Opira Morise Kato – The mother of Aluku

Published on January 18, 2014 by Evert Aalten

Scandal Studios – Ugandan Recordings

Opira sings in Acholi-language and plays on a traditional Ugandan instrument called ‘Adungu’. He made this acoustic instrument into an electrical one. With some built-in pickups (out of an old radio) powered by batteries and two Sony HiFi speakers, he is good to go!

Opira Morise Kato: “This song tells the story of a man during the war in northern Uganda. One day he arrived at his garden and did not find his wife there. At home, he didn’t see his wife either and started asking their son Aluku where his mother could be. Aluku answered that his mother went to town. But where did she get the money to travel to town? During this time, there was a lack of money and many women ran off with soldiers. The man decided to go look for her.

He started the quest for his wife in Kitgum, from there he was directed to Lira, Soroti and Mbale. In Tororo he finally found her in the buspark. He asked her many questions, but she pretended she didn’t know him and she didn’t understand Acholi language. Instead, she answered him in a different language. The man did not understand what she was saying and went back home. Later he heard that his wife had travelled to Malawa.

In the meantime, the simsim had dried and was now ready to be sold. Aluku asked if he could sell some of the simsim. The price of simsim per kilo in those days was 250 Shillings in Kitgum and 600 Shillings in Lira. But Aluku didn’t want to go there, he told his father he wanted to go to Malawa. Aluku reached Malawa and managed to sell all the simsim. He found his mother and together they decided to keep the money and started enjoying life. They went to bars and drank as much as they could. Aluku also bought a motorbike. One day, Aluku caused a big accident with his motorbike whereby he lost all his teeth, broke two arms and a leg. When this news reached the man in Kitgum, he sent Aluku and his mother a message, telling them that they should never come back home again.”

* Production: Evert Daniel Aalten
Camera: Karin van Bemmel


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