutionised the Kadongo Kamu (singers) who were known for their skillful guitar playing.

Before Basudde died he insisted that he be buried with his favourite "dry guitar", as he called it. He had noted that his long term colleague, Livingstone Kasozi, had been buried holding his favourite cassette tape, and he wanted his guitar to console him in the same way in the afterlife. Basudde's funeral was a national occasion. There was an outpouring of grief at the vigil by the graveside. Ugandan television showed a sea of people attending his burial. An announcer on one of the FM radio stations broke down while telling of his death. His funeral fund raised USh 12 million.

Basudde's songs got rave reviews in the local press. The Uganda Monitor newspaper dubbed them as "spiritually and politically inspiring". Some regretted that he could not still live to fight the foreign culture that was corrupting Ugandan minds. Others saw Basudde as a rebellious spirit. He had left the Catholic Church to adopt animism and was attacked by certain clergy for forsaking religion in favour of witchcraft. He was accused of sensationalising his music by bringing seductively dressed girls onto the stage and commercialising the Kadongo Kamu singers.

References

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  1. ^ "Remembering music legend Herman Basudde". New Vision. Retrieved 11 July 2023.
  2. ^ Kaggwa, Andrew (4 July 2016). "HERMAN BASUDDE: portrait of a musical prophet". The Observer. Retrieved 22 January 2023.
  3. ^ "Remembering Music Legend Herman Basudde". New Vision. 13 October 2019. Retrieved 22 January 2023.
  4. ^ "List of Top 30 Hit Songs By Music Legend Herman Basudde". blizz.co.ug. Retrieved 11 July 2023.
  5. ^ "List of Top 30 Hit Songs By Music Legend Herman Basudde". blizz.co.ug. Retrieved 11 July 2023.
  6. ^ Alinda, Alex. "Walukagga Visits Kadongo Kamu Legend, Livingstone Kasozi's Grave". chimpreports.com. Chimp Reports. Retrieved 30 October 2016.
  7. ^ Baakisimba: Gender in the Music and Dance of the Baganda People of Uganda, Sylvia Antonia Nannyonga-Tamusuza, Routledge, February 4, 2014, p. 126
  8. ^ The Oxford Handbook of Medical Ethnomusicology, Oxford University Press, USA, April 27, 2011, p. 170
  9. ^ Ivan, Mubiru (16 June 2020). "LIST: Ugandan celebrities who lost their lives in accidents". Watchdog Uganda. Retrieved 11 July 2023.
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