Australian based, Ugandan Singer, Karinda Mutabazi, Performs in The Lion King

Australian based, Ugandan Singer, Karinda Mutabazi, Performs in The Lion King

April 06 08:11 2011 Visitors ~ 9,096 views Print This Article

Australian singer, Karinda Mutabazi, is several months into performing The Lion King in Sydney. Despite eight performances a week, and several costume changes a show, Karinda can’t get enough of the Lion King’s music… And her enthusiasm is contagious. Talk to her for longer than a minute and already you’re floating around on stage with lions, hyenas and plants of the savannah, while the chorus of South African music sends you off with the clouds.

“I feel really lucky to act and sing in the Lion King ensemble,” says Karinda – and as for the music, “I could listen to it all day.”

Part of the appeal, Karinda admits, is in the style of the music. “It’s challenging to perform,” she says. “The way you use your voice is different and the language is different – Zulu and Xhosa.”

While Karinda has African roots (her father originally comes from Uganda), the Zulu and Xhosa sounds were new to her. She had to learn the shape of vowels and the rhythm of the language – something that fellow cast members from South Africa were more than willing to help her do. “It’s been really important to have South Africans in the ensemble,” says Karinda, “They have been great tutoring people and, in terms of music, you just can’t beat that authentic African sound.”

Karinda delights in the Lion King’s multinational cast, with performers coming from diverse Asian, Australian, Pacific and international backgrounds. “We learn a lot from each other, about each other’s cultures, how things are done, different people bring in different dishes – it’s been really great,” she says.

The audience, too, are a source of inspiration. “The energy from the audience is amazing,” says Karinda, “And to have them appreciate the show is the best thing about singing – it’s like giving them a part of yourself.”

A love of performing has always been with Karinda, from acting in primary school productions to theatrical ambitions in high school – a time when The Lion King had just started on Broadway, and Karinda recalls thinking, “I’d love to be in that!”

Several years later, after completing a Bachelor of Performing Arts at Monash University and landing a part in the stage musical, Hair, Karinda finally had the opportunity to fulfil that dream. After a few auditions she was selected to play Sarabi and to perform in the local Lion King ensemble.

While the cast were preparing for the show, she was impressed by the presence of Lion King creator Julie Taymor, whose intricate designs and costumes are the hallmark of the show. “She really made everything authentically African,” says Karinda, “right down to the make-up, which is designed from tribal make-up and African paintings, to the ornate costumes – the corsets we wear, for example, are so ornate and accurate with beads from Africa.”

And what of Karinda’s future after the Lion King, with its rich African flavour – is she worried about being typecast? “When I first started I thought that my background might be a disadvantage in the industry – but I’ve come to learn it’s an advantage – there’s a lot of work for people like me in new theatre areas” And she advises other performers facing similar doubts to go for it: “This is our time!”

For more on the cast and story of The Lion King, see

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Ugandan Diaspora Team
Ugandan Diaspora Team

The Uganda Diaspora Network is a forum aimed at bringing together Ugandans who live and work abroad by celebrating their contributions overseas and also encouraging them to give of their time, talents, ideas and expertise whilst inspiring the next generation of Ugandan leaders. Every year the Ugandan Diaspora Network will organize an annual Social Networking Gala and will also produce a quarterly publication highlighting the successes of the various Ugandans residing overseas. Please send us those inspirational stories and philanthropic work involving Ugandans abroad. We shall share these stories using this platform that is rapidly growing and expanding. The Next Diaspora Social Networking Gala will be Held on 30th December 2016 at The Kampala Serena Hotel.

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1 Comment

  1. Stephen Kabiito
    October 18, 06:04 #1 Stephen Kabiito

    Go for it Karinda Mutabazi!Am proud of u.Am Ugandan too in de diaspora in American Samoa and Timor Leste.Hope when am in Darwin will get to watch your performance.

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