Tell me about yourself.
I’m a Ugandan professional musician, son of Mr and Ms Mayanja Samuel of Namirembe, and an ardent follower of Jesus Christ. I’m eagerly waiting for His second coming. I come from a Christian family of three brothers and four sisters.
What kind of performer are you?
I’ m a crossover performer. I fuse Classical music and Contemporary with African Jazz. This makes my fans enjoy my music. I like doing my best because it is what sells me.
How and why did you pick the violin?
I picked the violin because I admire the art of playing all musical keys on only four strings. It is a unique sound but above all. It is one of the few instruments highly appreciated by both musicians and non-musicians. It is hard to learn so few people play the instrument. The violin creates an emotional tone if played by a professional.
When did you start playing the violin?
In October 2007, after I had started learning to play the piano, because the piano is the foundation of all musical instruments. The love for the violin, inspires and encourages me, but above all it is God.
Which other instrument would you like to play and why?
I would like to play the guitar to create different rhythms and style. Learning the guitar would be easier because it has frets/ bar lines which are easy to grasp when you have played for some time unlike the violin. The guitar also belongs to the string family just like the violin. I also play the piano, viola and the organ and sing because voice is the first God-given instrument.
How did you conceive the idea of starting to play the violin?
It was after watching different videos of Taro Hakase’s duet song To Love You More with Celine Dion, violinist David Garret playing Michael Jackson’s popular songs such as Smooth Criminal on violin among others. I realised it is possible to create different styles and genres on the violin, not only classical music such as Mozart and Beethoven’s music as many think.
Where do you usually perform?
I perform at concerts, corporate events on invitation in Kampala and other cities. I perform at church, weddings, dinners and other functions organised at Serena Kampala Hotel, Kampala Sheraton Hotel and Speke Resort hotels.
What have you achieved from playing the violin?
I have travelled across the African continent, got connections with successful and highly educated people and live a comfortable life in and outside Uganda. I have also gotten a chance to rub shoulders with notable people such as His Excellency the president of Uganda at the different receptions I perform at.
Are any of your siblings performers?
No, but some of my relatives are singers at Namirembe Cathedral Choir.
Why are you the only one with the talent?
I believe we are all gifted differently but it is friends and relatives I grew up with that influenced me. I also loved being active when I was young which helped me achieve targets in my life. I always made myself familiar with musical instruments.
Do people take you seriously when they find out that you play a violin?
Yes, they do, especially those with a musical educational background. It is such people who know how hard it is to play the violin. The rest of the people only take me serious after they see me play or hear my music since most of them do not believe a few Ugandans can play the violin professionally.
Did you always want to be a violinist?
Yes, but I do other businesses as well. The violin is not yet popular around East African so one cannot have that as their source of income.
What else do you do apart from playing the violin?
I organise Talent Expo Concerts annually in Kampala and Nairobi which expose young musicians, encourage talent and help them gain confidence.
How do you balance all these?
By organising myself, setting targets and following them closely and realising where my strength lies.
Are you married?
No but it is in the pipeline. Since marriage is but a lifetime commitment. You have to make a one-time decision which I’ m not yet ready for.
Do you have a girlfriend?
It would be a lie if I said no. I do have one.
Does she like you playing for her the violin?
Of course you know how ladies love the violin. The soothing sounds take away her worries about earthly struggles and makes her think she is on a different planet. It is not only her but most women. When I perform, they tell me my sounds inspire and make them relax. They really love it when I play over and over again.