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“Gambian artists, producers and promoters should be one family,” exclusive interview with Eddie Conta
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“Gambian artists, producers and promoters should be one family,” exclusive interview with Eddie Conta

Eddie Conta is a Gambian musician based in Sweden, and the son of reggae legend, Demba Conta. He was born in The Gambia and moved to Sweden at a very tender age. 

Like his father, Eddie has a strong passion for music. In an exclusive interview with What’s On-Gambia, he tells us more about himself and his music career. 

What’s On-Gambia: Give us a brief background of your musical career? 

Eddie: Music is part of my family, so I grew up listening to different musicians. After completing my education and securing a job, I felt it was time to be a little more serious with music. I released a single in 2011 called Dongoo followed by my debut album. I am currently working on my next album which will contain combinations with artists like Jaliba Kuyateh. The songs in the album are produced by Base5 Production in Stockholm, Sunland Music and studios in Dakar. 

Which musicians inspired you? 

Demba Conta! I grew up with his music and voice around me. Salif Keita is also an artist I admire a lot. I like poetic praise singers like Lalo Kebba, Sorry Kandia. The list is long. 

What is your relationship with Demba Conta? 

He is my father, one of my best friends and my mentor. 

Is your dad still into music? 

Dad and his wife Zanna Hulten Conta are nowadays working with vocal coaching and artist management. They are providing vocal coaching to some of the finest artists in Sweden and introducing new talents to record companies. 

Are any of your siblings into music as much as you are? 

Yes, my sister Iman (Milou), Sunjata, Lamin and Demba JR (Young Squage) are all into music and doing really good. 

How would you describe your music and what makes it different? 

I basically jumped into the music field because of my love for our culture, the Gambian culture. I felt really sad when I visited the Gambia some years ago and found out that some of our country men were ashamed of speaking their own languages not mentioning dance to the drum sounds of the Gambia. They found it primitive. It was very confusing and saddening for me. So when I came back to Sweden, I decide that I should play my little role in promoting a culture which I believed was on the edge of fading out. I choose afro-manding because I felt that Mandinka is the language I can express myself in the way I want my music to touch the receiving end. The signature of my music is Gambian and my commitment is to make sure that when you hear my sound, you’re able to guess that it’s Gambian. 

What else do you do apart from music? 

I work as an Engineer for global IT Company. So professionally, engineering comes first and music comes after. 

Why do you think most Gambian musicians have failed to penetrate the international market? 

To me the reason for that is a combination of several things. Gambians need to fully embrace their own. We need to be proud of what we have and not be a flock of followers. Remember, charity begins at home. If we are not proud and promote our own, who will do it for us? We should not feel ashamed for being patriotic. This is what most nations and their children are doing. Very often when you visit Gambian entertainment gatherings, most of the music played is foreign. You very hardly hear any Gambian cultural entertainment materials or music. We have to show the world that we believe in our culture and artists and the world will follow. But if we diss our own and promote others then we will remain behind. 

One more problem, in my opinion, is we have very talented artists and producers but we are lacking quality recording, mastering and duplication facilities. You can never be taken seriously in an international arena if you can’t provide quality sound. 

What advice do you have for your fellow artists? 

Well, as an artist you need to have your own music signature, your style. You should be original. That’s what draws folks’ curiosity toward you. Gambia is a very small music nation. Artist should put their focus on the thing they love the most, which is music and not spend too much energy on negative vibes. Negative vibes only distract you from your target. Gambian artists, producers and promoters should be one family. We can’t afford to be distracted. 

Are you planning any concert in The Gambia soon? 

We are at the moment in contact with some promoters in the Gambia about that. More info on that will follow. 

What do you do in your free time? 

I try to spend time with my family in Stockholm, spend time in my studio, read technical articles and exercise. 

Are you still actively involved in The Gambian Organization in Stockholm? 

I resigned from the chairman post two years ago. I am however still acting as one of senior advisers to the executive committee. 

Any last remarks to your fans? 

I thank the fans for believing in me, for the great support and feedback provided to me both privately and through Facebook. With God, my family and their support, I fear nothing


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