Yes, at last all Juakali‘s beautiful tracks released during a two years period are gathered into one big LP ! After the airing of his video of Bad Mofo, the label has announced an official release on Nov. 25th, but the true fans could already have access to the vinyl plates checkin’on Juakali himself !
Efficient, massive, the voice of Jua supported by heavy bassline has the effect of a sonic boom. If you love it loud, dark and fierce this is the release you need !
Juakali is a Trinidadian-American recording artist, vocalist, lyricist and emcee best known for his collaborations with some of the world’s most revolutionary electronic music producers and promoters, including Dub War, Sub Swara, Pinch, Plastician, Raz Mesinai, Tes La Rock and 12th Planet. Juakali is the namesake of the Swahili term for ‘fierce sun’. In Kenya, jua kali are the “street doctors”, modest people working under blazing sun to bring dead or broken things to life. Jua kali make things move, work and flow; bringing value and integrity to communities.
GB : You explain that your artist name comes from Jua Kali « the Street Doctors » who bring the dead or broken things to life. Is that a philosophy that you try to forward in your performances and your singing ?
JUA : I think about my name and style more as a nurturer… like the sun. We need it to survive, it gives life… You need me to survive, I give life. It’s an involved process to give life to anything that needs it.
GB : Who are your inspiration models as singjays or toasters ?
JUA : Buju is a big influence, so is Shaggy. Buju has the voice, that’s something I knew I had to fine from the beginning, my own voice. Shaggy has the appeal, that’s something I had to work on as well, especially with hosting.
GB : You completed a degree in architecture a few years ago, is there anything from these studies that you transpose to construct your lyrics or your voice flow ?
JUA : Architecture is really a responsible creative force. I employ this is my music and performance for sure. The flow is all from my upbringing, being from Trinidad, and the music of the Caribbean mixed with living in and loving NYC.
GB : Can you tell us more about the recording of Feathers too Bright ?
JUA : Feathers was recorded over the last 2 years. At first, I was planning on releasing a bunch of EPs but personal circumstances lead me to produce and album instead. Although it has a greater time investment, albums allow you to pace yourself very different as an active artist. Most of the producers on the record I have worked with in the past. Almost all I have met in person.
GB : Can you explain the title of the album ?
JUA : After finishing a bunch of music and deciding that an album should be released instead of an EP, I needed something to guide selective process. Which songs will be on the album and why? The title comes from the movie Shawshank Redemption. It simple means that what I’m doing, these songs, are not meant to be classified. They need to be set free and so, the album has this underlying defiance about it mixed with a burst of fresh air.
GB : Is the track Fittest of the Fittest related to the situation of Kenya facing fierce foreign investments in the country that compromise the traditional structure of Jua Kali business ?
JUA : No, but it can be. Fittest of the Fittest is about acknowledgement. Survival is a basic instinct and many walk the line all over the world. So, if you’re walking that line, here’s a song for you.
GB : What is the meaning of the lyrics of Bring me Home ?
JUA : I wrote Bring Me Home when my cousin, who is a captain in the US Air Force was deployed soon after we got an apartment while I was living in LA. I was just thinking about what she was going through, what service men and women go through and what the people on the other side, the locals where ever they go may feel… I’m talking about trained killers with nothing to do. I’m talking about the little girl in Afghanistan who just wants to dance with her family. It’s all about heart and soul, right and wrong and knowing the difference.
GB : Do you already have in mind new songs that you want to record ?
JUA : All the time.
GB : What are the oncoming live projects ?
JUA : Nothing on the horizon aside from a few features on other projects. We’ll see what 2014 brings.
Thx Jua for your time&answers ! We really appreciate !
(NDLR : question related to my research on the lyrics i found multiple entries about a sociologic study named “survival of the fittest” concerning the Jua Kali in Kenya)
Juakali Feathers too Bright on Foreign Familiar (FF08) (Vinyl + digital release)
- Bad Mofo – Juakali, NC Lovin
- Half Man Half Machine – Juakali, Pawn
- Life Of Da Party – Juakali, El Carnicero
- Black Magik (Radio Edit) – Juakali, Knight Riderz
- Bodega/Real Ting (Album Edit) – Juakali, Jus Wan
- Light My Way – Juakali, Spektrums
- Fireworks – Juakali, Dave Sharma
- Take Off – Juakali, Pacheko
- Rootz – Juakali, BunZer0
- Bring Me Home (Album Edit) – Juakali, BunZer0
- Fittest Of The Fittest – Juakali, Stagga
- Black Magik (Explicit)
- Rootz (XI Remix)
- Rootz (Matty G Remix)
Many thx to Ryan from Press Junkie for setting up the interview