Ugandans mourn world music star, Geoffrey Oryema

David Tumusiime

David Tumusiime

, Lifestyle, News

The death of France based Ugandan musician Geoffrey Oryema on Friday, June 22, 2018 has sparked an outpouring of emotion and tributes from several Ugandans who knew him.

Nyakana Charles remembers Geoffrey Oryema as an exceptional man.

“There are days harder than others Our brother ,Our friend a world music ambassador Geoffrey Oryema left us today. You told me your next Album is coming soon this year and you never spoke of a cancer eating up your bones saddened to hear of your passing. Your voice was and will always remain with us indeed it was a sweet beautiful soul and a great voice ever from Northern Uganda , Africa and the world that just went on,” Nyakana said.

Oryema was forced into exile in the 1970 and found refuge in France ,

Geoffrey Oryema will be remembered for one of his best song ” Land of Anaka” .

He has worked with Sting,Tracy Chapman, Bruce Springsteen and Peter Gabriel.

A giant of a man  Oryema was a statesman and a wonderful human being.



Faisal Kiwewa of Bayimba who helped organise the concert at Lohana Academy in Kampala that saw Oryema return to Uganda after four decades in exile commemorated a man who was a legend to him long before he met him.

He said: “I am totally saddened by the passing of my dear friend, a legend and Uganda’s world musician Geoffrey Oryema. I am proud that we shared and celebrated part of his life at his home coming concert. When Geoffrey came to Uganda for the first time after almost 34 years, I drove him around the city with so many memories, I could see in his eyes that he was truly happy to have a chance to visit his country of which he also got a chance to visit the land of Anaka. He invited me to a family lunch and after, he picked his guitar and played me some of his favorite songs, with tears in his eyes … he gave me a hug and whispered in my ear … Thank you Faisal for doing this for me, bringing me back home, it really means a lot more than I could ask for! Geoffrey, you will always live in my heart and the hearts of so many. Rest In Peace my Dearest!”

Deogratius El Gooner Lawoko reflected on Oryema’s towering achievement.

“Did you know that if you watch big Hollywood movies like On Dangerous Grounds by Ice Cube and Liz Hurley, Tears of the Sun by Bruce Willis and The Last King of Scotland by Forrest Whitaker, you will hear songs by musician Geoffrey Oryema featured in them? That’s the Calibre of the star we lost.
Rest in peace legend and Luo ambassador,” Lawoko said.

One of the most moving tributes comes from fellow World Music practitioner Maurice Kirya who is currently on a European tour after the birth of his first child. Kirya remembers Oryema’s touching humility.

Kirya said: “We met at my concert in Paris at the New morning Jazz cafe in 2011, on June 3rd 2018 he contacted me about doing a song together, I was super excited, two days before his passing, I missed his phone call, I called back but there was no response, I guessed he was busy, and now his gone. He will be truly missed, what a legend!”

He said Oryema was a great musician who expressed his inner feelings through stories,melodies and eccentric fashion.

“He encouraged me to keep writing my music the way I do, and he was so amazed by how young I was, he later that night did an interview about my performance (it’s on YouTube) it was an honour to perform in front of a man of his status, however it’s his last email to me that is so vivid, I am going to extract  the words he said.

“This morning on Facebook, I watched some of your video clips, and thought I should let you know that it’s great, and thanks for your artistic contribution to the world. That was on June 3rd 2018,” Oryema’s email to Kirya partly read.

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