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Jah Creation sings for the BBC
"Jah Creation, reggae style ..."
 real 28k

Jah Creation sings
"I am a schoolboy ... "
 real 28k

Friday, 4 August, 2000, 15:21 GMT 16:21 UK
Cameroon's rising reggae star
Jah Creation
Bright future: Jah Creation
By Francis Ngwa-Niba in Cameroon

He is only seven years old but for the past three weeks, he has been carrying an oversized guitar and singing with his father as they strut around the streets of Yaounde.

They pull crowds wherever they go in the Cameroonian capital, because most people still do not want to believe that a seven-year-old can play a bass guitar and sing beautifully - albeit childishly.


Many people have heard my son play on BBC radio

Joseph Ngwasiri, father
Born Fowah Ngwasiri, the child musician says his prefered artistic name is Jah Creation.

His father Joseph Ngwasiri, 36 - alias Reg Joe - a not very successful musician, describes their street singing as "hustling".

Though based in Bamenda, in north-west Cameroon, he and his gifted son have toured four provinces of Cameroon singing and getting paid small sums by the usually enthusiastic crowds that turn out to watch them.

"Many people have heard my son play on BBC radio while others read an article about him in Focus on Africa Magazine," Joseph says, adding that this exposure helps them tremendously when they are performing in the street.

They get very little in return, approximately $10 for about eight hours of singing.

Father and son
The young star has been taught by his musician father
To the father the money is not particularly important, but he is training his son whom he accidentally discovered playing his guitar some three years ago, and started giving him lessons.

"I get up in the morning" is the song most people ask Jah Creation to repeat again and again. It is apparently the best song in the small repertoire of the child musician.

Composer

Jah Creation says he is not forced by his father to play music - he plays because he likes doing it a lot. He admits that he has personally composed three songs but considering that his father, a musician, is his main mentor, the question of his composing songs is debatable .

Jah Creation is not worried he cannot have a normal life like other boys his age, and is proud that he is now "playing music in Yaounde, the capital of Cameroon".

Public reaction to the playing child musician has been enthusiastic.

Cho Salah Pius, a Yaounde-based businessman, describes Jah Creation as "a wonderful Rastafarian... at his age he is perfect... he plays enjoyable Reggae music".

Another fan simply describes Jah Creation as "the youngest bass man in the world".

Ambitious

Joseph has an ambitious plan for the future of his family. His second son, called Destiny, is only four but already plays drums.

Destiny will be part of the family group for their December tour.

His dream is now to create a musical group with his two boys. "We will break world records," he says.

He boasts that no other musical family group - not even the Jacksons - had people who played drums at the age of four and a bass guitar at the age of seven.

Only his wife, who divorced him some time ago, will be the missing link in the family group.

Life is presently difficult for the musical family. They live in a run-down house, but because as Rastafarians they have faith in Jah, they strongly believe something will happen someday and things will change.

The gifted Jah Creation has time on his side.

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See also:

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