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SNAPPY 7: Wailing Souls – We smoke natural herb, not hard drugs

Jamaican roots-reggae group Wailing Souls held a concert in Nairobi on Saturday night as part of a tour that also included a HIV/AIDS awareness campaign.

The duo sat down and spoke to Nairobi News about their life, family and growing up with the legendary Bob Marley in Trench Town and also coming to perform in Africa for the first time.

1. You are in Kenya to promote your initiative about HIV/AIDS. Why did you choose Kenya? – First we will be doing a concert here, and also we are here to talk to the youth about protecting themselves against this terrible HIV infection which we hear is very prevalent among the youth.

Growing up in Jamaica as kids, Kenya was a place we heard so much about, because the elders used to tell us about Kenya, especially Jomo Kenyatta. There is always a place in our hearts for Kenyans. We have traveled extensively in Europe and Asia, but we have never come to any part of Africa.

2. Why have you chosen to stick to singing roots and where do you get your inspiration? – Roots is the truth. We sing roots because that is the truth and that is the art of the matter, the message to the people, peace, love, unity.

Writing songs is a very difficult thing to do. You are either writing a message or you are telling a story. We always have that power to write songs for the people because we feel the suffering and the struggling that the people feel. We always get inspiration from the Almighty.

In the music industry every entertainer takes something, but we only take the natural stuff which is natural; the herb. We don’t do no hard drugs, never, we never do hard drugs.

3. How did you get the names Pipe and Bread? Pipe: I got my name in Trench Town, we usually call it the music village, because the best of the best in the music business is from Trench Town. In my home they used to have a talent parade and I used to win. Every evening I won and they gave us one dollar. One evening this elder came and said, “Man you are the Pied Piper man, you don’t see that everyone come when you start to sing” and then from then they started calling me ‘Pipe’.

Bread: I used to like to say it’s a piece of cake, but I changed it to a piece of bread and eventually they started calling me ‘Bread’ and it stuck.

4. You are childhood friends? – Yes, since the days we used to wear short pants. Yes, we moved away from our childhood homes, but we still go back and talk to the youth and tell them to put down the guns. We tell them they can do better like us because we grew in the same place.

5. How do you cope being away from your families for long periods? – We have been doing this for so long. I (Pipe) wrote my number one song when I was 10. I started to take care of my family when I was 13. So now they know this is our work, when we are away they always know we will be back.

6. Did you ever meet the late Bob Marley? – We grew up with him, he was like our big brother. As we said, Joe ‘Jomo’ Higgs, he taught him and he taught us. They were like our elder brothers, we talked, played cricket, soccer together and then when we finish playing those sports, we would go in to the kitchen, sing all night, smoke and cook and people would gather around and listen. He was like a big brother to us.

7. What should Kenyans expect from your concert? – Nothing but the best, the great songs that Kenyans love. We will make sure all those songs, we are ready for them. We had 25 songs from our list but the promoter gave us 15 songs that they said Kenyans will sing word for word.