Wednesday, April 19, 2017

My Music is Africa’s Dream Sound –Daps

Daps in his studio

All my life in Jos, I have never heard a jingle that as creative as it. It is that Hausa jingle, which started getting aired last year, 2016, on Peace FM 90.5. It urges the people of Plateau State to unite for its prosperity: ku zo mu daga Plato ta ci gaba.

I never suspected that the very jingle had been made by Daps, one of Jos town’s most talked-about and long-reigning music artists.  This is because his vocal idiosyncrasy did not manifest in the jingle. So, I was shocked when the Plateau Radio-Television Corporation’s, PRTVC’s, Director of Programmes, Sunday Ali Gyang, told me Daps made it. 

I met Daps at his studio in Kabong, at the Gada Biyu suburb of the city. I had heard his voice for over ten years, but had never set eyes on him. He wasn’t anywhere close to the picture that I had built in my head: short, with a crude look. 

Daps said the rhythm and the message in the jingle just came naturally. Given that the song actually exudes a Plateau ambience, I asked how he achieved that. His answer was simple: “it is a gift.” Then he adds, “I love ethnic sounds. My music is Africa’s dream sound.”  As to why the voice does not sound like the voice we are used to hearing, he revealed that; even though he wrote, founded the melody, and produced the song; his younger brother, Sha Gwom, and an obscure security guard who is responsible for that Central Plateau feel in the jingle, performed it.

This jingle is the latest of Dap’s jingles for PRTVC. Before it, he had two other jingles for the pioneer radio station, one of which has been aired for more than ten years.  But in my opinion, this recent one is the greatest. It is original, not just because it talks about the uniqueness of Plateau State, but because, listening to it deeply, you get the impression that the maker was, from the beginning, conscious of the need to approach the music from an astonishing angle and was able to achieve just that.

Done with the jingle issues, I then asked Daps about his international connections that saw him working with other artists from around the world. He talked about one Margaret Motsage from South Africa, James Vincent from Texas-USA, and the Spanish Project in North America, etc. Daps has also done international movie soundtracks and was nominated for one of the best African Soundtracks for the movie, Seventy Six, which was released this February. 

Daps is of the opinion that if upcoming artists really want to actualize their music dreams, they need mentors. It is the mentor that guides an artist towards designing his music style. According to him, “skill is good and comes naturally, but there is a limit to where it takes you, and there is a limit to where discipline can take you. The mentor brings discipline into the musician. The best musician is not he that is skilful. It is he that is disciplined.”

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