Ugandan based Charmant Mushaga’s ‘talking’ guitar mesmerizes fans

By Roy Ruva

Congolese, multi-talented guitar maestro and vocalist Charmant Mushaga, on Thursday 3 November had an up and close moment with his friends and fans at Kampala’s premium night club Guvnor in industrial area. The evening was worthwhile for all present.

Charmant Mushaga joined by Chris Weigers. Photo courtesy of Roy Ruva
Charmant Mushaga joined by Chris Weigers. Photo courtesy of Roy Ruva

As he caressed his guitar with delicate poise and romanced it with everlasting affection, the soothing rhythms that emanated from the finely-tuned solo machine took the adoring fans into a journey of romance and colourful music paradise.

At one moment Mushaga gave his machine a smoother touch when he used his lips and tongue to carefully pick the guitar strings in a carefully arranged order to the delight of many fans. Mushaga popularly known as ‘Shalma’ immigrated to Uganda as a young refugee. His talent in music- especially his guitar skills- elevated his status very fast and enabled him to find a new home at Watoto Church in Kampala. Since then Mushaga has discovered himself and built his own brand of music; a unique blend of Afro-jazz, Afro- soul and elements of rumba and Congolese Soukous to form a rich sound.

His show on Thursday night was hugely successful; one because he had the full support of his fans and secondly because he put up a master class act on stage that left even the hardest of hearts melted in awe. Picking from a collection of some of his old pieces and a few from his forthcoming album African Love, the maestro had a package of 20 songs carefully lined-up for the evening’s presentation that kicked off at around 7.30pm. He was supported by an equally gifted and powerful ensemble of instrumentalists led by David Pragmo and backup singers.

Dressed in a white West African fabric shirt decorated with floral prints, Mushaga took the crowd into dreamland with his tantalizing compositions that oscillated between smooth Afro-Jazz and high tempo Congolese Soukous. Some danced as others sang along; for others the music simply enthralled them and they opted to enjoy from the comfort of their seats.

He performed songs like ‘Full moons’, ‘Whisper’, ‘Black and White’, ‘In Africa’, ‘Mutoto Lala’, ‘Nipe story’, ‘Wapi Yo’, ‘Smile’ and ‘Afropenzi’. The showcase saw the sultry Naava Grey join him for the performance of ‘Adonde Ire’. Mushaga took a short break to hand over copies of his yet to be released album to four lucky revelers. 

“I am very grateful to all of you for turning up in large numbers. I don’t have words to express my happiness,” an elated Mushaga said.

When he resumed the performances, with ‘Secret’, ‘My village’ and ‘Paradise’, his friend Chris Weigers joined him on stage for an acoustic session before doing the gospel song ‘Bado bado’. Later the guitar maestro and personal friend Myko Ouma joined him on stage. What followed cannot be described by words.

It was magical as the two sang, joked and even ‘talked’ to each other using their guitars with the fans occasionally joining. The charged show dubbed An evening of afro-jazz and sponsored by Fezah,  SMSONE, RadioOne, Jazz FM came to an end at 11.00pm.

This article was originally published on 7 November on Chano8.

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