Wearing a long sleeved white shirt and black trouser with white snickers, Dabo looked comfortable as he performed a set of acoustic music at the Hamu Restaurant located in Masaki. Laban Lameck, famously known by his stage name Dabo, is a reggae and Afro Fusion artiste.
His performance at the upscale Masaki restaurant was brief, but filled with energy, thrill and a very entertaining, much to the delight of guests who were looking on mesmerized. On stage he was accompanied by two of his band members out of nine who form ‘The General Sounds band’. Dabo will represent Tanzania later this month at the ‘Reggae on the Nile’ Music Art Culture Festival in Uganda.
Soon after his performance The Beat had a chat with the reggae star to talk about his journey in music and film. His journey spans over a decade, having started his career in music in 2009. His style is a blend of unique and flavoured melodies that excite the Tanzania reggae genre.
Commenting on why he chose reggae genre, the artiste says he used to like such type of music from a young age. As he grew up he realised reggae music carries strong messages which last for long unlike other genres.
“The unique messages conveyed through reggae music last forever. Take an example of Lucky Dube, Bob Marley and other legendary reggae musicians. Their messages still live until today,” says Dabo.
Over the years the artiste, who’s a younger brother to legendary musician Judith Wambura a.k.a Lady JayDee has been working hard to grow his two careers in music. This hasn’t been easy, there have been some challenges.
Lack of media support to promote his work, lack of events that contribute to his income, “as well as people thinking that you have a lot of big things while you don’t,” are some of the challenges he lists.
Dabo has received a few nominations for awards in the years he has done music. In 2010 his song Don’t Let I Go featuring Mwasiti was nominated at the Kilimanjaro Tanzania Music Awards (KTMA) for reggae song of the year.
He says the nomination gave him courage to focus and invest more energy in his career believing that he will be able to make it in the future.
“The nomination came at the right time. It was a time I was just starting my journey in music. It gave me more energy to focus on my career,” he says. Again in 2012 Dabo was nominated in the Best Reggae/Dancehall Song of the Year category at the KTMA. After multiple nominations without victory, Dabo won awards the following consecutive years (2013, 2014) at KTMA.
On the global stage the star became the first Tanzanian Reggae Artist to be nominated in global awards (International Reggae and World Music Awards 2014) as a World Best New Entertainer.
He has also graced the stage with renowned international artistes such as Morgan Heritage in January 2016 at the Zanzibar Full Moon Party.
The very same year he performed at the Zanzibar International Film Festival (ZIFF) as Special Guest Performer on Reggae Night (Roots Rock Reggae). With all these achievements, Dabo remains one of the top reggae artistes in Tanzania.
His first ever album called Safari was released in December 2018 on local platforms. The album contains 16 songs with mega hit singles the likes of Don’t Let I Go, Niwe na Wewe, Ganjaman, African Girl, Sema Tena, Brother and Baadae. Safari crossed to the global market via Digital Platforms officially in 2019.
Commenting on his participation at the Reggae on The Nile Music Art Culture Festival (RON), the artiste says it will be a unique opportunity for him to meet different musicians in the Reggae genre across the East African region.
“I am looking forward to expanding my career contacts which might result to new collaborations. RON is a platform designed to support the growth of Reggae music in East Africa,” says Lameck.
Locaaly, Dabo has worked with artistes such as Wakazi, Lady JayDee, Mwasity, Soprano, Malfred, Vanessa Mdee, AY and many more others.
Aside from music, Dabo has had stints in film. In 2016 he was featured in a film called Tatu Chafu. He also played a role in Fisi Wuesi as Komba then later appeared as Dr. Ludima in Giza la Mchana in 2018. Tatu Chafu won the Jury’s Award in 2018.
In 2018 Dabo decided to set up a film production company that will help him in develop more skills in the film industry. Not officially up and running, he expects it to be operational in the foreseeable future.