YAMBIO - He is only 20 years old but already popular in South Sudan. His secret? Music. That’s what has made him famous. His name is Daniel Losticos James Mboyonyasi. “But they call me DJ Cent, the young master of Langa-Langa”, he says. The New Nation interviewed him at his home in Yambio.
Where does your artiste name come from?
I usually abbreviate my real name as DJ, from Daniel James. People used to tell me: “Boy, your music is 100 per cent”. So one day I decided to shorten it to the word “cent” and to add it to my nickname. That’s how the name DJ Cent came about.
You said people also call you ‘the young master of langa-langa’, why?
My first Arabic song, entitled ‘Langa-Langa’, made me famous across South Sudan. Previously I used to sing in my mother tongue, which most people could not understand. Listening to my songs, people used to think that I was huge. But when they saw me, they decided to call me ‘the young master’.
Most South Sudanese artistes these days prefer music to education. What about you?
I started my education at Yambio Primary School and later joined Comboni Parents’ Secondary School in Yambio, where I completed only senior one. Then I got a chance to study in Uganda. Unfortunately, the person who was sponsoring me got killed by the Lord’s Resistance Army and I dropped out in senior three. I am still struggling to get money to continue with my education.
How long have you been in the music industry?
I was nine years old when I started getting into music. I first joined the Revolution Crew of Emmy J Yore, as a dancer and a singer. After a year I became independent. Later on, I decided to have my own crew. It was called Best Life Government and had 12 members. My first song was called ‘Mimazangaro’ (‘I missed you’). It was loved by almost everybody in Western Equatoria.
What made you decide to start this career?
In 2004, in Yambio, I listened to the music of Lucky Dube and fell in love with his song ‘God bless the women’. That’s when I decided to become a musician. In everything we do, there is always a challenge. In my family we were ten - five boys and five girls. Three girls and two boys died. So did my father, in 2006. Music helped me to become self-reliant. Now I teach people ways of life and give them advice. During the referendum in South Sudan, my music played a great role in educating the masses about their rights.
How many songs have you written, and which are your biggest hits in South Sudan?
I now have 30 songs in total, with five videos. My best songs include ‘Mimazangaro’, ‘Swata’, ‘Rwua fi maderesa’, ‘Sikili binia’, ‘Akulubarao’, and ‘Don’t kill me’. When I take a walk around, I see children and women singing my songs. My music cuts across all ages, and people listen to it in South Sudan, Congo, Central African Republic, Uganda and even in Norway.
How is your relationship with other East African artistes?
In August 2011, I made my first performance outside the country. I played at Heritage Court in Arua, Northern Uganda, together with Bobi Wine, a Ugandan artiste. Besides, I worked together with Silver X for the song Lakabata. I also have good relations with some South Sudanese artistes, like Mr. Legs, Sweet J and Dr. Love.
Sadly, in South Sudan those of us who live outside Juba or in other states are isolated. Only those in the capital are regarded as artistes, which is wrong. My dream is to become a big star in South Sudan. However, there are no music promoters or directors who could help me make my music grow.
What are your plans for the future?
I am working on a new song, “Mashiakil Bein Mara wu ragil”, which I believe will be a hit. It focuses on advising husbands and wives to solve their domestic problems without the interference of relatives.
What is your message to your fellow artistes in South Sudan?
Let’s unite and work hard, live in harmony and support upcoming artistes. Leaders should also promote us. I noticed that during big events in South Sudan, they go for Congolese and other international music instead of playing our songs.
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