YardFlex Interview With Multi -World Clash Champions Killamanjaro


By: Dave Lindo

papajaro.jpgKillamanjaro is one of the long standing sound systems in the business who has carved a name for themselves as a sound system with true class and quality. Named after the famous mountain in Africa, Killamanjaro has stood tall, whether in fierce sound clashes or 'nicing' up a dance or party with some 'wicked' selections. YardFlex caught up with the owner, popularly known as Papajaro.

YardFlex: In what year and how did Killamanjaro get started?

Papajaro: The sound was started in the summer of 1969 while I was at school. My brother had a sound system, and I developed a love for it. After some years my brother migrated to the UK, and left the sound system with our father. My father operated it for awhile and then sold it. At that point I decided that I was going to build my own sound system.

Yardflex: In the early days it was said that the sound used to be transported in a VW van. People were appalled by its small size, yet its excellent sound quality exceeded that of sound systems many times bigger. What was the secret in getting such high sound quality from a small system?

Papajaro: This was not an accident (size), it was a deliberate design. Since this sound system was going to be moving from place to place. I designed it as small as I could with the highest level of efficiency.

YardFlex: Who were the members of your team in the 'early days'?

Papajaro: In the early days we had artistes like: Super Cat, Early B, Jim Kelly, Dirty Harry, and selector Ainsley.

YardFlex: What was the vibes like in those days?

Papajaro: The vibes was great. It was doing what you love, while enjoying yourself, and not worry about some of the dangers that exist now.

YardFlex: In the 'rub a dub' era, (artistes performing live on the version), who were some of the artistes who used to work on Jaro?

Papajaro: Super Cat, Early B, Jim Kelly, Dirty Harry, Lone Ranger, Buro Banton, Charley Chaplin, Ninjaman, Hammermouth, Junior Cat, and Daddy Shark.

YardFlex: Who would you consider to be the most talented artiste (s) to work on your sound?

Papajaro: Everybody had their own unique style, so it is very hard to say who was most talented.

YardFlex: What was the payroll like in those days? How much did the sound play for?

Papajaro: I can't recall what that was, but I know it was very small. In those days it was more about the love for music, than the love for money.

YardFlex: What was the transition like in changing from a 'rub a dub' sound to the time when dub plates were the order of the day?

Papajaro: Killamanjaro did not change from being a 'rub a dub' sound system; we just added another dimension, so that (the) transition was quite smooth. Killamanjaro still plays at 'rub a dub' sessions although this is not as frequent as a juggling session.

YardFlex: What are some of Killamanjaro’s biggest achievements?

Papajaro: Some of the big achievements are: winning Killamanjaro/KingAddies clash in Portmore, Killamanjaro/DavidRodigan (clash) in Miami, WorldClash 2000 in New York, Killamanjaro/SilverHawk (clash) at Skateland (Half Way Tree).

YardFlex: What has or have been the most memorable achievement (s) to date?

Papajaro: The most memorable one is the Killamanjaro/KingAddies clash in Portmore.

YardFlex: It was believed by many that when Ricky Trooper left the sound it would affect its progress, was that the case?

Papajaro: Yes, it affected us, but not to a great extent.

YardFlex: Where overseas has Killamanjaro played?

Papajaro: We have toured places like the USA, Canada, UK, Japan, Kenya, Germany, Holland, France, Italy, Sweden, Belgium, Switzerland, Trinidad, Guyana, Belize, Antigua, St Kitts, St Croix, St Vincent, St Thomas, St Johns, St Maarten, St Lucia, Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman.

YardFlex: Where do you presently have the largest fan base, both locally and overseas?

Papajaro: We have large fan base both locally and abroad.

YardFlex: What changes has the sound gone through in the past 5 years?

Papajaro: We have not gone through any major changes over the last 5 years, but we always maintain and upgrade our sound system to keep it in tip top shape.

YardFlex: What plans do you have for the future?

Papajaro: We have a few things planned for the future, but we do not want to preempt them.

YardFlex: Looking at the sound system business now compared to the early days would you say it has gotten better or worst?

Papajaro: The sound system business has come a long way from what it was in the past, but I personally liked it better then.

YardFlex: What do you think can be done to improve it (sound system business)?

Papajaro: There is no quick fix, because there are a lot of factors that brought the business to where it is. For example; high crime rate, and unemployment. We have a new culture in Jamaica, and the longer it takes to start lowering the crime and unemployment, the harder it will be to correct the problem. Apart from the above, people need to know that the police are serious about the 2:00am shut off time, and should start coming out earlier.

Photo Source: www.dancehallreggae.com