Alex Kirya, pka Saba Saba Music
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Alex Kirya, pka Saba Saba Music

Los Angeles, California, United States | SELF

Los Angeles, California, United States | SELF
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Saba Saba aka Krazy Native, member of the Bataka Underground performing at the Africa Sound Stage for the African Channel. - African Channel/SabaSaba UG


Sneak clip from the Award Winning Documentary "Diamonds in the Rough" A Ugandan Hip Hop Revolution starring the Legendary Luga Flow creators Saba Saba and Babaluku of Bataka Squad performing with the Narrator of the film Michael Franti of Spearhead. - Saba Saba UG


Nah, you don’t. Uganda—a landlocked country between East Africa and Congo. Swahili culture versus Congolese rumba. The geography doesn’t leave a whole lot of space for Ugandans to develop their own musical identity, and for years Kampala people danced almost exclusively to foreign music. For the past decade, foreign dancehall has dominated, and most Ugandan artists have been making dancehall.

When I arrived in Kampala, Uganda’s capital, I knew very little about the scene there. I was aware of the dancehall craze, but hoping to find something different. On the last night of my stay I headed to a huge concert, where many of Uganda’s top artists were performing. Seemed like a pretty appropriate place to get schooled. I was fortunate enough to stumble upon a musical dynasty, the Kirya family, who is dominating a new kind of Ugandan scene. So we hung out. This is what I learned.

Maurice Kirya has been the most successful outside of Uganda, winning the prestigious RFI music prize last fall for his polished neo-soul sound. RFI is the international arm of French public radio, which has always been heavily involved with African music. This is what won the RFI jury over.

Read more: http://www.thefader.com/2011/07/20/lungu-lungu-remember-that-ugandan-track/#ixzz21sJfixhr - BENJAMIN LEBRAVE at the Fader.com


He is a Speaker, Artist, Songwriter and Social Activist. Born in Jinja, Uganda, during the dictatorship of Idi Amin, Saba Saba spent the early years of his life running from place to place with his family to avoid political turmoil and fighting. In 2005 Saba Saba was nominated for both best hip hop artist and best hip hop single in the 2005 Pearl of Africa Music Awards.

He has performed at many events such as the Power to the Peaceful Festival in San Francisco with Michael Franti, Trinity Hip Hop Festival, Nomadic Wax East African Benefit, Syracuse University, Harvard University to name a few. In 2006 he was featured in the documentary Diamonds in the Rough: A Ugandan Hip Hop Revolution. Saba is currently completing his next solo album, Cup of Coffee With. - RKD Music Management


Had the pleasure of meeting Krazy Native, a.k.a. Saba Saba (MC with the infamous Bataka crew) and Francis Agaba (hip-hop activist) from the Uganda Hip-Hop Foundation while I was in South Africa. They gave a talk at the EYA's World Urban Cafe about the work that they're doing in UG. The organization runs a weekly hip-hop night, a web site, and does educational tours about hip-hop activism in schools throughout Uganda and the African continent.

Krazy Native also heads a community anti-drugs/anti-poverty youth organization called Bavubuka All Stars. He founded Bavubuka after discovering an infant in a dumpster while filming a music video in the slums of Kampala. [Edit: Actually, I got this wrong. The foundation was officially started by Babaluku and Aaron Kim Elton in Canada. Krazy Native was the representative in Uganda.] He paid a woman $20 to look after the baby while he was on tour. He came back several weeks later and adopted the girl. Her name is Aaliyah and she's now a year old. It only took 20 bucks to save her life.

Krazy Native recently released a single "Tuja Babya," which was nominated for Best Hip Hop Single and Best New Artist of the year in the PAMA (Pearl of Africa Music Awards) in East Africa 2005. You can check the video here (L.A.'s DJ 3rdi is shooting a documentary about UG hip-hop called "Diamonds in the Rough." He also shot KN's vid.)

You can hear a hot KN/Bataka track here (select "Uganda Project," then "Audio," then "Wansi Wagulu"). I love the hook! Saw KN do the track live a couple of times in Joburg and I was humming it all the way back to Canada.

Big shout out to Krazy Native, Francis, Babaluku (a.k.a. Mr. Africa), and DJ 3rdi. - TARA HENLEY


A couple of months ago, I went to Africa. I went for a lot of reasons: because I had always wanted to see that part of the world, because I’m writing a book on global hip-hop and my friend Sol (who has been several times) insisted that I couldn’t even think of writing it without going, because I’d heard African hip-hop was on fire, because I felt compelled to somehow acknowledge the AIDS epidemic there and see what a person could do about it. Because the first-ever African hip-hop summit was taking place in Johannesburg, because artists from all over the continent were coming, and last—but certainly not least for a freelancer—because a Canadian youth organization offered to foot the bill.

People often ask me what Africa was like. It was like this: I went consciously prepared to see a lot of suffering, trying my best to ignore warnings about safety (Joburg is supposed to be the murder capital of the world), with vague TV images of poverty crowding my mind. It was nothing like I thought it would be. Nothing at all.

I spent a week at the conference, going to shows, sitting in on panel discussions, and interviewing grassroots hip-hop organizations. I was staying at the same hotel as all of the artists and every night we would stay up for hours in the bar talking. They told me about the hip-hop scenes in Cameroon, Kenya, Uganda, Senegal. We talked about everyone from 50 to Kanye (his “Diamonds from Sierra Leone” had just dropped there) to Guru from Gangstarr (who was performing at the summit) to all of the local hip-hop heroes.

The day after the conference ended, we all caravanned out to the township of Soweto for their weekly outdoor block party Black Sunday. There were a couple hundred people crammed into a park in Zone 1, huddled around a sound system. A group of mothers had cooked up a huge spread of macaroni salad, roast chicken, rice. Young boys wove in and out of the crowd, chattering (shout out to Siya, Fani, Thabo, Sindi, Lindaeni!). People danced, ate, sprawled on the grass talking, played with babies. - Africa Raps blogger


Uganda's own Krazy Native, aka Saba Saba is currently in the United States making a voice for Ugandan youth on the international level. From filmmaking to concerts to record producing, Saba is representing Uganda on all levels. However, the journey has not been without struggle or hardship, especially as this has been Saba's first taste of the American way of life: one that leaves each to his own, contrary to Ugandan's community-driven lifestyles. Beautiful moments of inspiration and hope have kept Saba's morale high though, and as the following account of his journey demonstrates, Uganda is making its mark on the international hip-hop scene through this artist's many talents.
Rhyming in Luganda, aka Lugaflow, is Saba's specialty; one that he was able to demonstrate on a number of occasions on his journey through the U.S. The significance of Lugaflow lies not only in the level of skill it takes to deliver rhymes but through the underlying authenticity of rapping in one's mother tongue; it is about keeping it real and not denying one's own roots. Thus, rapping in Luganda emanates Ugandan pride, and this was exactly the case as Saba delivered performance after performance to audiences who had never heard the language. The response from the public couldn't have been better; from New York performances in Prospect Park (Brooklyn), to the Trinity College International Hip Hop Festival in Connecticut, performance in Boston Lugaflow made waves. Throughout the incredible journey, Saba also had the opportunity to rock the mic alongside artists such as Michael Franti. - By Maude Martin, Mathew Forrest


Discography

Albums
2006: Tujjababya the Hard Way
2008: Bataka Revolution
2010/2011: Bulaaya
2010/2011: Cup of Coffee with...

Singles
2003: "Tujjababya"
2003: "Wansi Wagulu"
2008: "Obwavu Kondo"
2008: "Connect"
2009: "World Mash"
2009: "Uganda" w/DJ Spooky
2010: "Harambe

Photos

Bio

Alex Kirya pka "Saba Saba" also known as Krazy Native from Uganda Africa. He is a Speaker, Artist, Songwriter and Storyteller. Born in Jinja, Uganda, during the dictatorship of Idi Amin, Saba Saba spent the early years of his life running from place to place with his family to avoid political turmoil and fighting. He went to Kabojja primary and later Kasasa Secondary where his hiphop career kicked off after he met Lyrical G, one of the members of the crew Bataka Underground - later the Bataka Squad - Bataka means 'native' in Luganda. Saba's first taste of the mic was in 1992, a few months after he saw the movie 'Wild Style', a hiphop breakdance video. The game changed for Saba in 1994 when he hooked up with the Bataka Underground. On the team was Babaluku, Momo MC, and Lyrical G. They were later joined by Newton, Chagga, Shillingz, Furious B from Burundi, Larat, Lyn, and Slob MC the youngest of the crew.

In 2001, Saba Saba, Chizo, DJ Benarda, alongside some of the Bataka crew, went for a tour in Kigali, Rwanda and Bujumbura, Burundi. Bujumbura gave Bataka so much love and are still revered up to today. The same year, they hooked up with `Niga Soul' one of the best rap groups in Bujumbura and had several performances together in places like Havana and Casanova, Burundi.Back from the tour in Kampala, the Bataka crew hooked up with a British rap/poetry crew by the names of `Shrine' and had two huge concerts.

In 2003 Saba and Xenson, later joined by Jeff Ekongot, Francis Agaba, and the late Paul Mwandha, formed the Uganda Hip Hop Foundation with the mission of promoting Ugandan hip hop in Uganda and worldwide. The foundation sponsored the first Ugandan Hip Hop Summit and Concert in 2003, featuring artists from all over Uganda including Klear Kut, Bataka Squad, Lyrical G, Maurice Kirya, Vamposs and Benon, Emma Katya and Extra Mile. The Summit, held at Sabrina's in Kampala, was so successful, they have held one each year since, most recently in December 2006 organized by Babaluku with help from the Bavubuka All Starz. In 2004 Saba performed as a delegate of the Uganda Hiphop Foundation at the `Rock against Aids' concert in Nairobi, Kenya.

In 2005 Saba Saba changed his stage name from Krazy Native to Saba Saba to reflect his growth as an artist and his increased political and social consciousness of his homeland Uganda and Africa as a whole. That same year, Saba Saba and Frances Agaba represented Uganda at the UN's Global Hip Hop Summit in South Africa. Saba Saba performed at the Summit, hosted by Guru of Gangstarr and featuring. In 2005 Saba Saba released a single and video "Tujababya". He was nominated for both best hip hop artist and best hip hop single in the 2005 Pearl of Africa Music Awards.[1] By the beginning of 2006 he released the album titled `Tujjababya the hardway' which highlights the tribulations of a Ugandan hiphop artist. Songs from this album include Wansi Wagalu that addressed police brutality, and an accompanying video which documented the riots in Kampala during the 2005 presidential campaign. Tujjababya is now a hiphop community anthem celebrating the suppressions of the local hiphop artist by the main stream media.

In 2006 Saba Saba began a quest to introduce thousands of Americans to the sounds of Lugaflow and inspire dialogue about African history and the globalization of African hip hop. In April 2006 he performed at the International Trinity College Annual International Hip Hop Festival, Hartford, CT. Since performing there in April, Saba has performed in New York City at the Prospect Park African Festival alongside artists KÉKÉLÉ and LAGBAJA., at the 9:30 Club in Washington, DC, and at Syracuse University's Amnesty International Benefit Concert for Sudan. In 2006 and 2007 he performed with Michael Franti at the Power to the Peaceful festival in San Francisco.

In 2006 he was featured in the documentary Diamonds in the Rough: A Ugandan Hip Hop Revolution.[2] The documentary was produced by 3rdi aka Brett Mazurek, about the efforts of Bataka Squad members Saba Saba and Babaluku using music to inspire and bring hope to the young children of Uganda who are facing great odds, such as AIDS and poverty. He also appeared as a panelist and performer for Harvard University’s Conference "African Youth Development through Art and Technology – The Role of African Hip Hop" in 2008. Saba is currently completing his next solo album, Cup of Coffee with... It will feature the single "Obwavu Koondo" ("Poverty and Fate") which tells the true story of Ugandan women beaten to death by her husband because of her concern over her children's fate after he sold their home. Saba Saba has recently released the single and video "Harambe".

1st Video Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l6BNwH5-Sxk&list=UUq7tGCswf8vRl4crK9BTvHw&index=8&feature=plcp

2nd Video Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GdWoJP2pfxk&feature=relmfu


Alex speaks at several universities every year and there has been a