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Kansoul: On new album, censorship and the middle finger

One of Kenya’s most popular Afro pop group The Kansoul is set to release their long awaited first album Utamu Wa Life later in the year.

The Mabega famed group, comprising of Madtraxx, Mejja and Kid Kora also made its debut this year on Coke Studio Africa season four where they will paired with top Mozambican singer Lizha James.

The trio got candid with Nairobi News and talked about how they started as a group, their new album and government censorship.

Q. Was it a surprise for you to win at Bingwa Awards just after forming the group? 

Madtraxx – We thank Kenyans for listening and appreciating our music.

Mejja – It was a big a surprise to win and I was no satisfied and it gave me craving to work hard. Some people when they get little fame they waste it and think that it is the end of the world and stop working hard.

Q. Where did the name Kansoul come from?

Mejja – I was standing on the balcony and it just came to me and I thought it sounded nice but please do not ask me the meaning of the name. We started as a group of 12 people and I wanted it to be a movement because there are so many talented people out there who have never got the opportunity to be exposed and their songs played on radio.

Madtraxx welcomed everybody in his studio for free but unfortunately the old guards who had songs before were the ones working hard than the people who were unknown and soon they started leaving and we were left the three of us. It was not about us, it was about them.]

Q. Why did you form The Kansoul?

Kid Kora – The whole idea was to form a movement because we believe in Kenyan music industry so much. Mejja and Madtraxx have been constantly making hits after hits through out there careers they saw an opportunity to help guys and they welcomed me.

I have been in the music industry for a while and I can say I have had my own struggles and they gave me an opportunity and they have natured me.

PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU
PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU

Q. Who came up with the idea of Double-Tap and who wrote the song?

Madtraxx – Kora came up with the beats and I gave Mejja the idea … most of the time you find yourself going through Instagram and we were always double tapping. It wasn’t meant to be our first song, but God works in mysterious ways and it ended up being our first.

Q. Tell us about your new single Utamu Wa Life and why did you shoot the video in black and white?

Madtraxx – Basically we are known for club songs, about partying and all that. So this is a little different because we all talk about personal experience and we do not talk in a sad way, we are telling people what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and not matter what you go through that is what your story is about.

I talk about my personal struggles, trying to get in the industry, being judged, Mejja talks about his struggles of people not taking him seriously when he says he wants to be an artist, Kora, a lot of people doubting him, doubting his flow, his skills.

That is one reason we went with a black and white video. It was in colour and Kora suggested that we go with a black and white video and after we did that it was magic.

Q. Kora, do you think the song will be censored because at some point you are showing the middle finger?

It will depend, you chose to censor it go ahead. It is art and one the thing about art, you cannot put it in a box. I’m not going to censor what I have to say. If it is about the middle finger I’m going to stick it out and say what I want to say.

Q. What can we expect in your new Utamu Wa Life album, are there any collabo’s?

Mejja – The whole album has different kind of feel. You will notice that most groups release a certain song and it becomes a hit, they will stick to the same tempo. Our album will be different, it will have slow beat, African influenced, hip hop and many more.

We have collaborated with big artists from East Africa. The album is ready and it will be released later in the year.  I believe it will be a good album.