When Maurice Kirya clinched the RFI Discovery Music Award in 2010 and a Young Achievers Award in 2011, two things were spelled out; the first was that he sold Ugandan music to an audience beyond and ethnicity of the motherland. The second, which carried more importance was that his ‘Mwooyo’ style was a much appreciated wave of difference to the ‘Kidandali’ dominated music industry. The second reason has made me him a much sought after personality, and in the same vein, the subject of this article.
Mwooyo is a Luganda word, the literal translation of Soul. It is therefore not surprising that it is a fine blend of soul and RnB music. From the start, the word spells his target and creativity. Target in the sense that when you hear him croon, the tunes don’t just go to your ears and mind. He sings down right to your soul.
In this Ugandan music industry, there is a lot of influence from other countries like the US, Jamaica and Nigeria, among others. To find a musician with a style that he calls his own and that is only attributed to him is an indelible mark of creativity-and Mwooyo gives Kirya that place in the music realm.
To place Mwooyo high up on the rankings, Kirya has showcased an unfaltering level of consistency over the years. He has proven that indeed quality beats quantity. Find what you can do, specialize in it, perfect it and be known by it. For an artiste with his name and fame, you would be surprised by the fact that he has only three studio albums! Misubbaawa in 2009, The Book of Kirya in 2012 and Mwooyo in 2015.
A closer look at the names chosen for each shows that there is a lot of ‘Ugandanism’ in them, a fact that makes them so local-and undeniably elevates them to international status. Kirya has maintained his music, never veering off the course byt serving the audience with more and more Mwoyo till date, making him unique and his music very marketable.
Kirya uniquely didn’t have any of the traditional Ugandan music concert. Instead, he hosted his pious following to a cozy and intimate indoor concert, which he dubbed “Kirya Live”, the most remarkable being in 2016. All ticket prices were even, for at Kirya’s there were no VIPs but just a fellowship of Mwoyo lovers. Here he sang his heart out for them, song after song and they danced rhythmically to his tunes. Needless to say, the show sold out.
Being born into a musical family, it could be predicted that Kirya would pursue a successful music career. His brother Vamposs, or Vampino is one of the Ugandan musicians that have stood the test of time. Indeed, Kirya went on to pursue a successful and unique music career, but his talent could not stop there.
He secured major acting roles in two of Hollywood’s award winning movies on Uganda, the Last King of Scotland in 2006 and Queen of Katwe in 2016. He also tested his business hand, opening up a coffee shop and fast food centre called “The Sound Cup” which, as you may guess, panned out successfully.
Kirya has travelled the world and impressed many musicians. He is an inspiration to plenty of budding talent, but more importantly, is appreciated for his introduction and defence of Mwooyo, the different style of Music that many a Ugandan would be proud of.