The Life and Times of Kenny Wailer Murabi
On the 11 of April 2020 we were going to experience a gathering of reggae musicians from across the country to the launch of EZOP, the 5th Studio album from Kenny ‘Wailer’ Murabi, better known as Teacha Man or Wailer Man. This was going to be an epic launch, Kenny had invited real Reggae Bands representative of our reggae culture and landscape, It was going to be one of those rare moments when Limpopo would be vibing with KZN, Eastern Cape, Gauteng and the Western Cape. But the Corona epidemic hit the country and social gatherings of more than a 100 people were prohibited. The show could not go on, it had to be postponed till further notice. We were being Coronized.
Earlier we had met with Ntate Murabi to talk about the launch and we got to hear about his fascinating life story, a story that gives a glimpse in the ordinary lives of people of Limpopo and how Reggae has permeated throughout the region, a narrative that gives a background of the Limpopo Reggae landscape, the Limpopo Reggae Culture rooted in Ubuntu where all the musicians are supportive of each other and not idolizing one ma ; A culture that has young artists vibing seamlessly with veterans and ideas and teachings being exchanged; A reggae culture that has fans and supporters who are equally important in the chain and are treated with respect and in return they show love for their artists. A region where the artists make sure that they make available CDs of their albums, for they know and understand what their listeners need, not what the industry dictates. This background is revealed through the narrative of the life and times of Kenny ‘Wailer’ Murabi, in his own words.
Who is Kenny Wailer Murabi?
Kenny Murabi is an African born 24 June 1967 in Venda, of my Father Piet Tshisikawu Murabi and My late Mother, Masindi Hilda Murabi. I was born in Venda did my schooling there and went to college to do teaching, I am a married man with four children and two have gone through tertiary education, one just started tertiary and one is still in school.
Are they showing any interest in the music business?
The two boys cause they are still busy with their education I don’t know which path they will take, but the one in secondary school loves music a lot, the two girls who have graduated, one is here with me now and the other left in the morning and we were rehearsing together, so that tell a story.
Yes, it does, but would you want them to take that music route also?
It’s something I cannot say that I want them to do because like myself no one told me to do it and like I said I am a teacher and I got propelled by the love of music to do music. Some people may ask why do you play music as you work and I’ve seen already that it’s up to me to help them, they want to do that and not because I want them to do it, they saw me doing it and they liked it and they have recorded an Album that might be released anytime soon. I think what they need from me is support and guidance.
So, you being a teacher and a musician how does it work out?
It’s like when you marry more than one wife, then you have to make sure that you are man enough to make sure that your family is run on par, no family should be left behind not to mention if you marry three or four wives. So, once you say I am a teacher or any form of employment e.g. If you are a teacher and decide to be a farmer you need to balance your time between the two, it will be embarrassing for you to find that the employers work is lacking behind and yours is taking the lead, that’s where people will start talking about it. I miss people, even the people in my village I miss them because I must make time for the work that I was employed to do and I must make time for my music, fortunately enough when I am out I meet friends if I get a little time we discuss music, but its laborious, tedious, cumbersome really but it works because something you have passion for doesn’t make you tired and I must say I’m working because I need money and I make music because I love music that’s the passion that drives me, that’s how I strike the balance. I am almost always tired.
Back to the music, you say you were influenced or inspired by Dr. Colbert Mukhwevo to get on stage?
Not really (laughs), Yes, how it started has its shape but Colbert is involved somehow; I grew up loving music I don’t know how but music is something you grow up loving naturally, actually everybody loves music, but they just love different types of music. I Love music like Lionel Ritchie, Smokey Robinson type of music, Adzeimbei Band, Tshepo Tshola, Yvonne Chaka and so on but I just chose to do Reggae music. So, Colbert and I are not of the same date but not far from each other, I would say we grew up together and became aware of music at almost the same time and pace maybe. We got influenced by international reggae artists, we got to know reggae music through them. I started playing in 1990 and I had been teaching for two years by then, we had heard that there is an artist that plays reggae but I didn’t know him, we kind of found each other at Venda College of Education, Colbert did his teaching at Makhado and he came to Venda College to finish up, I was doing course 2 and he was doing course 3 but we never really crossed paths. One day, I found him standing in front of a shop called Fairways and he was playing reggae music live with two speakers or four, and some three guys, keys, a bassist and a drummer, they were playing Bob Marley’s music. I looked at him and I could see he was playing and the music was coming very strong, you know what happened my blood ran faster and I went away from the crowd and went to a building where my cousin worked, I got there and I cried, and not because of anger, but the realisation that reggae music can be played by a hand of man, I saw that with Colbert Mukwevho, for the first time. That’s the year I went to a friend of mine to discuss how we can find ourselves some instruments, and we decided on a bass guitar. So, Colbert’s influence was me seeing him playing live. It pushed me to wanting to play live. It wasn’t easy because I didn’t know how to hold an instrument, maybe I should also mention this, I had a younger brother who was called David, he was schooling in England, Birmingham doing Mechanical Engineering those were the first engineers around 1989-90, he was very brilliant, his IQ when it came to educational matters was bigger than mine that I must admit, he obtained 100% on each subject all the time. He was taken by Anglo American and unfortunately, he came back in 1993 and he was supposed to go back in 1994 to finish his degree but then he got involved in an accident and he passed away. He was a very big guitarists, self-taught through books, he played rock and roll like nobody’s business, when he came for holidays he would entertain us sitting around the fire cause he used to come during winter, he also had a keyboard that you would have had to hang around the shoulder to play it, so when he passed away which made me very angry and it affected me, I am talking about something that happened in 1993 so you can imagine how long it has been. After he passed away authorities in the UK made an effort to ship back all his stuff, in them were two guitars and two keyboards. I can say I owe my musicianship to him because I had only bought the bass guitar, imagine if he was still alive, I wonder what would be happening now. So, Colbert played a part and my younger brother played a part also. But you cannot play a part in someone who is not interested so I was just a plant that had just been planted.
What happened after that?
In 1992 I saw this guy called Shufflers infact I was friendly with him because we schooled together, when I went to his home I found him playing some music, very good reggae music but when I listened the singer was Venda and I asked who it was and he said “it’s me” meaning himself, so now this is the second man I meet doing reggae music and I said “Nah I will do it” I went to buy this guitar and car battery we didn’t have electricity then and I bought a ‘galaxy speaker’ with many inputs and my friend advised me to buy a cable to put the guitar and it worked. We started practicing and I remember I started with the Wailers music “Keep on moving”. There was a boy who stayed next to me and he was interested in music so he used to come, it was myself and him, his name was Annanis Mbekwa, we went to Shufflers together, he had a show in a tavern and he said if you want to play you can come, I got on stage and that was the first time playing in front of people, we went on to play these shows using generators until 1994, that’s when the governments changed and we were not sure of what was going to happen if you remember, we were not sure if war was going to erupt or not. So, shufflers and I decided to record because we didn’t know what the future held for us. So, we went to record an Album “Brooding in Silence” with Colbert, we were still using reels, I was not even sure of what was happening but I just wanted to do music. I was still very young and I didn’t have direction and I didn’t know how to do music but I was just happy that it’s done. That was 1994 and people even bought some of my cassettes, I made close to R500 – R1000 and I realised it works as I went for shows we used to play those songs and I didn’t even know how to arrange music and stuff all I was interested in was the rhythm and singing but people encouraged me, also I should tell you, I had a hectic life, history, so that’s what drove me to reggae music cause all the Rastafarians except those who preferred love songs, if they diverged from love songs they would turn to serious matters like poverty and suffering. I went through that in life, so I realised that the more I listened to this guy’s I felt calm I felt soothed, at least I had people who I shared the same feelings with. I wanted to say we continued to play the same music we recorded in that album and time went by 95, 96, 97 and we are starting to see the difference and people are starting to notice and giving props, I was still young I remember, I started working at the age of 24 in 1990 so in 1994 I might have been 28 or something. I wanted to tell you before I started playing when I met Colbert, I didn’t want to play it so that people can hear that I can play, I was playing it for MYSELF, I must be very honest with you. I was playing music for myself, not even for my son or for friends, actually we grew up in a Christian family and I knew once I started playing reggae my parents were going to be against it. Having lost my younger brother like that in an accident and him being a mechanical engineer you could see good things coming your way and by then I had also lost a brother in 1989 who was a laboratorian here at Siloam Hospital in an accident also, that struck me and reggae music became a friend, it’s only that when people came and said I play good things that I started to entertain them and the reason why I still play reggae is that when I play reggae it was not because of money, reggae still does what I wanted it for, even if people can go away and say we are no longer interested in your music, I SHALL still play reggae music, it went on like that I played till people started to recognise me and respect me. Those who use to mocked me for growing my dreadlocks in 1993 “ he is a teacher, what about our children” now they were saying “look at him, he is starting to be serious” instead of going on and talking bad about me they came closer. In 2001 I cut my dreadlocks, wow people were worried, “why did you cut your hair!” and those are the same People who were wondering why I was growing them in the first place, so I saw that people follow a man who is serious and if you are not serious about something people will leave you. Otherwise the story of my musical life goes as far as that. I should also mention that twice I had dreams, hmm this thing, and when I tell people about it they laugh, I dreamt of Peter Tosh, I was walking with him somewhere in the bush and I remember his words and he said “son, if you want to be a musician, you must..” and the dream came to an end, it stopped there, after 3 or 4 months I saw Bob Marley in a dream. It happens you know, it symbolises the deep love of reggae that I had but when I tell people because, they think I am trying to be funny, I SAW THAT, and it showed me that maybe there is something in me. So that happened and Rastas are regarded as rude boys and stuff and if you say I was stubborn at times it would be because I didn’t stop playing reggae, that’s one part of my stubbornness, I did my dreadlocks when I was a teacher, that’s no.2 part of my stubbornness, otherwise we are not talking about me blocking the road so that nobody cannot pass, I find people seated and I give them hell! mmhmmh, our stubbornness starts when we stand for what we believe in. My late brother in law who married my elder sister was a pastor, it was quite surprising he would not go anywhere without me, conferences to monitor his congregation and stuff and he would go with me, he loved reggae and he encouraged me into reggae, surprisingly, so those are the people who saw me doing it and encouraged me. After releasing ‘Holy War’ that was in 1999 but it only picked up in 2000 and that’s when people started showing me love again. I had this song called ‘Vhakaidzeni’ which means reprimand the children. It’s a message to the parents to reprimand the children to stop loitering, to stop gathering in taverns and shebeens, to stop carrying knives and told the parents to teach them to love God, Respect God and go to school, people loved it, even today when I go to shows people still request that song it. It worked but I was still not sure about myself, I didn’t even have a band cause after ‘breeding in silence’ the parents of the children that I was playing with said it’s September now and the children need to prepare for exams, and you see if they pass the exams they are gone to universities in Gauteng or wherever, my band came to its knees. So, I said let me do my last gig and we recorded ‘Holy War’ also I must mention this Holy War is ambiguous, people felt and thought that I am supporting the holy war of the …. (Arabs?)
Arabs, yes, you gave me a good word thanks, but that wasn’t the case, I am even afraid now that if I can go to America or any other place if I’ll perform that song cause it says “ we are going to win this holy war, we are going to fight this holy war” but I explained that I am not talking about the war of bombs and guns, I am talking about war of words where we sit down around the table and discuss issues, for me holy is holy of the Bible. I wish everyone who is spreading the message of my music, please let them talk a little about this I’m not referring to the Arabs holy war, and people love it.
If people love it then they might have an idea of what you are talking about or maybe it’s just a nice song
Ya, ya I don’t know if I am right to be afraid, and as I was writing it, I would ask my colleagues at work “ hey guys, I have a song and it’s called Holy War but mine is not a Holy war of the Arabs” and they said “ there’s no problem, unfortunately some people will take it like that” but anyways God knows why he did it. So, In 2002 I worked with Colbert in Giyani we went to perform at some concert organised by Castle, we went to Turfloop and Messinah but I didn’t have a band some songs were performed by his band. 2001 to 2005 there was no music no recording at all and everything suffered but the radio stations played my music and this is the time when I was feeling that I should grow and a guy came to me asked why am I not furthering my music and I said I don’t have money and this and that, he had a studio his name is Derrick Makesha and he is a friend to the pastor I mentioned Mr. Frederick Makhura and he said come and record and I told him I don’t have money and he said let’s not talk about money we can talk about that later, I made the whole album in the studio as I was going to the studio I had to think about what I was going to sing and the album was released, and you won’t believe the reception that it got, people loved it
This would be Tsharivhone?
Yes, Tsharivhone meaning let us see, ‘tsha’ is leave it, it is when things are not working well like when you call this one and this to come to the table but everyone pulls in different directions and don’t want to listen, so it’s better for the puller to leave it and see what happens, that’s when people are not working very well together.
That was in 2005 and I was happy I now had a 3rd album even though the 1st was just a start up. I should also add that Holy War the album, is the one that got me introduced to this, Eric who is the owner of this whole thing, Organiser of what we are doing. I had a friend the one I got the bass guitar with, he was a friend to Eric Netshisive’s elder brother, they would sing together, Eric’s car was having problems and my friend was a mechanic and he had to go fix his car but it started with Eric’s brothers car then Eric’s so he had to go and fix it, we had just released Holy War, he had about ten cassettes and he was selling them and he was playing one of them, then Eric wanted to know who was playing then he told him it’s my friend so Eric went on an expedition to look for me until he found me. Our friendship started in 2000 because of that Album and I won’t forget my friend Reginald for that. 2006 – 2008, I’m happy now atleast the music is flourishing, then came 2009 – 2010 nothing was happening, 2011-15
But you are still performing?
Yes but minimally, not so much, I remember one time we carried my instruments in my friend’s car, we ran short of petrol, we arranged petrol and we arrived at the place where we were supposed to play and the generator didn’t have petrol and the shops were closed so we came back without playing. But for the love. My third Album Tshikokonono, was recorded in 2013
And why the title Tshikokonono?
Tshikokonono means insect, biologically we were taught that cockroaches, crickets, locusts, we are talking about flies those are insects but someone told me that in some cultures Tshikokonono doesn’t mean all this things we are talking about, they say it’s ‘isilwane’ or something, he said they referred to itikoloshe as isilwane so I said oh God this languages and their interpretations, to me it means an insect. That being that; the song says I wish I was an insect that knows nothing, I hope you get what I mean (yes) flies knows nothing, cockroaches knows nothing, I wish I was a bird so I can fly and go away, you can see now that it’s a sorrowful song, why do you have to fly away! There must be something that is not right. My music is all about that, hence I’m called Kenny Wailer; I wail a lot. “ I wish I was a bird and fly away” the song continues “Unfortunately I am a man and I was given knowledge” and when I look at it these two things that trouble me, you see now the difference between a human and an insect, a human being is suffering if you go to the Bible I think it’s in Romans or Corinthians where they are talking about Paul “what I want to do I can’t do, but what I don’t want to do that’s what I do” I was referring to that, I don’t want to fight anybody but I still find myself in that situation, sometimes I sit around an look and I say “sometimes I wish I was a stone” so I am alluding to stones, insects, “I wish I was a tree” looking at problems that people come across, but it can’t change I am a human being, it’s a wishful song, if I wasn’t a human being I wouldn’t be coming across this things.
Then after Tshikonono came Ambani then Ezop, but what has been giving you strength, when you’ve been faced with so many challenges? What has been your main strength?
My main strength comes from within, why do I continue singing when things are so hectic, I mean from 1990 up to 2013 I should have released five to seven albums but the drive cause I have this dream that having been given a voice and a little bit of knowledge about the music, otherwise I would have been a writer or something else but God decided that I sing, so I believe that maybe he has a purpose with me, that’s why he is pushing me, do you think if I was not into it during those difficult times what is happening here would be happening today, I think this is some sort of a reward, he can see that “you are doing what I told you to do” because these guys are organising a big launch for me where I’m not paying I cent, I must be honest with you I think this is Godly, there’s a Devine intervention. I should have given up already but the drive, this intervention, like I told you even if I remain alone, I’ll play reggae music and unfortunately it looks like I’ll never remain alone again. So the drive is I have a mission and a vision, my music is about social living, I hate it when people don’t listen to each other, I hate it when people don’t respect each other, I hate liars, I stand for the truth and I am not a saint when I say I stand for the truth it doesn’t mean that I don’t lie, that’s why I say what happens is not what I want but my mission is I’d like to see people enjoying and living happily every day. I would like thieves to respect people’s properties, I’d like the killers to respect people’s lives and blood and the effects thereof after that if you die today there are so many people attached to you and they are going to feel it, I’d like drivers to respect each other on the road, I’d like leaders to look at us as the leverage without which they cannot stand, I’d like the big countries like America to know that if they keep on stifling Africa at the end they will also stifle cause we are their source, let them nourish us so they can remain, my dream is that I’d like us to believe that there is God, that’s my mission but I don’t know if I can manage to rest on my laurels as things stand, I can’t, I can’t, my mission is to see people living happily here on Earth and I believe it is possible, if you look and listen around you I find that people are saying the world has come is coming to an end and we can’t manage anything, they say politics this and that, I for one still maintain that it can be changed, I’m not the one to easily give up in life, that’s why I didn’t give up when music wasn’t moving. Thats what drives me.
So Ezop, I learnt now when we were driving here what it means, is the message on it the same as on the other albums?
Ja, in a way it would be the same but it would differ because the album’s that I was referring to, Tshikokonono has only one English Song, Holy War has two Venda songs at least, Tsharivhone has one English song and Ambani has three Venda songs, this I am mentioning because where we are determined what we want to do and how far we can go if determined. It was shelved in Venda and although most people are illiterate some are not illiterate so it’s not easy for them to listen or hear what I’m saying so I’m Forced to resort to Venda and when I sing about Venda and if I go deeper to say “President Trump this and that” in Venda, our people wake up to go to the fields, to drink traditional beer, they don’t mind that thing what they want is for you to sing about “John didn’t give me a scale of beer yesterday”, they like that so that’s where the music will differ in those albums I used to sing about the social life around us, what we see every day. The few songs that I push in English are no longer related to them because I know they won’t care about it. With Ezop, I left them, totally, I tried to go to the world. I conceptualised it that we have Zulus in South Africa Tswanas, Xhosas, even Zimbabweans, Mozambicans and Nigerians, everyone is here and abroad and everyone can understand English, now my audience has increased and the message that I am putting around should not remain being that of being about beer, it should be about today we are talking instability in our land, this are the issues that I must address so you can see with Ezop the message has gone to a wider audience. I can’t talk about the situation of traditional beer in KZN because I’ve never been there, I must talk about “Ease up down presser man, ease up why do we keep on fighting like that” so the message differs in that fashion.
Would you say this is the right time for you to reach out to the world. The time is now.
You know every day when I sleep, it comes automatically, I say “God, is this happening! EVERYDAY, even when I am alone. I was lying under a tree here under the shade, alone and I was saying “God, what’s happening” I smiled and I frowned because when things start being good like this it’s something else, but it means a lot. I am coming to your question, I don’t know if it’s here only or all over the world or Africans, it’s fine when we are crawling all of us and eating dust and stuff, once you start raising your head, when you walk in town every eye is on you and I don’t want to run away from my people, I want to live with them I want to chill with them but this thing of people pointing and whispering “hey he is there, he is there” it’s like somehow I will have to change a bit, when I am here I am fine and I am going to Venda and the launch is coming soon and the posters will be all over, the radios “hey Kenny Ezop” maybe I will learn to cope with it but I think this is the right time. The rightest time that I was crying for all my life, I don’t think there is anything better than this, if anything better comes YES and it will be better than this.
This is the time
This is the time cause we are going to share stages with Jeremiah FyahIses, Azania Band, The Meditators, so you can imagine those days of 1990 and look at this hour today, ok you can see I am growing old and this is very normal (grey hair) I love it, it tells a story that I come from far and my knowledge is there, but I think this is the right time. I think God has spared me for this time, he knew I’ll be matured enough now, maybe if I had gone viral in 1997-8 I wouldn’t have been here, maybe, maybe money would have come my way, you see what I’m talking about maybe I would have even given up my family and stuff. But today I am a grown man who knows what he wants in life. So, I think this is the right time for me. To be given every resource that I need to use, I’m happy about this I think this is the right time.
The launch, who came together and decided to do this for you?
Although it is a bit sensitive but there are things that cannot be hidden. You cannot produce an album or a DVD and expect to be hidden, everybody will be asking out there. We have this Adziambei usic Academy (ARMA) it is the one behind the launch. Why the guy loved my music or the guys love my music, the answer is with them. Of all the guys that are doing music which I respect, they do very good music, but they decided we are recording this album and we are going to launch it and we are doing a great launch. This is ARMA boys Adziambei Music Academy. They said to me you’ve been howling for quite a long time and we don’t see anything coming your way, well you might be a messenger but at least you must have something; when you want a can of cold drink you must buy, when you are feeling cold you must buy a jacket and so forth. So, they said let us give it a launch and try to expand our tentacles, it is an outreach and it’s not only me that they want to do this for, after me there will be other artists and I am happy about that.
And I have a problem with artists, they tend to fight and hate each other around Mzansi. When you release a hit instead of them applauding, they will gang up on you and say things like “He thinks he is clever” so much so that some escapes death if they don’t get killed, that’s our problem. My fans are your fans do you know that? When I started working I would go to the shops and buy Bob Marley’s CD and buy Burning Spear, same day same time, Jimmy Wailers, Peter Tosh buy five and take home, should Peter Tosh come and complain to me why I bought Bob Marley CD, we are all peoples artists and they are all our fans and I am happy that ARMA has this vision that it wants to promote reggae in Mzansi.
Reggae in S.A as a whole, are we going somewhere?
We will, mark my words, we will, things change and times change. We might have seen many things that happened when we were not there maybe 20 years ago that are there now. Reggae will finally reach its destination, I’ve been thinking back, you see like Jazz, that music sustains. So, reggae will sustain if we look at the situation we are in now, people are becoming more conscious, maybe the only thing that was worrying me was that, the media, the radio and TVs they look down upon reggae, in Venda they are promoting non uplifting music but they are not striking a balance, people get used to what they are introduced to everyday. Play a song every day even if it means nothing play it every day on the radio two three times a day in a month time and you will hear people singing it. Why do the people in power not empower reggae music, why are they not doing it, we have the awards but we are not really into the awards although we are in some of them, it’s very rare for you to switch on the radio and hear reggae music, I am not talking about in Venda maybe they were forced I don’t know, people must play reggae music just like they do pop music, ragga and so on. But now that we have people like ARMA, I hope also in KZN, Cape Town there are people who appreciate reggae music, you take music to the people and people love it and people are taking the music to the people. I mean this is taking reggae music to the people I mean this is quite historic, it has never been done in Venda, I wonder if it has ever happened around South Africa, so if it happens like this and people support, radios support, TV’s support like they are doing and we are given enough time, in a short while you will hear people singing in their cars, in their houses like “hakamatorokisi” that music was brought to the people and they accepted it.
As you and I and other groups around the world are not stopping to be the pillars of reggae music, reggae is going somewhere and really it will reach the right ears like Bob Marley music did. Someone said “hai reggae is not popular” how popular is popular, what is popular. Reggae music is surely going somewhere. (and we will reach there) we are almost there. We love reggae and we pray for reggae we always want reggae to improve and we want people to see that reggae is not about what they think it is, that dreadlocks it’s not all about what they think it is all about , so i can feel it, getting to the people and the people will love it. Because people believe what they are fed, if they are fed something they will take something, but why are the authorities not paying attention to reggae.
I got mad the other day when they were playing an international reggae artist song, cause you hardly hear our songs on the radio
They say they play good music, at times my dear sister I wonder If I play good enough to convince the people, here is the launch coming and the other groups are coming, that must make me grow, that must make me roll up my sleeves to be in par with other artists and to even exceed them, not to be look down upon them, but if you are not getting the riddim and you don’t have events and stuff and you don’t give much time to your music, so if they play that international artsist like you are saying, its fine but that artist will say I struck it, she will grow and think she is making it but somebody will be left in the streets here, which is talent, I mean you cannot waste your precious time about things that even if you produce them better and people don’t notice
So why do you say you are afraid, I doubt you would be having this launch if you were not good enough?
No, and thank you for following up on this one what I was trying to say actually was since I haven’t been in this kind of exposure, as a human being I must think twice “shall I deliver, shall I deliver”
But not to say that I am afraid, I must tell you something that I nearly forgot; it was the year 20something and Colbert was celebrating his birthday and I was called to come fill up the space before him, we were with Nkulee Dube, then came the time when I had to get on the stage, that is the first day of my life that I believed that I am a musician, I wowed the crowd I wowed them so much so that some called me the next day and told me that they went to the toilet to cry out of excitement, and when I look back at what I did and you can see when you are doing something that people like. That is the biggest crowd that I ever faced in my life, so I am no longer afraid of the crowd, all I was trying to explain was that, isn’t it that I cannot compare myself with PeterTosh, but we must know that everyone has his style, look at Bunny Wailer, his music was not in any way like Peter Tosh’s music, even when he played Bob Marley’s music you could hear the difference cause he liked big riddims and Peter Tosh would go a bit slower, but he still wowed the crowd, so if I am Kenny I have my people with my style of music. So, the fear is when people are focused on you, you must fine tune your things to convince the people and those who are looking at you to be happy.
What can people look forward to at the Launch
People must look forward to very good music delivery we will be well rehearsed, I want this to look like Reggae Sunsplash where an artist ascends the stage and gives good music to the people and the next one comes on and does the same, live bands only, people must expect good things only as you know reggae festivals are some of the festivals where we don’t expect chaos like fighting I can assure peace and love cause usually when people are called for shows these days they are exposed to cds and usbs which won’t be there on that day, I mean when will you find time for a USB when The Meditators are there, when will you find time for a CD when Azania Band is there. People must expect good things I think this one will recur yearly, next year we want to do the same thing and hope it will grow bigger and bigger, as you know Venda is a hub of Reggae so the spirit has worked it so that it be the first city to host this and we are also prepared to go to some provinces.
And for you specifically what should people expect from your performance, what are you promising them?
The people have of late likened my performances to Peter Tosh cause I used to love to play that song “African” just to help people to remember and “Wanted” I play a lot of his music, but what I can promise is that my band is well rehearsed, quite well rehearsed and it won’t disappoint, I promise they will hear better than what they heard on CDs, they will see me as Kenny Wailer, the seriousness in me as a performer that I mean business. I won’t be shining, I don’t like shining I like putting music in its own true form, so that’s what will be happening. I will be ready for the day, I don’t want to look back and regret about the day, I want to be happy so that when we talk about this music in future people will know that we are talking business and I think if time permits I will like to sing one of Chiganja’s (Jahman Chiganja) songs, he passed on, and we are not doing very well as far as his commemoration is concerned because I had an idea that in March we should get other artists and remember him, but I think I will just perform one of his song. We went to his memorial two years back and we played live music there, boys like Confey Tshirumbula , he also passed away in 2013, he was a very good musician, but I think we will work it out so that we don’t forget them.
Your message to the reggae community?
My message is that, we need to work hard to achieve what we want and we always have to praise God because he had a purpose with us and when things become difficulty don’t give up because for God’s power to be seen manifesting, the devil must be active and for you to feel the comfort of the shade, the sun must burn you. When things become difficult people must not give up and usually if we don’t give up, we get what we want. Reggae artists keep on playing music, reggae lovers keep on playing good reggae music and even those who don’t seem to know much about reggae, it’s your turn to come witness what reggae is all about, when you come to a reggae festival and you don’t smoke ganja , you won’t smoke but you will have seen what reggae music is all about and let’s respect each other, let’s not abuse our children, women AND ourselves as a nation. In all we do let us invite God.
What do you want to be remembered for?
I don’t have the word that can include all that I want to say but I want to be remembered as someone who like to see people unite, so that when man and man come across one another, instead of fighting they embrace. I want to see One Love, I want to see people happy, people taking their responsibilities in life. I want to see people united, United we are a force that can be reckoned with.
FACEBOOK: Kenny Murabi