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New voices from east Africa and a look back at Michael Jackson

by Daniel Brown

Article published on the 2009-10-23 Latest update 2009-10-24 10:16 TU

Suzanna Owiyo

Suzanna Owiyo

This week World Tracks features two emerging vocalists, Juliana Kanyomozi and Suzanna Owiyo, and a book on the life of Michael Jackson by French journalist Olivier Cachin.

Ever since Geoffrey Oryema sought exile in France, Uganda has struggled to export its musical wealth beyond its east African borders. Kanyomozi is trying to remedy this with her commercial Afropop, which recently included a collaboration with Tanzanian singer Bushoke.

Juliana Kanyomozi

Juliana Kanyomozi

Last year Kanyomozi she was voted artist of the year, and received Uganda’s Fashion Icon prize.

Meanwhile, Owiyo has been gracing stages across the world, including the one erected in London’s Hyde Park for Nelson Mandela’s 90th birthday. She has come a long way from the days when her grandfather taught her to play the Nyatiti.

As they both struggle to make their names known amongst western audiences, Michael Jackson, who tops the world album charts, continues to inspire debate and nostalgia.

With music fans getting into a tizzy over Michael Jackson’s posthumous song, This is it, World Tracks couldn't resist the temptation to talk with Olivier Cachin.

Olivier Cachin's book on Michael Jackson

Olivier Cachin's book on Michael Jackson

Few in France know Jackson better than this journalist, and his searching book, Pop Life, has been selling like hot cakes, following Jackson's death on 25th June.

“This was a man who for 45 years gave immense musical pleasure, but led a life of sorrow and misery,” Cachin told World Tracks from his Paris home.

“His life will remain a mystery, it’s all about opposites: black/white, man/woman, everything was colliding,” he added.

Cachin is a specialist in American urban music, who began writing Jackson's biography to coincide with the controversial comeback tour in July.

The writer was putting the finishing touches to the biography, when the tragic news of the singer’s death forced him to add an epitaph.

“This was a man who was capable of selling 800,000 tickets within a few hours for 50 comeback concerts in London," said Cachin, whose book has sold over 80,000 copies. "His death left a promise that was not fulfilled,” he added.

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