Kanga’s song for the streets

Singer says ‘thank you Liverpool’ with charity single

WHEN singer Kanga Koffi was forced to flee his native Ivory Coast, he didn’t know what the future would hold.

Today he is using his vocal talents to say thank you to his adopted home in Liverpool and to raise money to support the city’s rough sleepers.

A popular recording artist in his home country, Kanga, was forced to leave after producing the song El Mutino that was critical of the country’s leaders following a military coup.

The song was banned by the government and Koffi says that shortly after his music producer was killed. Fearing for his life, he fled the country.

He landed in Liverpool in 2005, where he says he was welcomed with open arms.

“It was a frightening time when I had to leave the Ivory Coast,” said Kanga. “I had to leave my whole life behind. I came to England not knowing what would happen to me.”

“When I got to Liverpool, I received so much help. The city council supported me and helped me to find somewhere to stay. I have loved the city ever since and am proud to call it my home.”

The 51-year-old, who works for the Riverside Housing Association, became aware of the council’s Always Room Inside campaign to support the city’s rough sleepers and wanted to do something to help.

“The city has given me so much that I wanted to give something back,” said Kanga. “I visited The Whitechapel Centre at Christmas and decided I needed to do something to support their great work.”

Going back to his recording roots, Kanga has put out a single entitled Give it to me, under his stage name Nicaise Koffi, which he says is a love song to Liverpool and UK.

And the big-hearted singer has decided 10 per cent of the royalties from the song to the Whitechapel Centre, to support its work with rough sleepers.

 “The song is about being grateful for all the good things that have happened to me while I have been here,” he said. “The people of Liverpool are my brothers and sisters, so I wanted to do something to help. Hopefully, people will like the song and realise they are helping a great cause at the same time.”

Give it to me has already received some great airplay and has even been picked up by BBC Radio One’s Music Introducing for unsigned artists. It is available for download on iTunes and Apple Music for just 79p.

The video, which has been shot against the backdrop of the majestic Liverpool skyline is available to view on Youtube: https://bit.ly/2RHXphT

Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said: “We are doing all we can to support people who are sleeping rough in Liverpool and it’s great that so many people in the community are helping out as well. Clearly, Kanga has taken Liverpool to his heart and has got the real Scouse spirit of looking out for other people. What Kanga is doing is really impressive, and he’s obviously got the Scouse spirit of helping others. All of us should log on and buy the single today.”

The Whitechapel Centre’s Fundraising Manager, Ruth McCaughley added: “We’re very grateful to Kanga for supporting us with his music and helping people who are homeless in Liverpool.”

For more information about the work of The Whitechapel Centre, visit: www.whitechapelcentre.co.uk

No-one in Liverpool needs to sleep on the streets – there is Always Room Inside. If you have concerns for someone sleeping rough in Liverpool, call the Always Room Inside Helpline: 0300 123 2041.

Liverpool Waterfront