Dancehall Reggae Artiste Yankuba Dibba aka Starlwart

Introduce yourself to our readers?
Yankuba Dibba is my name, but I am called Stalwart. I was brought up in Bakau, but I now live in Latrikunda German.

I am a reggae dancehall artist, an artist who is here to speak for the poor; to defend the weak and the vulnerable in society.

That is why some called me the “Dancehall scientist”, because for me, I initiate things in the dancehall arena. I am also called the “Mental Assassin” because I do not need guns and knives, all my needs are words, power and sound.

When did you start music?
All what I can say is the inspiration came to me in the early 90’s when Shabba Ranks was singing lot of tunes. I was really inspired by Shabba Ranks. I have been singing these songs of Shabba for my classmates and people in the street.

I can remember when tourists visit our class, my teacher will tell me to sing for them, and so I used to sing the Shabba tunes for them. But I started serious music when I started writing lyrics for myself some years back.

How many tracks did you record?
Many tracks, I can’t even remember some of them; the songs I recorded are more than 10. As we speak, I am just from the studio. I am from recording a song. People should expect it soon.

l me your popular songs.
There is one of my songs called ‘Diwe the car’. This was very popular and well appreciated by people. For me, promotion is my problem. I am not satisfied with the promoters here. I only get feedback from the people when I browse the internet.

If I compare the response I am getting from people all over the world with the promotion I get from our local promoters, I always feel that our local promoters are not doing enough. I gave my CD to these promoters, but some of them do not play the tracks.

On the internet is different, because people listen to the good tracks and send me feed back. One of the songs called ‘home again’ is a very good one and it was well received internationally.

I received comments from the listeners through the internet. But here, our promoters are not promoting the songs. That is why for me, I do my personal promotions on the internet. I cannot tell the promoters the songs they should promote, but I want to tell my fans that if they want to be updated about my music, let them log on to face book. My songs are on the internet.

which recording studio are you working with?
I was working with Shy boy Entertainment, but the Studio owner was not taking me seriously and so I had to quit his studio. We disagreed over certain things and I decided to quit Shy Boy.

Are you working on an album?
Stalwart: Yes I am working on an album. I am recording the tracks for the album. I am working gradually towards that because I can’t wait until I have everything intact. I will soon release the album.

What will be the title of the album?
Stalwart: I want to keep that for now, it will come as a surprise. All I know is that it will be a captivating title.

Do you have a management?
I have a manager. I do finance my activities. Sometimes friends help me especially those living abroad, they do send me money and tell me to go to studio and record my songs.

Which concert is your best performance?
It was a concert at the beach organized byComium. The turn up was good and I was supported by a live band. This was the time the “smiling coast rhythm” was released.

What is the problem of Gambian music?
Some artists have to work hard before they enter a studio to record their songs. Some inefficient artists are turning people away from Gambian music. The producers also have to guide the artists when they are recording their songs.

They should not only concentrate on how to make money. If a song is not good, they should discourage the artist from producing it.

They should make sure that they work with the artists until they are both satisfied with the song. Some promoters only promote artists they know or producers they have a relation with which is very bad. If we collaborate well, Gambian music will develop.

Tell me something about your education background?
I went to St. Augustine’s Senior Secondary School and later to GTTI. I also went to Insight Training Center where I studied plumbing and construction.

This means you do a different job.
The reason why I went to school is to support myself because you know support to Gambian artist is lacking. One has to do supplementary work to support one’s music career. I am not benefiting from music financially. If I don’t do anything productive, society will term me as somebody useless.

How will you react to critics claim that Dancehall is not Gambian music?
Music has no boundary. Gentlemen is a white man, but he is doing well in the dancehall arena. Reggae music is appreciated by Gambians, so if you want to play another type of music, it may be a problem. The kind of music one plays does not matter, but the message is what matters, to me, what is important now is how I represent The Gambia.

What are your dreams now?
My dream is to produce an album and present it to the people, not just an album, but a proper album. You know I don’t want to produce bad music.

How can one get in touch with you?
Stalwart: My manager’s number is 7073617 and mine is 6751505.

I could be reached on the internet on facebook.com/starlwart

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