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Interview: Mo'Kalamity

Interview: Mo'Kalamity

Interview: Mo'Kalamity

By on - Photos by Franck Blanquin - Comment

"It seems that this music is not taken seriously by the media and music industries. We need to gather to make reggae movement progress"

Sampler

Mo’kalamity is a rising female singer based in Paris, of Cape Verdian origin. She has already released 2 albums : 'Warriors of Light' in 2009 and 'Deeper Revolution' in late 2010 (that has just been re-released). Her feel? Strictly conscious lyrics over a fresh rootsy reggae played by her band, the Wizards. As an independent artist, she has toured extensively on the local Parisian stage, in Cape Verde and in Europe, to spread her good vibrations asking us to  awake our consciences. Interview.

Mo'Kalamity

Tell us more about the imminent re-release of your second album 'Deeper Revolution'

It first came out in 2010 but it was quite a low-key release, no announcement or big distribution. The album was only available in some shops in France and at the end of our concerts. But we had positive feedback. It’s still a good surprise to see people from France to Canada or Cape Verde know our music whereas even in France, there wasn’t really any media plan to launch the release. Musicast is reissuing the album, so it will be available everywhere in France and also via Internet.

How did the story begin with your band The Wizards ?

I started as a backing vocalist in some French groups before I realized that I wanted to build my own project. I started to compose my own songs and with time I refined my artistic vision. I formed a band with musicians I already worked with and The Wizards were born! The line up changed, I met Johnson, on keyboards who also was my manager for a long time.

You mostly write in English. Why ?

I used to listen to a lot of Anglophone music and this language seems to me as more smooth whereas French sound seems to me more hard, less easy to swing… But when I write, it has to be natural. I don't limit myself. The choice of language comes naturally.

Nowadays, we can consume all and anything without immersing yourself

You played twice in Cape Verde in 2010. How was it ?

I thought I would introduce my band there but the people were perfectly aware of my history. Our first album 'Warriors of Light' (2009 - L'assos' piquante) had travelled by word of mouth. They were waiting for us. All the concerts were sold out. It was more than what we expected! It was a great experience. The reggae scene is setting up there but the local musical scene is rich with many genres and full of talented musicians.

What are your views on reggae in 2011 ?

Mo'KalamityI still buy albums because I’m not familiar with this new virtual culture. I like getting a cd in my hands when I want to listen to it and not getting a usb key with compressed mp3’s. Nowadays, we can consume all and anything without immersing yourself. All that is available, right now, it’s dangerous for me. It’s just quick consumption, it’s not good. I hope people who like our music will make the effort to buy our album.

It’s rare to see you on riddim series or as a featuring…

For various reasons. For me music is firstly sharing. To make a collaboration, we need a sharing, good vibration with the artist or the producer…I’m not looking after featurings or series just for a good reputation. I need a sharing, a musical meeting. I released various vinyl records alongside French dub producers : Junior Cony, Barbes D, Digital Rockers, Blackboard Jungle or Nyah Skanky.

In your songs, you often talk about selfishness, the hardness of the world we’re living in. Do you believe there is hope ?

Of course. I don't believe in fate. The current worldwide situation is really hard but it seems we’re coming to the end of something. It’s time to act. It’s in little actions that we can improve our societies. In my first album, I said "music eases the soul". I’m sure of that. Music gives hope and strength to each and everyone.

Music gives hope and strength to each and everyone

How does the worldwide news inspire you in these times ?

The awakening is on its way. Just look what happened recently in Maghreb. It gives hope in Unity and our ability to gather….But, who pulls the strings ? People are hungry, they want freedom and justice. The Occident and their allies can’t ignore much longer that people need to get a new worldwide balance.

What does reggae lacking to help it go forward ?

In France, a lack of serious organisation. But, most of all, it seems that this music is not taken seriously by the media and music industries. We need to gather to make reggae movement progress.

As we can see in your first video Autour de Toi, you give equal importance to the aesthetic, the arrangement, images, artworks …

It’s important for the global sense of my project, from the sound and the lyrics to the cover of the album and the video, that it be coherent. And it’s also due to lucky meetings like with Pietro Di Zanno (director of Autour de Toi who also directed Ayo’s videos) and also my graphic designer, Seb Thiroux.

What are your influences ?

A lot of roots music. I always quote Bob, Burning Spear, The Gladiators, The Congos… All the vocal trios from the 70’s. I also like Otis Redding a lot.
On the actual scene, I like Tarrus Riley. I saw him on stage and it works well. I like how his last album is produced.

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