Our story with Amone Watmon Matthew
We had spent 4 days in the north of Uganda, travelling back through Soroti and into Kampala, where, arranged by Jimmy of the Adungu Cultural Troupe, we arrived in the Naguru area of Kampala. Jimmy led us to another location for the recording, away from the road – a space in front of a house where Matthew Watmon lived.
We were introduced and in the time before the group had even managed to begin to unload the recording equipment, he had invited us into his home to watch a DVD of his group performing their traditional dances – clearly very proud of his roots and his music.
First we recorded the Adungu Cultural Troupe in the searing heat of the equatorial sun and then invited the Watmon Cultural Group to perform for us. Their performance was exactly that – the group of dancers and musicians playing the calabash walked in from the right hand side of our ‘stage’ dancing and singing. We recorded two tracks in this lineup.
He then began to perform on a stringed instrument, while singing along, in close rhythm with another player and a third playing simple percussion on a calabash. We made a decision very quickly to invite the musicians back to our hotel to record further.
We made the journey back to the Airport Guesthouse in Entebbe, with the musicians continuing their performance in the vehicles.
In the garden of the Airport Guesthouse, we recorded a further 6 performances, the group collaborating with Akello, our artist in residence for the trip.
We also recorded an interview with Matthew, which we include here:
Matthew was born on the 25th November 1951 in Kipgum district, Awedi village in the north of Uganda. He lived there until 1992, when he moved to Kampala, due to the rebel fighting. He started a small group of dancers, performing Acholi traditional dance. He learnt to play music from his grandfather in his village. His aim is to teach his children (even those that are not his own) the music of his heritage.
We are proud to have worked with the Watmon Cultural Troupe and the resulting recordings and videos are a treat. Click here to go to the Singing Wells group page.
You can view more videos from the group on YouTube (click here) where you can also make a donation to support the group through our charity, The Abubilla Music Foundation.