What's On-A chat with Yusupha Mboob another Gambian mbalax sensation
Friday, January 18, 2008
Yusupha Mboob is another Gambian mbalax heart-throb struggling hard to gain international recognition. He is currently based in Austria where he is active in music more than ever before.
Born and raised in Banjul, the young mbalax star hailed from a griot family with the likes of Pap Touray, his (uncle) who was then the lead singer of the Super Eagles, Ifangbondi and Sotokoto bands respectively.
His mother Aji Chuch Njie commonly referred to as the queen of traditional music in The Gambia was not also a hidden name in the country's music arena, as she also travelled internationally promoting her music. Yus as he is commonly called is currently working on his new album called "Saraba Saraba" which will soon storm the music market.
In this interview with What's On, from his base in Vienna, Austria, The Gambian mbalax star talks about his music career among others.
Tell us little about yourself?
Well my name is Yusupha Mboob. I am a Gambian currently living in Austria. I left The Gambia because I had the feeling that I couldn't move on there. Many Gambians are more welcoming to foreign musicians compared to the local ones. I had the feeling that I didn't get enough support in The Gambia. And I wanted to help my family, this is why I left the country and went to Europe.
I am the only Gambian mbalax singer who is in Europe at the moment. I am promoting traditional Gambian music in Europe.
Anytime Gambians need me, I will always be available.
When did you start singing mbalax?
I started singing since I was very young, about 7 years-old. I inherited the talent and feeling for music from my family, especially my uncle and my mum. I started with mbalax, I have never ventured into another music. I am a real, true mbalax singer!
People often compare me to Youssou N'Dour. But I am different from him, because I am a Gambian and I have my own style, which is rooted in The Gambia and Gambian traditions.
How many albums have you produced so far?
I have produced three albums. My first album was "Dinga Dem" ("You will go"), sponsored by Gamstar. I also produced two other albums, "Why Are We Fighting" and "Setlu" ("Observe"). At the moment I am working on a new album called "Saraba Saraba" which I plan to release in The Gambia. This album will include a tribute song to my uncle Pap Touray. I want to use it to tell Gambians especially musicians, that we should not forget where we belong. We should remember where our music started from. I am known here because of mbalax and I use it to help my family, support my people in The Gambia.
My next single track after that will be called "Ligey". I am just working on the video clip. "Ligey" means "work. And this is what I do here in Europe. In this song, I tell all Gambians how important work is. We have to move on and try to make things better with our own hands! Hard work can develop a country.
I even recorded a nice song with the Gambian reggae star Singateh (aka Freaky Joe) when he visited me here in Austria. The song is called "Suma Njabot" ("My Family"). I will release it soon.
You are one of the nominees in the upcoming Gambian Talents Promotions awards night. Which categories are you nominated in?
Well, I have been nominated for the "Mbalax Song Of The Year" and also the "Most Outstanding Overseas Male Artist". I am very happy about the nomination because it will help me to promote my music and our country in the music world.
How do you feel about being nominated for those categories?
I am very happy to be with nominated artists in the same award. It is very important to keep in mind, that we are all brothers and sisters. We should not see each other as competitors. We should love and respect each other and work together for a better future. I hope that in future Gambian musicians and Gambian music in general will be more known in the world.
The Gambian Talents Award is a big promotion for us! I really want to thank people and organisations like "Gambian Talents" or "Saul Sounds" who have made it possible for us to promote our music.
How is it like to be a musician in Austria?
It is very nice, because I'm getting a lot of support from The Gambians living here, and from other Africans and also the Austrian people. Of course, sometimes it is not easy to be a musician. You have to work very hard. When my own people criticise me, I feel happy because success cannot come without criticism. It makes you stronger.
Author: by Sherrif Janko