Sunday, February 23, 2020

Welcome to another edition of Arts and Music. The column that seeks to promote Gambian Artists amongst many other talents.



In this edition, we feature an interview with Mam Demba Ceesay, Best Movie and indigenous director. Mam Demba is a veteran actor, writer and story teller, movie director.

The interview which is centered on Mam Demba’s profile, talks of his achievements and challenges, in he country.

Arts and Music: Can you please tell our readership about yourself?

Mam Demba: Thank you very much. My name is Demba Ceesay, but I am also known as Mam Demba.

I was born in 1973 in Hagan Street in Banjul and grew up in Banjul. I did my early education in Banjul.

I attended ‘Ecole Senegalaise’ in Banjul, for my primary education, and then proceeded to Sheik Babacarr Papa Ndow School in Kafrine Senegal. I came back and continued at the Senegalese High School in Kanifing.

Arts and Music: When did you start your career?

Mam Demba: I started my career very early, together with Sassy Saine and Maga Dan. These were youngsters of Musa Afia Ngum in Thies, Senegal. This was the time I started doing music, in 1993 going towards 1994.

In those days, I was singing and drumming. I was forbidden by my father not do music. The day my father knew I was into Music, was the day when I had the opportunity to perform in one of the local Hotels. I went to him to obtain permission to allow me to perform. This was the day my father asked me never to venture into music.

At that juncture I stopped the Musical part of my career and started to write stories, short scripts.

Around 1998, I produced my first film called ‘The United States of Africa, Yester and Today’s Africa in the New Millennium’. This film was shot in Sinchu Alagie, which is a good local village setting.

I did the film with Modou Lamin Touray, and the group called ‘Power of Truth’. That is where we started. I started appearing on TV with GRTS since 1999.

Art and Music: Can you tell us specifically your areas of interest in Arts and some of your achievements.

Mam Demba: I started Arts with love and passion for it, since my early childhood. I can remember in Banjul around 1987/1988 when there were not many TVs sets and radios. We never had that opportunity to watch TV. Our father would not want us to watch TV outside the neighborhood. He had a mount organ that he uses to play for us until we sleep under our veranda.

At first I didn’t take it seriously. I later noticed that I am developing love and passion for it. This motivated me to start music. So I started with The New Future Foundation, later to the Power of Truth, Jenerr, Modern Splash and other groups, to name a few.

I am currently with the National Drama troop. But before this, I studied performing arts, starting with theater. I studied theatre, under the direction of the National center for Arts and Culture. At the same time, I studied motion picture under the Ministry of Tourism and Culture. I studied copyright with the ECOWAS committee of copyright, and with NCAC.

With the American Embassy I studied music, Human right and Democracy. Basically in performing arts I obtained these certificates, that are why I normally say at some point that, I did not just jump the ladder, but I followed the steps.

I started as an ordinary actor within Schools, and later with Youth organisations, such as Youth Ambassadors for Peace, Banjul Youth Committee, and the National Drama troop, which I studied.

To be continued                   

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