Background on the Warrior
Jah Kongo is no newcomer to dancehall reggae music and the fact that his first album was nominated for the South African Traditional Music Awards (SATMA) last year, bears testimony. A humble artist who defines the roots of the Rastafarian religion and not just by appearance, told me that his music is all about bringing hope to the people.
Jah Kongo a.k.a African Warrior was born in Soweto and grew up in Khayelitsha, Cape Town. His love for music made him collaborate with a childhood friend Thabiso, and they formed a kwaito group called Chuck T in 1999.
“We did kwaito because it was the only music that was trending post apartheid,” he says.
In 2000 Jah Kongo switched from kwaito to do reggae, as he says his music prospects got matured and he started to be in the clear about what he wanted to do. He describes his music as not for fun at all.
“My sound is more about liberation. I want to bring hope to the people especially young people.”
For him, bringing change is the best highlight he could ask for. “To inspire people to aspire to be someone in life, those are my highlights,” he said. Jah Kongo won the dancehall reggae artist of the year award at the South African Reggae Awards in 2013, but he says that is not a highlight for him although he was humbled. He has also gotten offers to record in Europe, but his heart is still in South Africa.
“My concept is all about trying to tell my story in Africa first, then I can consider going into other states.”
Jah Kongo also released his debut self titled album Jah Kongo, which he says has done very well thus far as it was nominated for the SATMA awards last year but unfortunately it lost out on the prestigious prize.
Jah Kongo has collaborated with a list of well established artists within the dancehall reggae antenna. He has worked with famous Jamaican reggae artist Turbulence and also Sister Casey from California.
He is also working with Bongo Riot from the Gang of Instrumentals in Johannesburg.
Jah Kongo says being part of the first Cape Town Underground Music Festival is an honour. “I would like to say to the event organisers that we must take this event and fly with it!”
Jah Kongo will perform on the reggae line up this coming Friday (10th) at 8pm, and he promised his fans an inspiring sound as always.