Kaira speaks on his old group Boiz Lazy and new directions

I happen to have been along the commercial city of Blantyre streets when an HIV and AIDS message reminded me of something way back in the late 90s. Yes, Boiz Lazy! And immediately, I remembered Jeff Kaira, that cool musical dude well know for his crooning in tracks like ‘Mundiunikile’.

I just could not resist the urge to ask him a few questions!

PM: You used to belong to a group called Boiz Lazy way back in time. What was your role then in the group?

Jeff: My role in the group then was to compose songs and organize  shows. Pretty much much like everyone else.

PM: UNICEF made the Boiz one great performing act Malawi has ever had. How do you think you changed young peoples perspective in their anti-HIV and AIDS campaign?

Jeff: We really brought the HIV/AIDS issue to the attention of the youth as they first loved our music and then appreciated the message. Uganda was the first country to adopt the ABC strategy which we advocated which is: Abstinence, Be faithful or use a Condom. I remember some young people used to ask us questions relating to HIV/AIDS during our shows.

Old rap-star Jeff Kaira: Speaks on old times, offers advice to new crop

PM: What was your favourite track with the group and why was that track done?

Jeff: My favourite track with the group was something to do with God. Totally away from the group’s HIV/AIDS objectives. The song is ‘Mundiunikile‘. The song was done with great consciousness towards life. We did the song after we realised that so many souls had been lost to AIDS. We decided to sober up and sing for reality. That’s how that song came about.

PM: Fans know that Boiz Lazy is no more and that some of the members have performed as solos but you were very absent from the musical scene. What happened? Did you ever think of regrouping just for old times sake, perhaps a ‘combo-album’ with people like Cliff Kaunda and others?

Jeff: I was indeed absent from the music scene because I was frustrated in South Africa. I almost clinched a great deal with Gallo Records. I secured a manager, his name was Tom Mkize. He manages many high profile South African musicians to date. But things didn’t work out somehow… so I was very frustrated and didn’t want anything to do with music anymore. But I feel the urge inside me to get back now.I regret going under because I could be somewhere by now.

PM: Where have you been all this time and what have you being doing?

Jeff:  I have tried to link up with everybody but we are just so scattered around the world. Dalitso in Zambia, Wesley in South Africa,Cliff in the USA. Me and Yohane are in Malawi but it’s not been very
easy to re-group. I am compiling the music as classics to be released soon.

I have been around the Southern African region. From that time to now. I have been busy with business. At first I traveled and lived temporarily in Tanzania, South Africa and Zambia. Now I am settled in Blantyre since 2011 running a software development business.

I have since embarked on a come back. But am having a tough time defining my type of music. I sing almost any type quite well. Am however working on an album and might settle for R n B but the
“Mundiunikile” type of songs in Chitumbuka, Chichewa and English.

PM: Would you get back to music if given another chance? What type of music would you play at your age, which is?

Jeff:  I am now 42. I think mature R n B would do. I see the middle aged not catered for in today’s music. I think that is what I will do.

PM: Are you a Blantyre natural? What do you like about that city?

Jeff: Blantyre is the place for my kind of business – consultancy. A lot of people confuse Lilongwe and Blantyre I see Lilongwe as a place when you are in business selling to the individual customer and BT if you areselling to the corporate customer as many head offices are here so you can interact directly with the decision makers. So it seems to work OKin Blantyre plus am married here…

PM: Well, climate change and least developed countries seem to be thein thing today. What can you say about these two evils?

Jeff: Well, there is a myth that only developed countries are largely responsible. But if u look, for instance, our Shire catchment for electricity supply is fast being destroyed by charcoal banners. The
excuse is ‘people can not afford electricity’ but what will happen when the trees are not there anymore?

The Chinese who are viewed to be the worst culprits are pushing the blame and the responsibility to the USA. There is just too little understanding as to how much damage is being done to the earth. Unless the whole world is serious, which will not be the case until its toolate.

It’s also to do with economic viability. If the main culprits reduce production they reduce military investment and eventually global standings. Am afraid we are headed for trouble of catastrophic
proportions on climate change.

PM: Can you quickly describe today’s new crop of artists and the music they are playing? Does it impress you or would you want to see some improvements?

Jeff: Today’s artists are great. They have better recording studios. The music is of the new age. It’s their time.

Only that they have more challenge since a hit lasts only a few weeks and they need to come up with something new. I love today’s music a lot. It has meaning but artists must embrace the internet.

I think its much easier to sell worldwide now than those days. Local artists must compete with international artists in Africa to star with. Then there is DSTV. It’s doing a great job of putting African
artists in the limelight. We must take advantage of what is here for us.

PM: Finally, who is your best local artist and why?

Jeff: My best local artist is Nthumwi Piksy. He is like Drake and Whiz Khalifa. Rap of today is rhythmic. Its almost singing. That’s what Piksy is all about.

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