Interview | Native Sun State of Mind

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London based Hip Hop/Afro Soul duo Native Sun, team up with Mexican Film maker Cambio from Quilomboarte during their 2013 Mexican Tour to bring you their latest music video ‘Senses’.
Senses produced by Kensaye, is a song taken off their current album Indigenous Soundwaves which gets a big thumps of from the Have Plenty Music tribe.
Have Plenty Music caught up with Mohammed Yahya and Sarina Leah-Mohammed to find out more about the Native Sun state of mind.

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How would you describe the Native Sun music/sound?

Mohammed Yahya: I would describe our sound as an amalgamation of Hip Hop with Afro Soul vibes. I would definitely say it’s colourful and has a positive message too.

What inspired the title of your new album? Were you working off a particular theme or did the vibes just come together as it where?

Mohammed Yahya: Sarina Leah and myself were throwing ideas back and forth using words which resonated with both our interests in culture, nurturing earth, positive vibrations.
We also thought about what the core meaning of music was being sound vibration, a powerful healer and tool for communication. Eventually with the music speaking to us and the songs forming its own organic landscape, we felt we wanted to communicate something from the ancient indigenous lifestyles, sound and traditions in a contemporary way.

Your affiliation with Mozambique and the Caribbean comes through in the production. However, as such you live in Europe. What is your experience? Does the Diaspora existence question your identity?

Sarina Leah: My experience being born in London with Diaspora Caribbean roots from St Lucia and Jamaica, and my great grandparents being Africa and Indian hardworking, financially poor but of strong spirit makes me who I am today: A fusion of many cultures and traditions. I feel being from England is another continuation of the patterns of migration multiculturalism and growth which, we are always doing Evolving. I feel there are many positive things i can embrace living in the UK and I’m aware of the negative which is also why reconnecting to the Caribbean Africa and India is important for me because I feel it is vital to be cultured with roots and identity of heritage and embracing what is passed down or discovered in culture being dress, colour, language, food, history, lifestyle and all these things build character and enhance choices in life, partly why Native Sun exist being -the need to remember and give thanks for those before us who where builders and creators of amazing culture.

Mohammed Yahya: I agree with Sarina and for me even though I live in London I feel very connected to Africa, my father, brothers and many members of my family live there, I try to go back every year to reconnect with my ancestry and the land, due to my strong relationship, Love and experiences related to Africa I don’t ever feel that I have to question my identity.

What musical influences do you take away from your Caribbean and Mozambican roots?

Mohammed Yahya: Growing up I listened to a lot of African music, not just Mozambican. Since many people migrated to Lisbon from Angola, Mozambique, Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau, Sao Tome and were housed in the same neighbourhoods we became a melting pot of an AfroPortuguese community. I was heavily inspired by people like Bonga from Angola and a lot of Marrabenta from Mozambique as well as Kizomba, Funana, Zouk and Afrobeat from west Africa.
Now I often listen to Mozambican artists such as Massukos, and love conscious Mozambican Hip Hop artists such as Azagaia, Rage and Iveth.

Sarina Leah: I am very much inspired by reggae music coming from my mother & fathers islands like Bob Marley, Burning Spear, Culture, and story tellers like Miss Lou. i grew up with beautiful songs with love, culture, rhythm & message, so growing with this sound sub-consciously I feel shaped my understanding of music. I like music which says something and affects me to be better human.

You recently did a little tour in Mexico. How did that come about?

Sarina Leah: We made friendship with now family Bocafloja who is a Mexican artist/spokenword activist, whilst touring the USA via Nomadic Wax 2012. We kept building with him and hosted a few shows for Boca when he was in london – as well as did a song and video “Keep it Movin” together. Boca has an amazing collective of artists under the name QuilomboArte and they welcomed us when we toured together for 11 days in Mexico in these incredible and inspiring places Queretaro, Coyoacan, Mexico City,Cholula/Puebla, Cuernavaca, and Tepoztlan.

Tell us about your experiences in Mexico. How were you received?

Mohammed Yahya: Mexico was a magical experience, and to perform with Bocafloja and the rest of the crew made it even more special. The country is absolutely beautiful with a very rich history. Unfortunately due to current situation revolving around Drug lords some places have become extremely dangerous, so at times we had to take some security measures, but the warm welcoming audiences, sold out shows and all the love we received made it all worthwhile.

Yes, your latest video Senses. It is dope…colorful and organic vibes. Tell us more about the concept and location.

Mohammed Yahya: The video was directed by a very talented film maker/rapper called Cambio, we shot the video between Mexico City and Tepozlan and we really wanted to capture those warm and loving moments that people experience everyday but unfortunately take them for granted, moments such as the love expressed between a mother and child, the smile of an elderly person, the friendship that is made between two strangers who meet in a bus, the appreciation of the beauty around us which makes this world such a special place.
We wanted our viewers to take a step into Mexico and see the beauty that exists there from the people to the landscapes and we definitely wanted it to be colourful.
After seeing the final draft from Cambio I can gratefully say that he was able to capture all those things in a very beautiful and organic way.

The Native Sun State of Mind is one of hope, love and understanding regardless of our diversity and differences.
Check out the Senses video below:

For more info and upcoming shows visit their website: www.nativesunmuzik.com

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