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From church to the radio Maluk Garang, better known as Macco bwoy has had a tremendous musical journey.  Like most musicians, the journey was anything but clear and nonetheless they still pressed on. After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Macco bwoy who is currently 20 years old and in Makua Boys high school- Thika has a lot to say about music and getting to where he is.

We caught up with him and this is what he had to say.

STA: When did you start singing?

Macco: Like some south Sudanese, I grew up in Kakuma and there, I was in the church choir. I mostly sung traditional songs and I danced as well.

STA: So what made you stop being a church boy?

Macco: In 2004 my family and I moved back to South Sudan and settled in Yei, after a while we came back to Kenya, this time Nairobi and the church hours were too early for me. Church started at 7am. But I still loved music and singing especially.

STA: When did you start producing/ recording songs professionally?

Macco: In 2009 I joined a studio called spider production.

I recorded my first song called mama in Kiswahili. It was a collabo with a friend of mine. It was my first break through, at least I can say, some people knew of my music.

I produced 5 more songs during the two years I was there.

STA: Five songs, why didn’t you ever grow?

Macco: The producer wasn’t a professional, I didn’t have enough money to look for a better studio and my love for music made me stay but eventually I left.

STA: How exactly did you get your name?  

Macco: My English name is Marc and my friends call me Macco that was the name I used when recording songs but  then one time I was collaborating with some friends in a new studio I joined called Banton music and a lady doing the chorus was introducing me as Macco bwoy and just like that, the name stuck.

STA: When can you say you had a huge break through

Macco: In 2011. I did another collabo with Sai B. The beats were great- riddim beats. It was a great party song and people were talking about it but after that I took a break since my parents were saying that all I did was music and not studying.

In 2013 I talked to my parents about music and we agreed that I would do music during the holidays and after that I did a cover of ‘love me’ a song Yung Mulo did and people thought I was stealing his song (laughs) they didn’t seem to understand, but it still made me happy since people were talking about me, I was getting recognition.

Then in 2014, I recorded Sudanese gals, I’m glad people love it and now some people will take me more seriously.

STA: Why did you name your song Sudanese gals

Macco: I’m just showing love to all ladies, wherever you’re from, I love you, we love you.

STA: How would you describe your music?         

Macco: I have no particular music genre but dancehall sits well with me.

STA: How would you describe South Sudanese music

Macco: We are yet to describe our genre, as for now we are copying what other countries are doing, but my advice to my fellow musicians, if you know you are good on a particular genre, stick to it, perfect on it.

STA: What was/is your biggest hassle in the music industry      

Macco: Funds, money is needed to record and produce the songs and videos. Also, people in the music industry are corrupt. They ask for money in order to promote your song. Like taking your music to radio stations, they won’t easily play it unless you paid something.

The promoters/event planners need to start paying us so that we can afford to grow. Other artists need to help and guide new musicians.

Generally, we need to be there for each other for us to grow ourselves. An artist can push himself, he/she needs the fans and the support groups who are musicians who are already established.

STA: What do you think of STA ever since it started

Macco: I like it. It created a platform for the youth to concentrate on talent and especially music since most of them are doing music.

STA: What’s your request for STA and why do you think they should do it    

Macco: Since STA is here to promote the youth, I’d be happy if they shot for me a video of a new song I’m working on called ‘badder than them’

STA: Any last words

Macco: I don’t drink alcohol 

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 ‘I don’t define myself with any political party , right now I just want to focus on my music’

K-Denk

He blew our minds and we loved him, it’s safe to say he made it. From Tusker Project Fame to Grandpa Records he had it all. He inspired many and we believed that he would take the South Sudan music industry to the next level.

Koang Deng better known as K-Denk, now 29 years old and studying Political Science at a University in Ethiopia caught up with South Theatre Academy and this is what he had to say.

STA: You have been on the down low for quite some time now, do you still do music?

K-DENK: Haha, for the past 4 years I have been silent school and stuff, but now I’m planning to go platinum.

STA: When did you start doing music? Before or after TPF

K-DENK: I started music in Kakuma, back in 2002. But life was difficult there so it didn’t grow. I then moved to Juba in 2008 where I was working as a journalist and I started recording, then TPF came along.

STA: We don’t recall seeing you win the auditions, so how then did you end up in the academy?

K-DENK: Hahaha true, I actually failed the auditions and went back. But the guy who won was going for military training in Russia and I was the next option. Therefore I was called to go into the academy and replace him.

STA: How did you get a contract with grandpa records and are you still there?

K-DENK: After I was evicted I was taken back to juba, but then after a while I came back on my own to catch up on interviews and that’s when I met with Refigah- the grandpa records producer and we struck a deal.

My contract ended with Grandpa so currently I’m open to any record label.

STA: We have been hearing many controversial things about you, that you’re a rebel. Is that true?

K-DENK: I was a rebel. I did it out of defence. But right now, I’m not politically inclined. I’m a non participant in politics. I don’t define myself with any political party right now. I just want to focus in my music.

STA: What made you stop being a rebel?

K-DENK: My music encouraged me. See, I’m a musician not a politician. I realised though late, that it would affect my musical career.

Also, the fact that I was in the front line fighting and the politicians weren’t discouraged me.

STA: You talk of going back to music what made you stop? What made you not bloom as you were supposed to?

K-DENK: After TPF I didn’t utilize my presence and resources well. I wasn’t being serious with what I had but now that I intend on going back to the music industry, I hope to make it better.

STA: Apart from you, we realize that South Sudan TPF participants don’t really make it out in the music industry. We expect them to carry our flag higher but our expectations aren’t met.

K-DENK: For me as I said, I wasn’t serious about my opportunities. For Palek, Nancy and Mer I really don’t know. I can’t speak for them but I know they’re good musicians. What I can say is that the South Sudan music industry needs to be polished. It’s not that well developed and that can be discouraging.

Also, what I realised is that some radio stations in South Sudan don’t fully promote musicians. They seem biased, they overplay some artiste’s music and others aren’t or just once in a while. It’s unfortunate because they’re many good musicians.

STA: Still on music, what can you say about South Sudan music industry?

K-DENK: Umm, our country is going through a lot right now and the way forward is difficult therefore establishing the music industry can be a bit of a challenge. But I think the most important thing is to define our genre. Kenya has genge, Nigeria has its genre, Tanzania has it bongo and Uganda has its beats, what about us?

I believe that when we define our genre, our musical journey will be a bit easy. Also, find what you’re good at and stick to it, polish on that genre and you will make it in music.

STA: Up to today we don’t have major people representing us in the music industry. Eddy Kenzo of Uganda won an award, diamond of Tanzania is all over and in Kenya Sauti Sol is also touring all over but in South Sudan we have nothing, what’s your take?

K-DENK: I still say we need to up our game. South Sudan musicians have an opportunity to showcase their songs across borders but they don’t seem to seize the opportunity. I, like many other people thought Emmanuel Jal would make it far but I don’t know what happened.

But as for me, I intend on raising our flag and being all over, that’s why I’m back. I also want to work with visionary musicians, people who are serious because nobody can work with people who don’t want to grow themselves. I really want to represent South Sudan in east Africa and to the rest of the world. I can see Supasta Babyone doing well in kenya music industry.

‘You gave me something (singing talent) so that I can help others, not only me’

A-boy

Music was and is always used not only for entertainment but also to bring people together-to better a nation. Starting from the national anthem to party anthems one thing remains significant, the message.

From Kakuma to the airwaves, up and coming artiste A-boy whose real name is Aboy Chagai Atem knew that one day the little singing he did then would pay off. This 27 year old who owns a car dealership in Juba is trying his best to educate his fellow countrymen through his music.

STA: When did you start singing?

I started in 2004, I was in primary school then in Kakuma Refugee camp. My friends, classmates and I would sing during special days like Refugee day and World Aids Day.

STA: Why did you choose to pursue music?

Music to me is my talent and why shouldn’t I exploit it? Also, I believe that through music, I can educate people on some things and maybe help them. But most importantly, if you have a message, music is the simplest way of addressing a large number of people, so through it, I can pass on peace messages.

STA: Your hit songs ‘Arabi Maffih’ and ‘Sout Salam’ what was your inspiration behind them?

The first time I ever went to juba in 2006 I didn’t settle in well. Coming from Kenya, I was more accustomed to English and Kiswahili so doing simple things like going to the shop and buying was a challenge, the shopkeepers spoke in Arabic.

I would tell them I don’t know Arabic and they would reply that they don’t know English, so I wondered how people would grow if communication itself was a barrier. At least now I know a little Arabic to get me through.

Sout salam is a peace message. Our country is growing and it’s important that we stay united. I like to use my music to better people.

STA: South Sudanese artistes don’t get the recognition they deserve and their music slowly rises, why do you think it’s like that?

I think we should start by blaming ourselves. We lack adequate skills and equipment to produce quality songs. Associations too should be formed that we can easily promote and grow ourselves. Having agents or managers is a task as well. We fail to do and have the simple things in the music industry to grow ourselves.

Look at Supastar Babyone, he did that and even Kenyans are recognizing him. Another huge problem is the fact that we like releasing hit singles instead of albums.

STA: Good things are hard to come by, what can you say are the challenges you have faced, and you think other artistes face as well?

I’d start with money, money can solve most of the problems we face. Producing, recording and video taking all have a fee and we lack those funds that’s why you will always find demos instead of videos.

I have a car dealership and that’s where I get my funds from to shoot videos, but what about the other guy who has the potential but no funds? It’s a great loss.

We also want the support from our parents and elders. My father doesn’t want me in the music industry and I’m sure many other artists are in my situation and they are the ones with the money. They can’t sponsor music but are willing to chip in to any other non artistic programme.

Lastly, some artists don’t support one another. I understand that its a competitive situation but surely, you can’t be the only musician. When i was in juba i heard some people call themselves ‘big artistes’ if you feel like that then help the ‘small artistes’ get to where you are. We could all do with a little support.

STA: What message do you have for all up and upcoming artists out there?

You will always be criticized, but if you know that what you want to do is going to benefit you and other people set your mind to it and do it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

We love him, he entertains us, and we love his dredz too. David Aguto, better known as MCGHETTO is on a road that sees no boundaries. His aim I believe is to see south Sudanese calypso other than loor- don’t worry, we won’t abandon our loor but we will come TOGETHER and DANCE! This young lad of 23 years started his music journey in high school and the tune to our jam ‘Dinka girl’ is a successful product of that.

STA: Apart from music, what else do you do?

I plan events at Skylux club. I’m planning to go back to school too.

STA: You don’t look anything like a gangster, how did you come about the name MCGHETTO?

Haha, my other English name is Mac and I used to love a song by Bobbie Wine called ghetto. I sung it all the time so my friends started calling me ghetto. All I did was add Mc and ghetto.

STA: How did you get into dancehall music?

I love reggae music and I got inspired by a south Sudanese dancehall artist Embra Tor. He was based in the US then but now he’s in Juba.

STA: Your dreadlocks, are they anything to do with your music?

No, my dredz have nothing to do with music. It’s just a bucket list thing. I always wanted to have dredz so I started by growing an afro then I had dredz later.

STA: You have a song coming out, Rumchiel and another you’re collaborating with A-Boy, indulge us.

Actually the brains behind it is an Australian musician Young Low, he called me and A-Boy and told us to collabo with him, it’s called winner but it’s almost done coz he’s yet to add his part. Rumchiels audio is yet to be released but I’m working on the video, hopefully by the end of this month. Winners video will hopefully be out on July.

STA: Why music, why not any other field like acting?

To me, music is fun, I enjoy what I do and I do it to promote unity. Music is the easiest way to bring people together.

STA: What can you say is the biggest challenge you face in the music industry?

Firstly, our folk don’t support us, we do music for a good cause and their support would be beneficial to us, especially because they have the funds we really need. Shooting videos and recording costs cash that I alone hustle for.

We also need more support from you guys, support local talent plus most times we perform and were not paid.

Also, the conflict was a huge hindrance for me. I was to go on tour to Australia but after the conflicts, the embassy denied us-my manager and I entry. It was a huge chance for me to get more recognition but I’m still planning another tour.

STA: You had a dancehall scene, what was that all about?

Well, ‘hot in juba’ was saying that most south Sudanese artists do dancehall and that’s copying, I simply responded back. I don’t think its copying, I think it’s just doing what you’re comfy in. If most people feel good doing dancehall, let them be.

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