Recognised as one of the pioneers of contemporary Ugandan music, Ragga Dee was born in 1973 to the family of Mr and Mrs George William Kyeyune - a judge in Uganda. With 18 albums under his belt this artist has been around. Famous in the mid 1990's for producing hits like Bamusakata and Mukwano while part of a group called Da Hommies, today, he is known for songs like Mpeta, Mbawe and Nugu. He has won the Pearl of Africa Music Award for best Ragga artiste of the year as well as the Best Male Artist of the year and was profiled on BBC. In 2005 his reggae Album was crowned the Best Album at the Golden Awards in Uganda. Known for also being a comedian, Ragga Dee's music is an amalgamation of do reggae, ragga, hip-hop, and Lingala. He has performed at several of the Ugandan North American conventions.
He also does charity work and has been involved with Public Services International (PSI), an NGO which fights Aids in Uganda. He does road shows with PSI, encouraging safe sex and highlighting the HIV issue. One of the things which sets Ragga Dee apart from many other musicians is his business acumen. He has a degree in Business Administration and uses it to negotiate good concert payments as well as endorsements from companies such as MTN and Club beer. In the 90's he co-owned a nightclub at Sheraton Hotel called Crocodiles which gave him the foundation to enter Uganda's showbiz.
He is currently on tour, performing in the UK and will be starting his North American tour in Toronto in May 21st, 2006 courtesy of Zink Productions a Ugandan-owned, Canadian-based promoting firm. He will also be performing in Ottawa, Edmonton, Vancouver and the USA.
Tell us a bit more about you. Who is Ragga Dee?
My true names are Daniel Kyeyune Kazibwe aka, Ragga Dee. It all becomes Ragga Dee after adding raga music and the Daniel at the end.
When did you first start singing?
I started singing during my nursery days. I can't tell the right date I started exactly. I think it is past a decade but I remember my hottest hits come out around the late 80s and the early 90s especially in 1994 with the Bamusakata song.
In a Monitor interview, you describe your musical style as Ugandan-Zairois intermix. What exactly is that?
I am a versatile artist and I call my music everything but mainly depending on what people term your music you just keep producing more. I do reggae, ragga, soukous, kwaito, and the bongo flava style meaning that I myself don't term my music as that but I fuse ideas from music around the world to make a sound suitable for all ears. For example Mpeta is ragga with Afropop and zoukish sounds.
When did you fall in love with reggae music?
Reggae music is like a language in life. The reason I fell in love with reggae its not so difficult to do as compared to other sounds.
You had a super hit Bamusakata, when you was still part of Da Hommies. What does it mean?
Bamusakata is a simple song without any hard meaning. It's a song about a woman who cheats on a man and was punished for it. Okusakata is to punish or to beat someone thoroughly.
Did it really have a dirty or sexual meaning behind it?
The song did not have any dirty meaning but the club-goers make their own remixes so you can't stop them.
What about the song Mpeta (The ring)?
What inspired the song Mpeta was a day to day life situation. One time we went to a club and we saw someone who was beaten for taking someone's money for grabs.
You are known as one of the pioneers of contemporary Ugandan music. You were there long before a lot of these present day musicians became known. How were you able to maintain longetivity in the Ugandan music business?
I have been able to be on this music scene for a long time due to a number of factors. There is my home background, my education, my brains to think straight, the struggle I have been through to actually become Ragga Dee. Some of the new artists you have seen and heard don't know what they call a pay slip or a wage.
Most of your music is done in Luganda, which is carefully blended with phrases in English. Is singing in Luganda a conscious decision you have made? Why?
My music is done in all languages but mainly Luganda because at least 70 percent of the people in Uganda understand Luganda. If I become big at home it means I am gonna spread worldwide but wisely.
Do you speak any other languages?
I speak a little bit of French and Lingala. While living in London, UK in my early years, I used to live with Aurlus Mabele the singer.