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Geoffrey Oryema

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Geoffrey Oryema was an iconic singer from Uganda who fled Idi Amin's brutal regime in 1977 when he was just 24 and, based in France, became an internationally famous performer acclaimed for singing in Swahili, Acholi, English and French languages. He died from cancer in June 2018 and received accolades from around the world.

Born in eastern Uganda, he learned to play traditional music as a child and toured the nation with the national dance company led by his mother. He started to write songs and had taken an interest in drama when his politician father was murdered and he was smuggled out of the country. In Paris, he performed in clubs until 1989 when he was invited to appear at the WOMAD international arts festival in England. Brian Eno produced his debut album 'Exile' in 1991 and his follow-up 'Beat the Border' in 1993. His other albums were 'Night to Night' (1997), 'Spirit' (2000), 'The Odysseus' (2002), 'Words' (2004) and 'From the Heart' (2010).

Always involved in human rights activities, he performed with Peter Gabriel at the Live 8: Africa Calling and Live 8 Edinburgh concerts in 2005 and he returned to his homeland for the first time in 40 years for a concert in 2016.