The Legend Moses Matovu Comes Alive at Qwela Junction Sax Aces

By Joel Ntwatwa

September 2, 2015

Sax Aces
It’s a great idea to have a jazz concert on a Sunday evening. For one, you’re going to have the aficionados in attendance ready to extract every ounce of enjoyment. There’s no stress of traffic jam to make it to the concert, no after work fatigue. You have a fresh mind.

Qwela’s Junction Series so far always happen on Sunday and the Sax Aces edition was no different. The show, a first of its kind, brought together Uganda’s saxophone aces on the same stage.

Set to kick off at six in the evening, there was already a crowd gathering in the foyer of Serena’s Conference Centre by five. The crowd was well balanced between Kampala’s beautiful young and audacious crowd, and the older and more erudite.

Crowd at Qwela Junction Sax Aces

The concert started after seven and was hosted by Denzel whose humour is still a little advanced for even the Kampala crowd that watches The Daily Show. Nonetheless, his confidence and cheerful demeanor got us into a warm kick off.

The opening act of a concert is the chance for any artist to get themselves into the deep corners of the audience’s hearts. Kenneth Mugabi made sure he used his ten minutes excellently. His voice range, lyricism, guitar skills plus crowd engaging magic not only got us the crowd on their feet but singing along. “Naki, be my lover” was so emotively done it got the concert off to a great start.

Kenneth Mugabi Sam Kimera Sax Aces

Kimera followed after and impressed with his spoken word improvisation. The words slide off his tongue as easily as the soprano in his voice.

After the opening acts, Isaiah Katumwa came on to introduce the Sax Aces, welcoming on stage Happy K, Michael Kitanda, Mo Roots and Joseph Sax who kicked off with an invigorating sax version of Beyoncé’s “Crazy in Love”.

quartet Qwela Junction Sax Aces

The music on the night was a journey of genres whose common factor was the saxophone. The four saxophonists took turns to wow the audience mostly with their own compositions and once in a while renditions of folk song from Uganda. Joe Kahiri, accompanied the quartet as Qwela gave the back up for all the pieces.

Mo Roots Qwela Junction Sax Aces

Mo Roots maintained her Princess factor, stunning not only in her lovely blue dress but mellowing out such soulful tunes. I’m certain a soul or two sobbed inside.

The list of Aces on stage would grow with the debut of Brian Mugenyi clad in an all-white suit complete with tailcoat! Even though we were told he had been doing this for three years, you could tell from his blowing, there’s been more to his skill than what we’ve been exposed to! Brian is in the league of showmen! Set to dazzle and zazzle! It was great to see his magic on stage.

Qwela Junction Sax Aces 3


Fenon beautifully weaved into the musical performance a series of artistic graphics to match with the songs and themes. The stage was not only musically resplendent, it was visually impressive.
When Isaiah finally got on, not to give a speech but to perform, it was clear why he had so quickly rose to a household name in Africa. His suave swooning of the sax sent shivers down spines.

Isaiah Katumwa Qwela Junction Sax Aces-

Moses Matovu’s grace, power, versatility. There’s no way to put it properly in words. With over forty years of experience it was fitting that he came on to crown the show as the finest of the Sax Aces. Moses has been doing music since before Amin’s time and on the night he performed Afrigo classics which the crowd could not help but get emotional to.


Seven Aces. A mix of the old and new, the fresh and veteran, this Qwela Junction was a tribute to beautiful music that can be enjoyed across all ages and generations.

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