Ras Emmanuel enjoys trip to Gambia


January 10, 2019
Contributed Ras Emmanuel speaks with schoolchildren from Gambia.
Contributed Ras Emmanuel (left) poses with Senegalese designer Essa Jobe.

Jamaica-born and New Jersey-based deejay Ras Emmanuel has just returned from Gambia in Africa, were he spent almost three weeks doing live performances and humanitarian work in the coastal West African nation where reggae music is adored.

Ras Emmanuel, a multiple-award winning New York tri-state area artiste, did five performances across Gambia in the last few weeks of 2018. While there, his base was in Banjul, the capital, but he was able to penetrate the countryside too. He did track dates with African Light Sound, a local sound system, and the appearances formed part of the promotion of his current album Until That Day that has been generating buzz in parts of West Africa.

The visit to Gambia was prompted by the response to lead tracks from Ras Emmanuel's album and the popularity he has been gaining in the country as a result.

This trip was Ras Emmanuel's first time to Africa, and he was surprised to learn how popular reggae music is there. He visited two schools in the region, the Kotu Junior and Senior Secondary School and the Ibrahim Bilingual School in Kololi. He sponsored the tuition of two students from the schools and donated school supplies to families in need there. He also met with regional fashion designer Essa Jobe from nearby Senegal, who dressed Ras Emmanuel for some of his live appearances.

Now that he has got a taste of the country, Ras Emmanuel is eager to return.

"I am already planning my next trip back to West Africa. Similarities with the food, the music, the fashion and the culture are of great interest to me," he said. "There is hunger for spiritual food in the Gambia, and reggae provides that nourishment there in a big way."

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