Given the amount of work that Winston Tshaka Mayanja has been putting in on various artists’ albums you might wonder how he manages to keep such a low profile while at the same time seeming to be everywhere. Known more for reggae than anything else this music producer is now showing that he is comfortable with many other genres.
The journey Tshaka embarked on when he was nine years old has come full circle it seems. He is a long way from being the rebellious son of a Ugandan minister, who had his fair share of bad press. With the experience that he has accumulated over the years, the game can only get better and that is a bonus for Ugandan music.
Tshaka is one of the pioneers of reggae in Uganda. He is the brain behind classic songs like Rasta Wange (My Rasta) and Twelire (the reggae rendition of a Ganda folk song). In 1991, when the biggest acts were doing Kadongo Kamu and synthetic Lingala-sounding music, he was doing reggae. At that time, the musician was like a lone prophet in the wilderness crying out against the din. After living abroad for some time, he returned to an audience that was stuck on a few genres. Reggae, even if it was not a new thing, did not have many adherents locally.
He brought some of the biggest reggae acts to town and including Aswad, Cedella Marley and Third World and he says he’s not surprised that Ugandans are waking up to the fact that reggae is one of the strongest forms of music because it is not as corrupted as many other forms. Tshaka believes the more a music genre borrows from new influences, the higher the chances it will change to lower grade.
However, today he’s not known for reggae as much as he was in the past. ”I think I did all I could possibly do for reggae in this region,” he explains. “I’m now promoting jazz, soul and funk. I still listen to a lot of reggae; it flows in my veins so to speak.”
Today, he is finalising the line-up for the 6th Annual Nile Gold Jazz Safari and is also the brains behind Jazz Safari, an annual event that attracts major international artists. “It’s tedious work; takes nearly a year,” he says. He says he is also planning on finishing Angela Kalule’s, who used to go by the stage moniker, K’Angie Mtume, on Lovers Rock Reggae album. Kalule is one of the many artists that Tshaka manages. He is also known as a formidable producer, who has come out with surprise acts like David ‘Pragmo’ Nsaiga who is a whiz on the piano.
“We plan to release the 4th album of BlackRoots Unlimited showcasing Pragmo this year. The first three did very well worldwide” he confides. “I’m also working on starting a Pro RC Club (Radio Controlled Cars) in this town. RC clubs and RC Racing are huge events in other countries. It’s a great hobby for motorsport fans.”
Having worked with Angela Kalule on Dark Chocolate, the Obsessions and Juliana who are all major acts on the Kampala scene you can expect to see a resurgence of Winston Tshaka Mayanja. He has more than 500 songs to produce and he has the time to do it.
Tshaka’s music can be got at Musicland limited on Kampala Road or at the duty free sales office at Entebbe Airport. You can also access his music online at www.cdbaby.com. His phone numbers are: +256 (0) 71 678 491. His e-mail is:firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com and website: http://blackrootsunlimited.com/.