Philly Lutaaya’s biography, fact, career, awards, net worth and life story

PeoplePhilly Lutaaya’s biography, fact, career, awards, net worth and life story IntroUgandan musicianWas SingerFrom UgandaType MusicGendermaleBirth

19 October 1951


15 December 1989
(aged 38 years)

Philly Bongoley Lutaaya (19 October 1951 – 15 December 1989) was a Ugandan musician who was the first prominent Ugandan to give a human face to HIV/AIDS. Before dying of AIDS, Lutaaya spent his remaining healthy time writing songs about his battle with AIDS, releasing his last album Alone and Frightened, including his famous song “Alone”, as well as touring churches and schools throughout Uganda to spread a message of prevention and hope.
Lutaaya was popular in Uganda in the 1960s, and in the 1970s he toured the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, and Japan. In the mid 1980s, he settled in Stockholm, Sweden. There he recorded his hit album Born in Africa, which is still popular in Uganda. The Nigerian-Swedish musician Dr. Alban, who has called Lutaaya “one of the greatest African musicians”, later released an album also named Born in Africa.
Lutaaya’s Christmas Album, produced in 1986, remains his most popular album to date. The album, whose songs were written in native Luganda, remains part of a strong Christmas tradition in Uganda. It included classics such as “Tumusiinze”, “Gloria”, “Merry Christmass, Oh Happy New Year”, “Azzaalidwa”, and “Zukuka” among others.
In 2015, Lutaaya was signed to the Swedish- based record company and label Afripeans.


In 2004, he won Lifetime Achievement Award at the Pearl of Africa Music Awards (PAM Awards)

Later in 2007, various Ugandan artists came together to re-record some of Lutaya’s greatest hits. Bebe Cool sang “Born in Africa”, Juliana Kanyomozi re-did “Diana”. Iryn Namubiru and Nubian Lee of Fire Base Crew both re-did “Empisazo”.


After his death at age 38, the Philly Lutaaya Initiative Association continued his work. With assistance from UNICEF, the initiative sponsors lectures in schools and communities across Uganda highlighting personal testimonials of hundreds of people infected with HIV. In Uganda, 17 October is the Philly Bongoley Lutaaya Day.



  • Merry Christmas (1987) (Remastered and re-released 11 December 2015)
  • Alone (1988) (Remastered and re- released 11 December 2015)
  • Alone II The legacy (1988) (Remastered and re-released 11 December 2015)
Compilation album
  • Born in Africa (1986) (by Various Artists) (Remastered and re-released 11 December 2015)
  • Born in Africa (The Greatest Hits of Philly Bongoley Lutaaya) (2015) (by Various Artists)
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