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Interview: Hard Breaka

Interview: Hard Breaka

Interview: Hard Breaka

By on - Photos by Aude-Emilie Dorion - Comment

"Gambian society is hard to live in but I believe I can pass through with my music"

Let’s start with Gambian singer and producer Mamut Jeng aka Hard Breaka. Originally from Faranang, he moved to the coast where he produces music.

After performing at Ariwa BACK TO AFRICA festival in January, it is in Senegambia at Unity Records Studio that the artist welcomed me for this interview. In this private meeting we looked back on his career and his projects with new label Unity Records.

Hi Breaka, how are you today ?

Fine thanks.

So we are going to come back on your 10 years long career. You started in 1997, what can you tell us about your experience in the music industry so far, your career, what have been the goods and the bads, what is your challenge ?

As you said I joined the music industry in 1997. Back in the days I was collaborating with the hightech Buldof label. I have worked with them for eight years, recording and searching over and over again until I was satisfied with my work. This is when I released my first single ‘Oneness and Signs’ which had been a success in the Gambia. I performed all over the country. This years with the Buldolf Studio helped me continuing further my development into producing quality music.

We are presently in your recording studio, can you tell us how the Unity Records adventure started and when ?

Music has always been a part of me and at some point two years ago, I wanted to launch my new productions that consits in bringing together 14 Gambian artists around a mixture of traditional Bambala music and modern riddims. As a guitar player myself, I am sensitive to the composition of my riddims. I started working on the 'Ladies Riddim' and decided to build my own studio with my sound engineer and together with all the people at Unity we produce sound and craftwork artists.

Your single ‘Moan and Groan’ had been a buzz in the Gambia and has pretty explicit lyrics, tell us about the context in which you wrote that song ?

HardbreakaGambian society is hard to live in, there aren’t to many perspective for us over here. I believe I can pass through with my music. Moreover music can be a catalyst for action as any other art form within the society. My texts talk about the social problems we encounter in the Gambia.

You have a powerful, émotive and smooth voice, can you tell us about your influences?

Well without hesitation I'll tell you Garnett Silk, brilliant Jamaican artist who turned from deejaying to singing in 1989. During the early 90’s he was hailed as a rising talent, but his career ended by his early death in 1994 while attempting to save his mother while their house was on fire. Among the people he worked with features the great King Tubby and Sly & Robbie. As for my music I compose and write the lyrics at the same time, taking inspiration in my day to day life and my African roots.

After ‘Oneness & Signs’ and ‘Sitting in the Dark’ you are working on a new single, can you tell us about it ?

As I am busy producing artists it's been some time since I last worked on a track for myself (smile), the ladies riddim have been on the charts for quite some time now so we deciding to work on a new project, we are currently recording a tune called ‘Linkin' It’ featuring some artists from abroad. I like music with no boundaries, my music always searches new sounds mixing different rythm and different flings. I like mixing acoustic and dubstep elements into my music. I like to call my music ‘Be yourself’ because it has no boundaries, you can call it reggae, ragga, Bambala, electro, in fact it s not limited to one thing, it s a fusion of things.

Thank you for having me at Unity Records today, is there anywhere United Reggae readers we can follow you at on the net ?

You can follow me on myspace at Bless up.


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