Christopher Ssebadduka, Jjajja W'abayimbi, the grandfather of Kadongo Kamu

Ten years ago, I posted this short introduction to Kandongo Kamu music from Uganda.  That post shared several wonderful recordings of Kandongo Kamu from the 1970s, but it didn't feature any selections from the genre's most revered artist, Christopher Ssebadduka.

 Ssebadduka was born in 1926.  He started peforming on the streets and in the markets of Kampala in the mid-1940s.  In 1955, he recorded Omukazi Malaya, the first Kadongo Kamu to be commercially released.  His early singles were successful enough that Ssebadduka was recruited, in the late 1950s, by the Uganda National Theatre.  [At some point in the 1950s, Ssebadduka also worked as a junior officer at the Central Bank of Uganda.] In 1962, Ssebadduka was one of the select few musicians to perform for the official celebration of Ugandan independence held at the Kololo Airfield in Kampala. In the mid-1960s, Ssebadduka formed the Kandongo Kamu Cultural Society.

Like the other Kandongo Kamu artists of his generation, Ssebadduka used his songs to communicate traditional wisdom and morals through anecdotes, stories, and social commentary.  In the late 1970s, his social commentary got him into trouble.  In 1978, Ssebadduka peformed Kyaali Kyetagisa on a Radio Uganda talent show.  The song criticized the policies of Milton Obote and when Obote returned to power in 1980, Ssebadduka had to go into hiding.  He resurfaced in 1986, returning to Kampala when Museveni came to power.

Christopher Ssebadduka died of tuberculosis in 1998.  He was 72 years old.

Download Christopher Ssebadduka Entebbe Guitar Singers - Federal

This cassette features one of Ssebadduka's first hits, Eddame Iya Chwa.  He first recorded the song in 1957, the version on this cassette was probably recorded in the 1980s.  Like most of the Ugandan cassettes I have found, this one has some flutters and a bit of noise, but the music is beautiful.

This is the only video of Ssebadduka I have found on YouTube, an amateur recording of him performing in a park.


For some more lovely Ugandan music, visit our friend Lola's blog.  He has generously shared three cassettes with us.


  1. Thanks for your work and beautiful music.

  2. Thank you also from here for the beautiful music. I appreciate all the music and knowledge. Thanks also to the pointer to the voanews from back in the day. I hadn't put 2 and 2 together and sussed that was also you. I was a fan and it was nice to revisit the music and that era.


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