Highly rated on the worldwide Roots Reggae scene, Bongo Kanny’s previous credits include working with Ruff Cutt, The Sun Cycle Crew and even The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Now breaking out as a solo artist in his own right, The North- London based Rastafarian singer is now ready to bring his shrewd social commentary and huge vocal melodies to a bigger audience. A wise nature is certainly a bonus for a lyricist who keenly observes the world around him. Consistently stretching his curious mind and analyzing his viewpoints Bongo hopes hardline topics like the fate of Africa as a nation or outsider politics in the UK can sit side-by-side with party vibe songs. “The music should always help people feel good, even if they have something to think about when they get home”. Stepping up to the mantle as a prominent artist Bongo Kanny says it’s still thrilling when he plays live shows with his band. “Bongo Kanny played a lot of gigs over the last 10 years, all over, in Germany, France, Switzerland, Grenada, Jamaica, UK, Spain, Portugal, Miami and EXIT festival in Serbia”. Bongo’s airplay has reached an all-time high with features on radio stations such as Radio RJR, Jamrock Radio and BBC 1xtra with Sir David Rodigan rating track ‘Joyful’ a Scorcher.
SEIF KABELELE: Please, tell us a bit about you? Your first steps in the music scene. The boring one for all non-Jamaicans. How did you get into reggae?
BONGO KANNY: I started in my home at 7-8 years old singing along to various songs made by reggae artiste. Sanchez, lukie D, garnet silk. Then went onto youth club with friends were we practice recording. Then onto a professional studio called Ruffcutt who were also a band. They released two singles and a compilation single. Reggae is my cultural heritage…
SEIF KABELELE: What impress you mostly, when you came to Europe? What was different compared to Jamaica
BONGO KANNY: Europe is a fully developed part of the world which is beautiful but without spirituality.
SEIF KABELELE: Tell me about other music you really love, it doesn’t have to be reggae
BONGO KANNY: I love 80’s pop music, rare groove, soul and 90’s rnb.
SEIF KABELELE: What songs or singers inspired you to sing?
BONGO KANNY: Groups like Jodeci, boyz2men, H-Town, and Backstreet. Reggae was there like the breeze so inspiration was natural from reggae.
SEIF KABELELE: How many albums have you released?
BONGO KANNY: No album as yet just singles. But me and Chris Pecking’s a renowned reggae producer plan the release of an Ep in coming months exclusively 10″
SEIF KABELELE: What kind of message you want to tell with your songs?
What really happens is this. Many people in the world think similar. If you are a artist who think positive, try to make a better world you will be not much different from the other artist who want the same thing. Everyone is different really, in their own way. But I like to look at this as a team. Another man out there who is doing good music – I’m just a part of that team with that man. I don’t see myself as this different and all these things. The most high is not about difference. It’s about love other people to create a bigger impact in a positive way, the team of most high god. People have to tell me the different, but I’m just a man who will just do the things I feel I have to do. If it is good music that I’m doing, you have to feel it. Everyone is different; maybe you have a different dance on stage (smiles).
The words of His Majesty and Marcus. This is I and I core message so the people should see I as a director to these people once with us but there work and words will live forever.
SEIF KABELELE: What are your plans for the future and the album?
BONGO KANNY: To keep recording reaching highest quality and continue to reach the people on the ground. The lowly sufferers.
SEIF KABELELE: Can you describe your sound?
BONGO KANNY: It wouldn’t be up to me to describe me … because somebody’s opinion of me is not in any way connected to my opinion of myself… I don’t know if I can describe my sound… I know what I try to do is put a riddim to a poor man’s cry with Selassie-I as the backdrop, but that’s about all I can tell you. Reggae roots one drop. With a spiritual delivery…
SEIF KABELELE: You seem to be very busy-performing at several major Reggae and Music Festivals plus you have a lot coming up in 2016. I am sure you have a strong following but would it be fair to say you are niche/underground artist in the sense that you are not really known in the region nor featured heavily in regional media?
BONGO KANNY: Yes that’s fair underground. The revolution won’t be on the television lol
SEIF KABELELE: What have you learnt from being a father?
BONGO KANNY: Patients love and care
SEIF KABELELE: If you had three hours in your favorite city, where would you go and what would you do?
BONGO KANNY: >> KINGSTON STUDIO RECORDING- Three words lol
SEIF KABELELE: You’re very much a worldwide thing. What’s been your favorite experience on the road of late?
BONGO KANNY: Recently performing and shooting video in Haiti. Observing the resilience of a people whom suffered so much. Beautiful people and land. A small Africa.
SEIF KABELELE: Final question. Which reggae artists have you most enjoyed sharing a stage with or even just a chat with over the years?
BONGO KANNY: Buju Banton, Babysham, Foxy Brown, Cocoa Tea, Bushman, Sizzla, Capleton, Queen Ifrica, Freddie mcgregor, horace andy plus many many more.