Monday, September 11, 2006

For Iryn love does not ask why

EDGAR R. BATTE
She came into the limelight when she joined Da Hommies which was made up of Ragga Dee and Deejay Messe. At the time, her popularity rode on the fame of her single "Learn to Say Goodbye." She was a novice to music. As a kid, Irene Namubiru sang in the church choir, having drawn inspiration from her mother and one of the church ushers in the neighbourhood Jaaja Sikyeyama. Come rain or sunshine, she was always in time every Sunday for the seven o'clock mass where she sang in Sunday school choir. For this, she became a favourite with the church flock who identified with the little girl who loved music. Little did they know that she was destined to make it in life as a star. Iryn is the voice behind songs like Nkuweki, Zinsanze, Simbalala, Sembera, Ensi, Lwaki Onzanyirako, featuring Bebe Cool, Nujeri, which was nominated for the Kora Awards, among other songs.
'Made in Namasagali'As a skilled young artiste, when Iryn joined Namasagali College School, it was a dream come true. This was when Namasagali College ruled the theatre. It had produced local stars like Alex Ndaula, Goldies man Bangi, Ronnie Mulindwa of Obsessions as well as other artistes. Music was her first love and at college, she was popular for her acts especially when she performed during the school arts days. She had a great voice and singing being one of the in-things in school, she won popularity from her peers.
LOVELY: Iryn (above), and her husband Franck Morel and their son Eko Morel (below). Photos by Willy Tamale.
However, there was one among all the many. He left a mark on Iryn. "Douglas Ismael was the guy. He was in a class lower than me. When I was in my S.6 I cant quite recollect how it all began but I just found myself in love with this guy and precisely everything about him. He was definitely handsome but there was something more to his looks that was deeply infectious." The attraction between them grew and whenever they could, they met simply to talk and share tit bits of teenage romance. They walked by the River Nile and had a chat. Soon they became a common sight on the school compound.Meanwhile, Iryn's friends could not understand the chemistry between her and Douglas; they said she was stooping low for a younger guy. She just didn't care and turned a deaf ear. Nothing could stop the feeling inside that seemed so strong. Neither could she fight it. She simply wished it could grow stronger. At some point she found that the love she felt within was almost eternal. "It was like music within me and I just didn't want it to stop playing because it made me feel like I had never felt before. Douglas made me feel like a lady. He always raised my spirits; being together was satisfying in itself," Iryn recounts. This lasted a year and when Iryn left college, she lost touch with Douglas as well, the last she heard was that he was a contestant for Mr. Namasagali College.
A big heart for the children When Iryn talks about children, it is with affection. The subject carries her away. She feels she could do so much if she had more means. On June 8, during her album, Nkuweki launch, she also unveiled her foundation, “Together for the Children foundation”."So many children out there are suffering because of different reasons and I believe we can do something however little. Some of these have been orphaned to HIV/Aids." For a start, she donated all the proceeds from her launch concert to the foundation, a charity organisation she co-owns with her French music partner Julien Grot. She is also planning to put up a children's home as well as facilitate the children with the basic needs.
Love doesn’t ask whyShe had never dreamt of dating a white man but like they say, love doesn't ask why. Iryn, like many girls, had visions of who she wanted to spend forever with; but when Franck Morel came into her life she had to rethink herself. He was so sweet she found it impossible to disappoint him. Even then, she wanted to make sure he was serious. She played hard to get and he took it easy till he got her."We met at a show. He used to perform around town with some of the jazz groups. At one time, he played with the Blue Moon Jazz band. It happened that I performed with him at one of the corporate shows and somehow, I caught his eye. Since then, he has never let go. In the beginning, I simply could not imagine myself going out with a white man, but Franck's personality demystified my fears," she recalls. Franck was affectionate, understanding, and openly shared his love with Iryn. He wanted her to allow him into her life. Soon, he took her to Paris and introduced her to his parents and family. This was in 2000. She had also introduced him to her parents who lived in Makindye. Eventually, she moved to France where more opportunities came her way. She did her degree at Stendhall University of Grenoble in France, which took two years. With her rich talent, Iryn managed to land a deal with one of the recording labels in France, Bloom Records, with whom she produced her Nujeri album. On 5th March 2003, God blessed them with a son Eko Morel-who 'has shaped her into a more responsible woman.' Nevertheless, her heart still reaches out to Uganda with love. For the future, she is looking at doing more quality music that can measure up to international standards as well as having more children.

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