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Yangstar 'Lingas' with dancehall

Observer senior writer

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

When Mike Yangstar was born in Uganda 45 years ago, dictator Idi Amin ruled that East African country with an iron fist. Many Jamaicans admired Big Daddy (as he was known), who they saw as a misunderstood hero fighting against white oppression.

A decade later as his country struggled to rebuild after 10 years of Amin's tyranny, Yangstar discovered Jamaican music which he says gave his life meaning.

“I've been listening to reggae and dancehall music since I was 10 years old. It's in my system yuh nuh…it's my choice.”

Yangstar is based in Stockholm, Sweden's capital. Through his Nuh Linga company, he has become, arguably, the leading promoter of dancehall shows in that Scandinavian country.

This year, he has promoted events at his Kraken club with Govana, Christopher Martin and Elephant Man as headliners. Later this month, Jah Cure will be the latest Jamaican artiste to perform at the venue which holds a capacity of 1,000 patrons.

Yangstar has previously staged shows there featuring Beenie Man, Bounty Killer, Popcaan and Gyptian. Recently, he branched out into production with Gyptian's song, Really Need You, which was released in May.

“I've worked with Gyptian a couple times in Stockholm and it's been good, and we've met a couple times in Jamaica. This kind of sound, the Afro-swing/dancehall sound is kinda hot right now in Europe. It's hot in the streets in Sweden,” said Yangstar, who has lived in that country for over 20 years.

According to statistics from the Swedish Government, there are over 215,000 Africans living in Sweden. Many of them are involved in the entertainment industry. Yangstar is a DJ who also operates a sound system; through his link with Denzil Williams, a Jamaican music producer who resides in Stockholm, he has been able to connect with dancehall's elite acts.

“Nuh Linga is a production team with me as CEO, we have worked with many artistes like Munga (Honorable), (I) Octane, Popcaan, Jah Cure, you name them. We are one of the leading companies when it comes to production of shows with Afrobeat artistes and artistes from the Caribbean, in Sweden,” Yangstar related.

With Really Need You, he has broken new ground with a beat he believes can expand his brand outside of Sweden.

“As a DJ, I'm focusing on production right now and playing more music around Europe and Africa. So, I would say the future is looking bright,” said Yangstar.