Marcel Salem is a Senegalese Reggae artist. He recently recorded his first alum Carroy 44 with 10 reggae songs. Below is an interview with Marcel Salem.
Question: What is the reggae scene like in Sénégal?
Answer: Reggae music is very popular and appreciated in Sénégal, many people listen to it.
Question: How about the ska scene?
Answer: What do you mean by “ ska scene”?
Question: What first drew your attention to Reggae?
Answer: I first realized that reggae music is something through which I can transmit all that is in my mind and in my heart.
Question: What was the first Reggae song you ever heard?
Answer: The first reggae song I heard was from jimmy cliff
Question: Who and what are your influences?
Answer: I liked reggae music very much and I couldn’t stay all day long without listening to reggae and I know that reggae is a means of transmitting social realities.
Question: What style of reggae is played often in your country? [Dancehall, Lovers Rock, Conscious etc.] What style do the majority of fans seem to prefer?
Answer: Dance hall is often played in Sénégal and the majority of fans like it but reggae roots is also played.
Question: Was the fact that Reggae is English and Patois a barrier?
Answer: The fact that reggae music is in English or patois is not a barrier at all, many people like and listen to reggae music without understanding the songs.
Question: Is Reggae mainstream and is it played on the radio there? Videos on TV?
Answer: reggae is not the principal music in Sénégal, but there are some reggae music programmes on the radio and TV.
Question: How is Reggae influencing your culture?
Answer: As an African reggae music has a great influence on my culture because Jamaican people have their origins in Africa and many Jamaicans sang about Africa.
Question: If someone traveled to visit your home and wanted to hear reggae music, what would they have do?
Answer: If someone wants to visit Sénégal, he will not have to do anything at all, he can hear reggae music wherever in Sénégal.
Question: How would you describe your country’s reggae sound and development?
Answer: Reggae music is very liked and listened in Sénégal and new generations are becoming more and more involved in reggae. I was the first to initiate reggae music but there are many other reggae groups that I am trying to encourage.
Question: What are some of the names of the popular local artist? Who would be the top 5 artists?
Answer: I am interested in reggae music because it is an opportunity for me to express what is in my mind and my feelings.
Question: Who is your favorite Reggae Artist?
Answer: Peter Tosh is my favorite singer.
Question: Where do you think Reggae will be in 10 years time? And in Sénégal?
Answer: In ten years time reggae music will be very developed in Sénégal , not only in Sénégal but in Africa and throughout the world.
Question: Do you think there is anything preventing Reggae from flourishing for you and your fellow artists in Sénégal ?
Answer: Nothing can prevent me or my fellow artists from developing reggae music, but concerning some groups there is a lack of means.
Question: How are you involved in Reggae?
Answer: How can we stay without being involved in reggae music if we consider all the problems around the world which we have to denounce and draw the attention of people. As a singer I can not limit myself in my country’s realities but I have also to let people know what is going on in the world.
Question: Have you ever been to Jamaica?
Answer: Unfortunatly I have never been in Jamaica but if I could swim I would swim to Jamaica. (Laugh)
Question: Do you have many/any Jamaican people living there?
Answer: I, myself I don’t know any Jamaicans living in Sénégal, but if you know some Jamaicans living in Sénégal or in Paris, I would like to be in contact with them..
Question: Do you eat Jamaican food? Like what?
Answer: All that Jamaican people eat, is eaten in Sénégal but in our ethny our favourite dish is lezard a kind of reptile.
Thanks for the interview. All the best with your new album and tour.