With Mamour M. Mbenga
In this edition of Art and Music, Foroyaa conduct an exclusive interview with one of the most prominent Gambian reggae dancehall disc jockeys called DJ Kalaras.
Foroyaa: Introduce yourself to our readers?
D.J Kalaras: My name is Gifty Macauley, alias DJ Kalaras. I’m a Gambian by national and was born in Farafenni, grew up in Banjul and currently living in Sanchaba Sulay Jobe.
Foroyaa: Tell us about your educational background?
D.J Kalaras: I attended Arch Deacon George Memorial Senior Secondary School and I completed in 2003.
Foroyaa: What inspired you to take up disc jockeying as a career?
D.J Kalaras: I was engaged in music since my childhood days and I love it so much. It has now become natural to me.
Foroyaa: Are you doing it full time or part time?
D.J Kalaras: Oh! I’m doing it fulltime as a profession.
Foroyaa: When did you actually start your career as a D.J?
D.J Kalaras: I first started this disc jockeying job in West Coast radio from 2008 to 2012 and later joined Paradise F.M from 2013 to date.
Foroyaa: Why are you pursuing music promotion as a career?
D.J Kalaras: I am involved in musical entertainment as a career in order to contribute to the development of young people and the country through music.
Foroyaa: How many times are you been on air at the radio station?
D.J Kalaras: I play three times in a week on different days.
Foroyaa: What type of music genre are you promoting in your radio programs?
D.J Kalaras: I promote reggae and dancehall, mixed with Gambian music. I promote reggae music because it basically talks about being righteous and justice. I also promote educative songs. I don’t promote violent music; music that disturbs the public peace.
Foroyaa: How many years have you been in the field?
D.J Kalaras: I started in 1996, that time I was playing in naming ceremonies, marriages, birthday parties, etc.
Foroyaa: Do you still engage in outdoor entertainment?
D.J Kalaras: I play in outdoor shows such as festivals, carnivals, concerts, fundraising events, club parties, musical tours etc.
Foroyaa: Do you work alone or with a group in these outdoor events?
D.J Kalaras: I have my own group called Convious Sound Movement which comprises various upcoming talents who want to take up DJ work as a full time career.
Foroyaa: Have you trained any young DJ during your career?
D.J Kalaras: I have trained and inspired many young people to become DJs including epassy, sniper, repz, to name a few. These are some of the upcoming DJs who work with me in the programs I stage or participate in programmes and whatever income we derive from such events are shared among ourselves. I treat them just like my brothers.
Foroyaa: What do you say to the claim by some Gambian artistes that most of the D.J’s only promote foreign music on their radio programmes?
D.J Kalaras: I don’t agree with this and can say that now we have more Gambian D.J’s that promote Gambian artistes more than foreign music in most radio stations. Promoting foreign music is also important as we also want Gambian music to be appreciated outside by other people.
Foroyaa: Why is it those Gambian reggae artistes and their songs are less promoted in the radio stations by D.J’s nowadays?
D.J Kalaras: The music producers are producing more Afro beats, hip-hop and rap mbalax songs now than reggae beats. In this case it is not the fault of the D.J’s because what we play and promote in our radio shows is what is brought to us by artistes.
Foroyaa: What are some of the challenges you face in your profession?
D.J Kalaras: Music projects need finance and support on different aspects. I have lot of projects in the pipeline that need financing to take off the ground but which is not forthcoming. Anyway, I am expecting new musical equipment very soon.
Foroyaa: How do you see the piracy of the work of some artistes?
D.J Kalaras: This is a bad practice which should not be condoned by any DJ. We have to work hard to make sure that artistes benefit from their royalties. I always buy my songs in the internet using a credit card. I got the link in Belgium.
Foroyaa: How do you see the Gambian music landscape now?
D.J Kalaras: It is now better nowadays and we just need to improve on it. We need a positive attitude to unite, share and love each other.
Foroyaa: Do you have any working relations with other Gambian DJ’s?
D.J Kalaras: Yes, I love all of them as colleagues in the profession. As you know, Kalares is a freeman and peace and unity is my answer to all of them.
Foroyaa: Do you also work with other DJ’s outside the Gambia?
D.J Kalaras: Yes, I do work with some DJs in Belgium and the likes of D.J Degrorank in England, New Vision Sound in Finland, D.J Rudy, High Greed Sound in Jamaica, etc.
Foroyaa: What Advice do you have for your fellow D.J’s in the country?
D.J Kalaras: We need to work as a collective and to support each other in a collaborative manner. It is not about competing with one another but supporting each other.
D.J Kalaras can be reached on 7818204 3134134