• Clodagh Meaney

Meet Chris Kabs the musical activist who turned Dublin Black Lives Matter protest chants into a song

"No Justice, No Peace"

By Clodagh Meaney

On Monday, June 1st, Black Lives Matter activists met at the Spire on O'Connell Street in Dublin before they marched across the city to the United States Embassy in Ballsbridge.

It came following the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old African-American who was murdered at the hands of a police officer in Minnesota on May 25th.

As riots and protests in the states began, and have since continued, Irish activists, staged a peaceful demonstration in solidarity with the movement.

Among protesters was Dublin based musician, Chris Kabs, who led the crowd in chants of 'no justice, no peace.'

As a music producer and recording artist who plays the drums, piano and guitar, it wasn't long before Chris immortalised the protest forever in the form of a catchy tune.

"When I came home the same day [as the protest], I was watching all the video clips that I recorded on my phone," he told EMPWR.

"The one that stood out the most was the one with a crowd walking behind me chanting 'no justice, no peace', and so that really caught my attention."

Using music technology and raw soundbites from the solidarity protest he was able to produce a track.

"I went to my studio and I just recorded where I was chanting with the crowd and then I took the audio and I looped it, then I got the BPM (beats per minute) of the chant, where I then added drums."

Once Chris got the beat right, he began to pen lyrics to match the political message of the song.

"The reason why I created No Justice, No Peace, is because first and foremost it was based on the protest that took place on the 1st of June."

"I was among those leading the chanting. We were walking towards the US embassy and when walking towards there, I was the one shouting no justice, no peace."

Chris moved to Ireland from Sweden in 2005 to pursue a career in Basketball but before that, he lived in France and the Ivory Coast.

"I grew up in a musical family and my friend circle was a mix of different races and different backgrounds so that really played a big part in my creativity," he said.

"As I got older, getting more experience within the music industry you find a way to reach out to more demographics than just your own, and out of your comfort zone."

Chris' music is a diverse blend of sounds from afro, reggae, pop, hip hop and trap music, a versatility he credits to his influences and friends growing up.

"Most of my friends all have musical ears so they were always sending me different sounds and different music as well so that always sparked my creativity. That's why my background in music is so versatile, and should I say even unpredictable," he explained.

Chris Kabs is also an entrepreneur as founder and CEO of his own production company TEMO Universal.

He also produced the track Oh Lawd for JYellowL, which recently featured on BBC show Normal People.

You can listen to No Justice, No Peace on Spotify below.

© 2020 by EMPWR

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