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Biography

  • Born

    16 April 1953

  • Born In

    Soroti, Soroti, Eastern, Uganda

  • Died

    22 June 2018 (aged 65)

Geoffrey Oryema (16 April 1953 – 22 June 2018) was an internationally renowned Ugandan musician. In 1977 after the murder of his father, Erinayo Wilson Oryema, who was a cabinet minister in the government of Amin he began his life in exile. At the age of 24, and at the height of Idi Amin's power, Oryema was smuggled across the Ugandan border in the trunk of a car.

He sang in the languages of his youth, Swahili and Acholi, the languages of the lost country, the 'clear green land' of Uganda, and he also sang in English and French.

Oryema earned his international reputation on the release of his second album, Beat the Border. He had collaborated with Peter Gabriel and others, and was backed by French musicians including Jean-Pierre Alarcen (guitar) and Patrick Buchmann (drums, percussion, backing vocals), touring with WOMAD in Australia, the USA, Japan, Brasil and Europe. In 1994 the band performed at Woodstock 94 celebrating the 25th anniversary of the legendary festival.

Gabriel's record label, Real World, helped with the first three of Oryema's albums, before his move to Sony International, a label established in France, where Oryema had lived since his exile.

In July 2005, he performed at the LIVE 8: Africa Calling concert in Cornwall, and with 1 Giant Leap at the Live 8 Edinburgh concert.

Discography

Exile (1990)
Beat the Border (1993)
Night to Night (1996)
Spirit (2000)
The Odysseus/Best Of (2002)
Words (2004)
From The Heart (Released on Long Tale Recordings) (2010)

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