Jafaris blazes his own trail

By Aideen O'Flaherty

HOTLY tipped hip-hop artist Percy Chamburuka, better known by his stage name Jafaris, crafts catchy and involving songs that flirt with a neo-soul and pop sound.

Jafaris draws influence from seminal Californian rapper Kendrick Lamar and hip-hop artist J. Cole, but it’s clear from listening to Jafaris’ sound that he’s in the process of blazing his own trail.

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Last year, the past pupil of Old Bawn Community School in Tallaght released his Velvet Cake EP, which cemented his place in Ireland’s burgeoning hip-hop scene and he soon attracted attention from publications like Hot Press and The Guardian.

The multi-talented musician, who grew up in Old Bawn and lived in Firhouse for a few years, also earned his acting chops two years ago when he played the role of Ngig in the film ‘Sing Street’.

The promising young man, whose star looks set to ascend in the coming months, took some time out from his busy schedule to speak to his local paper about his acting stint, his cinematic music videos and the importance of staying in Dublin.

You got the role of Ngig in the film Sing Street after you did a dance audition for an unrelated project, was acting something that you had ever considered doing before you got the role?

I loved the idea of acting. I used to jokingly say to people that I was going to be in a movie one day, and it suddenly came to pass.

What was the experience of being a part of Sing Street like?

I think I was blessed to have been introduced to the acting industry through Sing Street, because there were always good vibes on set. The director and actor relationship was beautiful, and apparently a very rare thing on sets, or so I was told. I also learned how to behave in front a camera properly.

You changed your stage name from ProFound to Jafaris a few years ago, why did you chose the name Jafaris?

I chose the name because the meaning of it resonated with me heavily.

What was it like the first time you performed your own material on stage?

Extremely nerve-wracking, but because it was received well it was the most amazing experience at the time.

Your music videos are always cinematic and have a narrative, much like your lyrics. When you're writing music are you always aware of how it would work in a video?

I can’t take the credit for the videos, that’s my friend Nathan Barlow who directs, shoots and edits them. I usually come up with the concept after the song is finished.

You've mentioned in other interviews how important you feel it is for you to stay in Dublin as your career is taking off, bucking the trend of a lot of Irish artists who go to the UK or the US. Why do you think it's important for home-grown musicians to stick around?

I feel like it’s important to stick around so we can keep the home growing! But really, I feel like being around the people who supported me from early on will keep me personally grounded and it will also help me to keep my authenticity.

You can find out more about Jafaris’ music online at www.jafarismusic.com, or follow Jafaris Music on Facebook.

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