The third edition of the ReggaeKunda Festival, the first reggae festival in Gambia, is scheduled to take place on Friday 8 January at the Serekunda West Mini Stadium. Created to give a platform to upcoming and established reggae dancehall artists in the Gambia and abroad, the main aim of the festival, is to fundraise for the country’s only professional music school; Mandingmorry Academy of Music (MAM).
“We currently provide 22 students with free scholarships,” says Executive Director of the academy Ibraheem Ceesay, “for a comprehensive study of ''Musicology'' for 12months covering music theory, vocal lessons, arts and culture studies, guitar, drum sets, and keyboards which forms the basic understanding of how to compose, write, play and sing quality music.”
The festival will comprise two stages. Artists performing on the dancehall stage include A2, King Mozai, Daddy Boston, Queen Parla, Musical Virus, Moja, Sparkln Black, Don Skull, Emperor Amiru, Queen Atuta, Idlistic, Silver Youth and David Spliff, Sang Perrra.
The second stage will have Deejay Limbo, T. Smallz, Ras Askia, Singateh, Stalwart, Magnificent Joe, Royal Messenger, ENC, Papa Lenghty, Dr. Shaka, Njie B, Lixen, Laady Quincy Fyah, Silky Criss, Maha D Hammer, Jah Micheal, Egalitarian, Benjamin, Lixen, Spohia Byass, Angee of Sweden, Jah Turban of Jamaica to be back by Holy Family Band, Richards and Friends Band and Fire House Crew.
The current MAM curriculum stipulates that every student knows how to play an instrument, with the compulsory learning of a traditional Gambian instrument—the kora, balafong or the Djembe.
Says Ceesay: “We intend to use the MAM to create a new means of youth employment and empowerment for youths interested in earning a livelihood from the music and creative industry.”