Why Jamaican Musicians Still Perform In Uganda


Jamaican singer Dermarco had wonderful show a few weeks ago, with hundreds of revelers attending. This was his second time in the country after his disastrous trip to the Banana Republic.

However, he is not the first Jamaican musician to perform in the country more than once. Neither is he the first foreign musician to perform in the country more than once. There has been a series of mainly Jamaican singers like Shaggy, Sean Paul, Elephant Man, Chaka Demus and Pliers, Konshens, Busy Signal and Mr G performing in Uganda more than once.

But the hardest question that lingers in the minds of Ugandans is: Why is it always the Jamaicans that perform in Uganda? This is because most of the foreign artists that have performed here have been from the Caribbean Island, with Nigeria, South Africa being the other musical imports.

However, with the recent leaked list of the fees some of the world’s favorite bands and pop stars charge for a concert appearance, the question has been partly answered. According to the leaked list, it may take years to have a Rihanna or a Black Eyed Performance here! Unlike Jamaican singers who are even paid as low as Shs50m to hold a concert here, the average charges of the world pop stars and bands range between Shs625million-1.25billion. And others even go beyond this to 1.875 billion.

With the above charges, I think the reason can be guessed. Although the artistes are paid meager fees for the concerts, the public still find it hard to afford a ticket and this has been witnessed on several occasions with some international artists singing for a semi-empty, with notable flop concerts being that of Sisqo, Demarco and Davido.

The biggest paid for concert in Uganda was that of the UB40 in 2008 which was paid for by the largest telecommunications provider in the Country, MTN. But according to sources who were associates in bringing the legendary band into the country, the charges were nowhere near to Shs600m.

Some singers like Elephant Man was paid Shs 50m for his concert in 2011. There are even others that have been paid less than this!

According to the leaked list, artists; Adele, Rihanna, No Doubt, Pink, Shakira, Black Eyed Peas, Faith Hill, Cold Play and Kanye West charge an amount 1.875 billion.

But there are some like Justin Beiber, Justin Timberlake, Madonna, Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga and James Taylor charge a whooping Shs 2.5billion per show. If the prices are to stay this way, then we have to wait longer to have a Madonna or Justin Timberlake performance in Uganda. Above all if they were to come, would you attend?

As you read this, another Jamaican artist, Busy Signal is set to come into the country in October. It is not the first time he is here, having performed in Kampala last year. However unlike when some local artists and musicians spoke out against foreign musicians performing in the country, at least now they can go watch the show comfortably, having got the reason behind their coming!


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