Rachman Nachman’s new music video – Mulembe!
Friend of Kulanu Rachman Nachman has a new song out!
See below for a personal message from him describing his video and why it’s important:
My name is Rachman Nagwere; I’m also known as Rachman Nachman, age 31, a practicing Jew in the Abayudaya community in eastern Uganda, living in Brooklyn. I converted to Judaism officially in 2008 after having been raised as a Muslim in a country where being Jewish was not widely recognized.
My mother died in 1996 and my father was confined to Kenya for political reasons. Our parents left us without guidance in terms of faith due to their life circumstances. I really needed to be close to God, and while taking a walk one day, I stumbled across a Jewish school which is one of Kulanu’s projects. There I found a place where I felt that I fit in. This is when I met my first Hebrew teacher, Madam Chaya Weinstein.
I have always been in love with music, but the Hebrew language, Hebrew music, and, in general, Middle Eastern music spoke to me in a certain way. Now, I try to sing songs with a message to the world.
After becoming Jewish, I helped the rabbi by serving as a cantor and rabbinical assistant following a few years of Yeshiva classes. I later joined youth leadership in 2009 as an ethics minister and closed as president in 2014. Together with the other youths we formed Abayudaya Youth Music Artist group, and have together made a couple of good songs. These songs can be found on YouTube; the songs include Jews in Africa and Shalom Mirembe.
There have been many disasters and a war in Uganda, and I wrote this song because of the current situation there. A greeting in Eastern Uganda spoken by the Bagisu people (which is my tribe) is Mulembe. This greeting is special to my Abayudaya community because it is a direct translation from Shalom. The founder of the Abayudaya, Semei Kakungulu, moved to Eastern Uganda and settled in the area which now is the headquarters of Abayudaya. He was a public figure who had a lot of power. He changed the greeting of the Bagisu people who used the old greeting (Shikamoo) of the ancestors which is still used in Tanzania.
Kakungulu found Shalom as a very nice way to say hello, and he translated it into the Luganda language as Mirembe, which means peace. He then presented it to my people who later blended it to Mulembe.
I travelled to Uganda to visit my home and to bring some food, using the money I had just raised here in the USA to help, since it was a tough period with a lot of famine. While there, I recorded this song and got positive responses from the public and got to do some radio interviews.
With the help of my friend Edward Rensin and videographer Rebecca Israel, I managed to come up with good ideas for the video which also features a group of traditional young artists known as Hope Cultural Troupe. I am partly managing this group, helping to see that the kids get to benefit from their talent. I am sending a message of peace but also showing the cultural life of Uganda, and looking for opportunities to improve lives for people such as these kids who are featured.
It would please me very much if you would click on this link to my video and share it with others: bit.ly/mulembebyrachman