Ajak Kwai recalls a childhood in a small town called Bor in the Malakal Region of the Upper Nile, where villagers would gather for ceremonies under the full moon. Although just a child, the compulsion to sing was too much for Ajak and from an early age, she was singing more than she was speaking, in the unique style of her people, the Dinka.
In 1992, due to religious and political unrest in Sudan, Ajak was forced to leave her home and went to live in Egypt. After seven years of exile in Cairo, she was granted refugee status under the UN Humanitarian Aid program and migrated to Australia. This was a difficult time for Ajak but she used the anvil of adversity to hone her abilities. Forging a new career that combined her cultural roots with her new life, Ajak teamed up with local world and jazz musicians including multi instrumentalist extraordinaire, Martin Tucker. Since then she has become known around Australia for her soulful and distinctly Saharan voice that expresses heartfelt songs of love and hope for her homeland and deeply philosophical and global concerns. She sings about important values in Dinka culture: love, peace and the all-important cows, the source of Dinka life. In 2004, Ajak produced her debut CD Why not Peace & Love? and later in 2008 produced her second CD Come Together, featuring some of Australia’s finest musicians, including Nicky Bomba, Martin Tucker, Ernie Grunner to name a few. This CD was supported by the Australian Council Music Board and launched by Paul Petran as part of ABC’s Music Deli series.
“All My Wives” is a killer example of raw Aussie/Sudanese funk. Addressing the hardships of exile, the joys of love and calling for world peace. Kwai has created an exciting album that showcases her magnificent vocal range. (Seth Jordan, Limelight Magazine, August 2008).
Ajak sings in her native Dinka language as well as in Arabic and English. Her deeply philosophical and global concerns are expressed in her heartfelt songs about freedom, peace, love, marriage, and ... cows, the foundation of Dinka life. Her performing style has great appeal, both visually and musically. She is a unique artist, a very special African woman artist and storyteller and wherever she performs it leaves her audience spellbound.