Jamaican-British Artist Brina Looks to AFRICA

Nostalgic: Brina

Nostalgic: Brina

UNITED Kingdom-based reggae singer Brina is looking to Africa with the release of her EP, Reggae Sauti Za Kiswahili.

Recorded in Swahili language, the five-track set is co-produced by Kieran Murray and the singer, and was released on September 8.

“I want to bring Jamaican reggae back to Africa with an African language,” she told the Jamaica Observer.

Swahili is the official language of Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda. The total number of Swahili speakers exceeds 140 million and it is one of the official languages of the African Union.

Brina, whose given name is Sabrina Ward, believes the move will give her a greater audience.

“With so many African languages to choose from, it was easy for me to connect with Swahili and especially Kenya. My goal is to release an entire album in African languages. Although I do not fluently speak Swahili, singing it feels like second nature,” said the Jamaican-born singer, who is in her 20s.

She said, with the help of friends living in Tanzania and Kenya, she had the lyrics translated and then worked on dictation and pronunciation.

“My new lyrics in Swahili became poetry, as I recited them over and over, so that it would stick in my mind. I did this so when it came to recording, I would be as free and confident as possible. It became a spiritual experience for me. It did not take very long for me to master the words and lyrics, perhaps only a day or two for each song,” she said of the project.

The set features tracks including Heri Pahali, Lala Vizuri, Skiza and Naimba Real Reggae Music.

Brina said so far the response has been favourable.

“The response from listeners was overwhelmingly positive! People living outside of [Kenya’s capital] Nairobi, as far as Meru and Kisumu, Eldoret, Kisii, hundreds of kilometres away, are calling radio stations and contacting me via social media and asking for more music,” she said.

The EP is a follow up on her 2012 debut album Under One Sun, featuring Toots Hibbert and Sly Dunbar.

Brina, who hails from the parish of Manchester (Jamaica), was second runner-up in the national finals of the Miss Jamaica Festival Queen competition in 2008. During the competition, she performed her original composition entitled Where Is The African Pride.

She visited Scotland in 2010 and has been trying to infiltrate that European market ever since. Her other releases include Seeds of Freedom, Real Reggae Music, and Listen.

Source: Cecilia Campbell-Livingston|JamaicaObserver.com

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