If you ask singer, songwriter, and actor Mukama what his motivation is behind his career, he’d probably tell you, “I always loved music.” Born in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, Mukama Morandi, by day is an account manager, but when he’s not managing accounts, he’s making music and connections with other artists. Although his accomplishments have been many, there have been times in his life when, “inspiration was my biggest gig and I had no band…not even my own guitar. I just wrote songs and sang,” he said. Similar to many artists, Mukama has been faced with setbacks; however, it was these difficult times that allowed him to enhance his craft.
With his eye on a very broad territory as a young man, Mukama received a scholarship to study in Norway, at the University of Bergen. Although he received a B.A. at this University, he was also pursuing his music dreams by making connections with a variety of musicians. He also starred in a theatre production during college as well. He eventually began to consider moving to the U.S. to pursue his artistic dreams and was hosted by his cousin when he arrived.
After meeting popular groups such as Les Exodus and Innocence, they gave Mukama good word that the Twin Cities was a great place to enhance his music career. He arrived in the Twin Cities in 1995 and shortly after released his self-titled album called, “Mukama,” which means “King.” He also wrote ninety percent of the songs on this album. “My music is kind of hard to describe, I just let people listen and see.” However, if you ask Mukama to describe his music style he’d say, “it’s a mixture of pop, R&B and reggae with an African flavor…I’m between the old and new school. I like innovative music,” he stated.
Several years after releasing his album, from 1997 to 2003, Mukama became loosely involved in the Twin Cities arts community and spent more time developing his skill on his own. He eventually starred in a film called “Bogoland” by Josiah Kibira. He was later featured in another Kibira film called, “Tusamehe,” which means ‘forgive us’ in Swahili. Although Mukama had a small role in this film, he wrote a song for the soundtrack titled, “Save the World,” which is a song and video that deals with the sensitive topic of AIDS.
This song and video includes a collaboration of artists from various African countries and the U.S.A. Mukama directed the music video and personally received a special award for it this past December 2007 at the New York AIDS Film Festival.
Mukama states that he wants to reach out more and perform in the Twin Cities. “You just never know what may come your way…and the plans I have for this year is to attend more festivals…I’ll be out there, you’ll be hearing from me.”
Mukama Morandi will be the artist of the month at the next African Global Roots event today at T’s Place (Restaurant and Bar.