Interview with DJ Lolo

DJ Lolo is a 29-year-old singer who lives in the municipality of Lobito, in the province of Benguela,

The singer is wearing black clothes and a red cap. He's singing into the mic in front of a small crowd.
DJ Lolo at a show organized by COSPE in Benguela.

Angola. He is the head of the family, father of two children and lives completely on his music, meaning that music is the main income for his family. His songs focus on themes of an educational nature, transmitting messages that hope to awaken society, especially the youth.

Since our association (Join Angola) aims to spread what Angola has to offer in cultural terms, we thought it would be good to show the world the life and career of this artist, as he has given his best to the development of the brilliant Angolan culture, through his beautiful songs.

In this interview, the singer explains why his artistic name starts with “DJ”, since he is mostly known to the public as a singer. He also speaks of the purpose of his music, of its connection to his grandfather, and much more…

What is your real name and how do you explain the “DJ” attribute, since you are a singer?

My name is Manuel Jamba Marcelino and I’m a music producer and a musician. I am a singer, but the general public calls me DJ Lolo because, in a first phase, I used to play as a DJ at parties. Lolo is my nickname at home, so I simply added the DJ attribute when I was working as a DJ and the name remained like that even as I became a musician.

Why did you change from being a DJ to being a singer?

As I said before, in the world of music I started as a DJ. As a DJ, I used to listen to various songs and, based on what I was listening to, I started creating my own opinions, which I wanted to pass to the public through sound, and that is why I decided to start singing.

When did you have your first contact with music?

I started DJ-ing in 2003, while I started singing and producing my own songs in 2007.

Speaking of your passion for music, who or what is your source of inspiration?

I would say that the whole universe inspires me, I don’t have a specific source of inspiration. I am someone who, since childhood, has had to deal with very interesting and determining things, not only in relation to music but as a form of education in general.

Something quick that I think is important to share: I used to listen to my grandfather often sing and the thing that touched me most – when he sang – was the warmth he conveyed to me, not what he said, because at the time I didn’t understand my grandfather’s language. It is exactly that feeling that I wanted to share with the world: I wanted to sing, making people feel what I felt when I heard my grandfather sing.

At the time, I lived in Lobito and my grandfather was here in Benguela, and the trips between the cities were mostly by train. Those who have travelled by train here will know that there are two sides: one for passengers and one for the luggage. Being on the passenger side, my grandfather felt too limited: he couldn’t sing, nor could he speak loudly among other people.

For that reason, he preferred to stay on the side of the luggage, as, there, he was free to sing out loud. When I speak of “luggage” I’m not talking about iPads and computers, but about firewood, branches, and the kind of things that were mostly used for commercial purposes. However, when I was there with him, I forgot all that and I actually felt like I was travelling in business class on a plane. This inspired me so much that, today, when I sing, I want people to feel the way I felt when I used to listen to my grandfather sing.

In terms of music, what is your dream?

I no longer dream: I live the dream. I’m DJ Lolo today, because of the music I play, so it’s not a dream anymore. I already live the reality of my dreams. I take a pen, write what I think,… and wow! The song is there! I want to reach people with my opinions and music allows me to do so.

So, do you think that you have completely achieved the realization of your dream in the musical field?

Look: I would like to be rich, I would like to have lots of money, and I haven’t achieved this yet. Lately, I’ve come to think like this: I hope the future is better, but I don’t stop living the present. How do I do this? Let’s see: I want to be able to live through my music, and I do just that. Making music is my job, and I’m able to provide for my family with it. Sure, I’d like to have more, but for now we are managing with what comes our way.

Two young black man are sitting on office chair, facing each other and talking.
DJ Lolo being interviewed by Armindo.

If you hadn’t become a musician, what would you like to be?

If I wasn’t a musician/singer, I would be a teacher. In a way, I already am a teacher, because what I don’t do in a classroom, I do with an instrument. Just like a teacher has to elaborate his plan well, so that his lesson is understandable to all students, likewise, I just need to elaborate my music well, so that it’s perceptible to anyone who hears it, regardless of where they are (in a rural or urban area).

For me, the important thing is that you understand what I bring. And for this reason I avoid distortions.

When I talk about avoiding distortions, I am referring to the responsibility that I have in music. For example: I’m going to sing and the idea is to transmit joy, so I must bring to the audience a joy that isn’t harmful, that is direct, because there are things that should be really clear. I’m singing and the receiver is happy, but he’s also being transformed in a way.

Written by: Armindo Segunda