The last time… I wrote something about this topic… I promised you that Hipipo.com will elite you more about people in the past who have made a great contribution to the development of music in Uganda, some till today, never get acknowledged in anyway.
In our previous edition, we talked about the great contribution of Philly Bongole Lutaaya (RIP) to the Uganda music industry. How he commanded a whole new path/ genre of music in Uganda. And as for today we continue to know some of the other individuals who too have played a significant role in the industry. I will take you back to the late 80s, when Pop, Soul , RnB, rap/hip-hop, reggae/dancehall ragga music culture, was starting to catch up in the discos/night clubs and even the few media houses that existed then. Back then the only way to watch or play urban music, was with either having a VCR player in your living room, or the few people who owned LP players and a majority of the people would only own cassettes, it was the only alternative way, one would purchase or even own urban music, so many young people in sub Sahara Africa then were starting to idolize the American culture, with the mightyness of people like Madonna, Michael Jackson, Steve wonder, Linoel Richie and all those who fell in the category of pop culture, Uganda was not left out.
Infact I recall that in the 80s they annually held a break dancing competition, that saw a Ugandan champion attend the Malibu contest, and the notable ones that once won this championship, include the self proclaimed Ugandan billionaire who of recent bid to buy an English premiership team in February 2004, his name is Michael Ezra, and the other is one of the most prolific preachers of today and anti homosexual activist Pastor Martin Ssempa, then there was Sunday mobile who won the championships many times, the last time I saw him, he was doing acrobatic road shows in Jinja , then here was another young man who too won the championship but I can say, he took this to another level by not only winning the dancing contest but too he became a successful artist, his name was Isaac Rucibigango they all idolized the great American dancers like Electric Boogaloo and the rest.
After all the dancing… Spinning, front & back flips and electric breaking dancing, and even after emulating the fashion appearance of artists from the western world, all what Ugandans were left out with was to sing exactly like the British and Americans did, in order to suit the shoes of their Idols from the west.
And a lot of young people were creating up singing groups then, but most of them never came original, all they did was like miming the Americans. then here came a group of 4 young men, Dennis Sempebwa, Paul Serukenya,Isaac Ruccibigango, Paul Mutebi though it ended up having 3 permanent members namely Dennis Ssempebwa,Paul Mutebi and the past dancing champion Isaac Ruccibigango,the two Dennis and Paul with a very humble Christian background, brought up under the guidance of reknown preacher Robert kayanja of the miracle centre rubaga,and it’s a fact they are some of the real pioneers of the miracle centre church choir, they were joined by then their respected contemporary (secular) friend Isaac, who they had convinced to come over to their church and do some singing but he later too accepted Jesus as his savior, they were some of the band members of their new church group The New Wave Band, The group gained even more popularity as co-hosts with their pastor Robert Kayanja, in a weekly show on Uganda National Television in 1988 and soon became a household name. In 1989, the group moved to London, England and changed their name as their ministry expanded to new frontiers, in the midst of hopelessness, these talented young men found a refuge in God and music With high aspirations, the group eventually took the name Limit X, Since the unlimited power of God had been so evident in their own lives, they changed their name to ‘LIMIT X’, which means “our God has no limits”. using X mathematically, it means the unknown, so in simple words, all they meant, their limit was unknown in whatever field they engaged in, with God’s power.
LIMIT X came with a new sound, they fused English, Swahili, luganda, Zulu and many more languages in their songs. They had lived in the UK for a while, singing in church like they did in Uganda, They quickly became one of the most prominent gospel music groups in the U.K. In 1992, LIMIT X won the Club 291 contest. Which was the British version of the New York Apollo Contest. In the same year, they won the award for “Best British New Artist” at the D.M.I. European Music Awards (then equivalent to the American Dove Awards). In addition, their first CD, Unashamed made its way into Britain’s Top Ten Recommended Gospel Albums Charts.
In Uganda this was never heard before, gospel artists who danced, with a very high concentrated urban fashion dressing, with very hilarious haircuts, they were our own new Edition, they brought hip-hop, soul, RnB,reggae dancehall and fused it with an afro beat sound, and believe me there songs quickly got into the night clubs, this was gospel music that got young people back to the church than the traditional churches that had existed before. When FM Radio was launched in Uganda in 1993, LIMIT X was one of the few Ugandan groups that constantly got air play on the radio stations then.
LIMIT X continued to release more music albums that had songs like the famous MALIBONGWE in 1994, FALLEN IN LOVE, J.E.S.U.S, SEND ME in 1997, ABBA FATHER and many more that got them make a mark on the world gospel music industry, making them get hosted on some of the biggest TV shows on TBN an American Christian television, and CBN’s TURNING POINT, Limit X have been featured on several TV shows, including the ones hosted by Bobby Jones and Leon Patillo, and on radio stations across America, plus TransWorld and the BBC World Service and many more shows, they performed with the likes of the legendary Steve Wonder, Heszkail Walker, Cece Winans and many more artist.
LIMIT X toured the world for concerts that saw them perform in ASIA, EUROPE, NORTH AMERICA, SOUTH AMERICA AND AFRICA, and they may be the only Ugandan artists/group that have performed in all continents. Some of their biggest shows were in JAPAN in Asia and ARGENTINA in South America, this had more than 70,000 people in attendance,
In Uganda every time LIMIT X came over for a concert, it was home coming and fans would attend in 1000s and even people who were not Christians would come over, Limit X continued to win lots of awards worldwide, And the success of LIMIT X, inspired lots of young people to get into music, especially groups, that saw other groups like BIRD, FIRST LOVE, SAUTI and many more come up from church.
LIMIT X, did their last studio album as a group in the 2000 called FOR REAL, and they too did a collection of their favorite hits in 2002 that features some of their biggest hits. The group later took a break that saw the remaining single member Isaac Ruccibigango get married and he left California to settle in Uganda, where he started up a company called fishnet or FishneXt that does events management, music & audio productions, then Dennis Sempebwa accomplished his studies in theology that saw him become doctor and he does ministry in Chicago called Eagle’s wings international that empowers leaders, and saw Paul Mutebi pursue a solo carrier since then, he is based in Lakeville, Minnesota where he has continued to do music preaching the word of God.
I know most of the LIMIT X fans like me, must have been like, how could they end it like that, atleast they would have first won a Grammy but the brothers spent more than 17 years performing and touring, they even didn’t have homes them, apart from hotel apartments, they lived on the roads and on planes, city to city, country to country, you know the life of a superstar. They didn’t spend more time with their families and now these dudes were in the late 30s now, so they needed a break, we at Hipipo.com we salute LIMIT X for the contribution they made in the Ugandan music industry, we can never forget all those got rhythms and the joy they brought to us and the entire world, like one writer said listening to Limit x it’s like meeting Boyz 2 Men and the Black Mambazo at the same time and I can never doubt how talented and gifted they were, though all you LIMIT X fans out there, maybe some of you are getting to hear them for the first time after reading this, the good news is that, the brothers just want to do it for all of us ONE MORE TIME, they are doing one album, and it may be out next year, hope we don’t wait forever, like am still waiting for one from DR Dre.
And in our next edition of the revolution of Ugandan music HIPIPO.COM will continue to talk about more people who have made great contribution to this industry of Uganda music, as we both enjoy the current sounds of Radio & weasel, Bobi Wine, Cindy, Blu 3 and all the rest who rock charts today, its good we know those that lived in the past that made it all happen for those doing it today.
For the LIMIT X guys or anyone who happens to know them, you need to know, we can’t wait to listen to the album, I Know you guys can still dance, especially Rucci…so make one more tour for your fans, as the saying says, there’s no limit to what God can do.