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Jahcoozi - Bubblin' Jahcoozi

Author: Sasha Perera
Monday, 28 April 2008
Sasha Perera, international music journalist extraordinaire, speaks with Sasha Perera, international music extraordinaire (aka frontwoman of Jahcoozi).

Indeed, the internet has made the world a much smaller place. A little while back when I first heard about a singer named Sasha Perera parading herself on the music scene, using MY name I thought I’d investigate further. Via the social networking sites that now exist we were soon in touch, and through regular contact I soon got to learn a little about the intriguing London-born, German-based, front-woman for the fierce electro-mash-up sounds of Jahcoozi. The group’s second album Blitz N Ass – a more hypnotising and complex voyage than first album, Pure Breed Mongrel (2005) – was released late last year, and whilst firing beats and lobbing basslines at the listener, the album lyrically covers off a range of deeper social observations including disposable hymens, rainbow coloured rizzlas, shakin’ ass, batty boys, gentrification across the nation, and partyin’ hard.

Do you think that music industry wankers have enough time, concentration and expectation to actually realise that there’s another post-Tsunami, strong, Sri-Lankan female musician with something-to-say, on the loose-
In a way no, and in a way yes. I think that the press/industry does have a short attention span but I don’t think there are gonna be so many Sri-Lankan singers that mags will have to do the same sort of coverage. Moreover, I think it is only mainstream press that hang on this idea of ‘tamil tigress’ or ‘dark skinned island diva’ crap. I think there are a few niche mags which are definitely able to achieve a level of deeper journalism.

Exploiting your culture or exploring your culture-
I think it is much more hip to be brown nowadays so I could definitely understand the accusations of exploitation. When I was a kid though you were always playing down where you came from and just trying to fit in, whereas nowadays there is nothing wrong with being proud to be brown.

On the other hand being considered ‘exotic’ sounds like you are part of a fruit salad or something. It would also be great if people could just concentrate on the music rather than wrongly labelling it ‘bhangra’ just ’cause a brown person made it.

I love the line on Sit N Chuckle where you say, “skinny white rock boy don’t want Paki muff” – did you struggle to find your identity as a second-generation Sri-Lankan growing up in London-
I was lucky enough to grow up in a city like London where there were lots of different scenes where you could immerse yourself into and disappear and a fair amount of anonymity. However my parents worked their bollocks off to send me to a private school because of their fear that Asians were disadvantaged through their accents and education level. In that school there were a load of Pearl Jam-listening white kids... and none of the boys wanted to have anything to do with me.

WHO: Jahcoozi
WHAT: Blitz N Ass through Asound/Inertia
WHEN: Out now