a blind, Ugandan-born musician is a master of the lokembe,
or thumb piano, and is regularly heard on CBC Radio. During a recent
visit to Uganda, Achilla was awarded the title of "King of the
Lukembé". Currently based in Toronto, Canada, Achilla
has developed an international reputation for his kalimba (lukembé)
When he attended the Madera special school for the blind in Soroti
Teso in the early seventies, his extraordinary musical talent was
recognized and developed. It was during this period that his love
for with traditional thumb piano was discovered.
A little instrument like a thumb piano changed the life of this yet
to be great musician and he later became able to make it speak in
'many languages'. After winning the Junior award for his skill in
the playing the instrument, he broke the tradition of having the lokembe
predominantly played by males when he presented 12 girl students of
Barkley High School from Iganga playing the lokembe. They were the
best in that category.
In Canada, he put together a group called Achilla Orru and Baana
Africa. The group has performed widely in Canada and is a favorite
for charitable events. Among the members of the band is Godfrey Sejikoba
who is described as a 'true bass player' He has been playing instruments
since he was in high school back in Uganda and has been part of many
bands in Uganda and England. Sejikoba was formally with the famous
Mixed Talents. He has also toured many areas in the great lakes region
of Eastern Africa like Kenya, Rwanda and others.
His, Te-kwarro is is dedicated to the elders and the clan leaders
(Edongo) who have done very well and great things for the people of
Ethurr (Labwor). It praises the cultural traditions, ways and cuisines
including courtship, leadership, conflict resolution, and the spirit
of pulling together in times of need and celebration
Christian Carver (Director - African Musical Instruments, makers
of the Original Hugh Tracey Kalimbas), in his review of 'Te-kwarro
states, "My small experience of the music of Uganda has been
in choral music, in xylophone and harp music, some end blown flute,
and in drumming. I had heard of the Kalimba (or Lokembe) bands, but
had not experienced them first hand.
Achilla captures for me the ambience of central Africa - vibrancy,
energy, colour, humor, open space. I particularly like the track he
has called 'The Hero's Praises' , which transports me instantly to
a bus trip from Kampala to Kasese in Uganda, where similar music was
always played over the speakers, and the lush green landscape flowed
past the outside, while all of life carried on around you on the inside.
During a brief tour with a Ugandan choir in the U.K. music like this
was our anchor to home".
He had a CD Release Party on May 29 2004 Glenn Gould Studio, CBC
Building where his new CD Dho-Mach (Sacred Gift) was available for
You can visit his official website at