Spotlight On K-I-L-L-A-M-A-N-J-A-R-O

By Lady Zimma & Miss Mention, Dainty Crew [02-07-2002]

If you mentioned the word Killamanjaro many would think you were referring to the tall African mountain.

In Reggae circles, Killamanjaro is the name of a sound system that is known world wide for itís foundation tunes and up until recently was home to one of the most feared selectors, Ricky Trooper.

Due to Trooper being such a big personality many forgot about the other people that make up the killing machine.

When two of the current Killamanjaro (Jaro) members, Paul Francis aka Freddy Krueger and Derek Kerr aka Mophead were in England earlier this year managed to catch up with them.

Freddy started out playing a small sound in his hometown of Portland, Jamaica called City Heat. He then moved onto Super Dee for around 6 years and heís been with Jaro for the past 5 years.

Freddy used to play music for fun. "I never knew music would ever take me to where I am now." While he was playing on City Heat he clashed against Super Dee and he left such a lasting impression on them that they invited him to play on their sound.

Mopheadís inception into the music business began with him Djing and for about 4 years he played sounds without getting paid. He then moved onto playing a small sound called Technoforce who were originally from Canada. He has been with Jaro for over a year.

Unfortunately we didnít manage to meet the other two members of Killamanjaro, Hype and Crazy D.

Both Freddy and Mophead are based in Kingston which is also the base for Killamanjaro. However, Freddy was born and raised in Port Antonio and Mophead was born in Trelawny.

Many said that Trooper overshadowed Freddy but Freddy denies this, "How can I be in another personís shadow when I have my own?" The world felt that Freddy had something to prove and Killamanjaroís first major clash with Freddy at the helm was with Pieces in Montego Bay.

Freddy felt he had to show people that although Trooper had parted company from Jaro, as a sound Jaro was here to say. Many said, "Trooper leave the sound, so the sound done, Killamanjaro is finished." He visited New York and clashed with Mighty Crown at 2 dances and proved himself to the people and he began to gain back peopleís confidence in Killamanjaro.

A few months after the Mighty Crown clashes the perfect opportunity for Freddy arose in the form of one of the biggest events on the sound system calendar, World Clash where many of his critics would be in attendance. He didnít let anyone down and he walked away with the title.

Working on Jaro has taken Freddy to many places around the world and he says that he received his best response while playing alongside One Love High Power in Italy. The main continent that he has left to reach is Africa.

Jaroís ideas for dubs come about from input from the artists and selectors. They tend to ask the artist to sing a song then they pick out the changes they want to implement.

Freddy doesnít have a favourite dub, he says, "All a dem are my favourite especially the foundation ones Ďcause they are the ones that started the sound and they are the ones that do the most of the damage around the sound." He does cite Luciano has being his singer.

Freddy thinks that if he wasnít a selector then he would be involved in music in one way or another. He listens to many sounds from the smallest to the largest because he believes he can learn from everyone. He gives thanks to the Almighty for his accomplishments and he is grateful for what he has achieved.

Freddy believes because heís a member of a Jamaican sound system that when he travels outside of Jamaica to play the sound that he has to push Reggae. "People are looking for you to play Reggae music so why you go there and you play Hip Hop or Calypso. It doesnít make any sense youíre pushing another culture on top of your own. Reggae is my first priority. Reggae music is my culture."

"Right now we donít have any main competitiors. If you notice every sound that rises wants to kill Killamanjaro, we are the target they always come at us," advises Freddy.

He doesnít stop there his description of Jaro is, "We are the stopper. We are a barrier that no other sound can pass." It goes without saying that Jaro can play tunes that no other sound can play. In fact, "you have sound system play and call it special but music cannot be special if plenty people are playing it, only can be special when you alone is playing it. Thatís why Jaro sound is so unique, we have so much music that we alone can play."

Itís Freddyís ambition to have the World Clash record in terms of taking the title 6 times in a row.

The question on everyoneís lips was would Freddy consider going head to head with Trooper and he gave the following response, "Well if it come to the test I will. Trooper is a good selector, I respect that but right now Iím much better than him. Iíll say that with no apology. Whenever you watch a movie and the teacher, teaches the student. The student has to turn round and kill the teacher, well thatís me!"

Freddyís advice to upcoming sound systems is that their hearts have to be clean and they have to be able to live amongst other sound systems and the sound will grow.


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