Sunday 29 December 2013


If Djei Gogo has his way, everyone will begin the New Year on an upbeat note. And not only upbeat, but dancing to a certain rhythm - a unifying, “Majestic Riddim”.

This is the name of an original music project that Djei has spearheaded. The Ivorian-born, Czech Republic-based producer sent the same reggae melody to performers around the world and asked them to create songs based on his tune, and he was surprised at the positive reaction he got.

Djei Gogo
Thirty-four artists from three continents agreed to provide vocals, resulting in 29 versions of Djei’s “Majestic Riddim”. The contributors include such big names as Jamaican singers Half Pint and Perfect Giddimani, and young talents that are being introduced to an international audience for the first time.

“I didn’t expect such a huge response,” Djei told SWAN. “I was planning to use only a few songs but as I listened and realized how good they were, I thought: why not use all of them?”

Djei says that “Majestic Riddim” has a “conscious vibe” and is meant to build bridges. The project unites artists from a host of countries, including France, Nigeria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Kenya, Germany, Senegal and Spain – all singing to a similar beat.

Djei, a professional bass player who has worked as a producer for 15 years, mixed all the contributions at his Flavour Production company in Prague. As each song has the same instrumental introduction, it does take the listener some time to get accustomed to more than two dozen songs all with the same melody. But then one focuses on the lyrics, which are all different, and which remind us, as Djei says, that music has no barriers and no frontiers.

The performers sing or rap in their own language, such as English, French and German, and the message is about love, justice, self-reliance and new beginnings.

Sista Carmen, one of the few women artists on the compilation, sings in Spanish that she wants “un mundo perfecto” (a perfect world) while Superior urges: People be smart / stay clean at heart / we have to restart / everybody take part. A pefect rhyme and riddim for 2014?

Majestic Riddim is available through digital download on iTunes, Amazon, and BandCamp.

Friday 6 December 2013


As people around the world mourned the passing of former South African President Nelson Mandela, who died on Thursday night, the words of UNESCO’s Director-General Irina Bokova struck a particular chord.

“Nelson Mandela was truly a giant among men,” Bokova said. “He not only changed South Africa’s history, he changed the world and made it a better place. He taught us all a lesson on the power of peace and reconciliation; the importance of forgiveness and respect for the dignity of each and every human being.”

The head of the United Nations’ cultural agency continued: “The greatest tribute we can pay him, is to carry on his message of hope and to continue his fierce defense of the values he stood for.”