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Judith Babirye shakes off bad marriage to shine again

There is something about Judith Babirye’s music that speaks to souls. I witnessed this last Sunday at the Worship Explosion at Kasanga Miracle Centre. There was such energy in that place, nearly tangible too, that made everyone sing along with Judith. I had never witnessed anything like that in my life. No wonder someone posted a comment on the Internet saying that when Judith Babirye’s music is played, their newborn baby stops crying.
This year, Judith marks 10 years since she started singing. She says she set out on a musical path in 2001 and she has 7 albums to her name.
Some of her first songs include Wambatira and Ekitiibwakyo Mukama.
She says of her songs at that time: “My music used to make people cry so I decided to change my style but when I did, I was not so successful so I changed back to this soulful music.”
Judith Babirye takes people’s pain and puts it into her music so that she speaks to their souls.
She says of her musical journey; “I was a shy young girl when I started out. I did not like drawing attention to myself but Ps. Isaac Kiwewesi and other people put me out there such that I became a success.” In the early years of her career, Ps. Kiwewesi invited Judith – then little known and not married – to sing her songs before his lunch hour fellowship at The Plaza. Before long, hers was a household name.  That is the reason she staged her anniversary show at Kasanga Miracle Centre. And the shyness is no more going by the way she was posing for pictures. She looked to be in her element.
While singing Wanjagala, a song full of the Lord’s praises for loving her even though she is short and does not have that great a body and her nose is not a very nice one, Babirye looked loved, content and happy. Seeing her, you would never imagine that she is going through the rigours of a separation from her husband of five years, Samuel Niiwo.
The gospel singer who was catapulted into the big league by her 2007 monster hit Beera Nange, told journalists last month that she was leaving her husband due to physical and emotional abuse, as well as his lack of responsibility in the home.
Perhaps the only hint of Judith’s tumultuous marriage would have been in her 2008/9 releases of Ninda, Maria and Nzijukira – soulful yet beautiful songs that speak to many going through bad marriages and other tough situations. But still on Sunday, the mother of one was positively glowing.
And none of her popularity has waned. The crowd was there for her and no other. The curtain raisers all put together did not solicit even a quarter of the response she got. And there were many curtain raisers.
Judging by the crowd’s response, it seems like the lady is set for many more years as a musician. Part of the proceeds from this concert will go to the homeless people of Bududa. She says that the money and items collected will be delivered on March 30.
Pastor Wilson Bugembe also performed his popular Kani at this concert.

dnabiruma@observer.ug

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