Roving reporter Reshma B is back once again with the latest goings-on from the world of reggae and dancehall…
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“Love your brothers and love your sisters,” sang Martin James Norman Riley, a distinguished vocalist known to music lovers the world over as Jimmy Riley who passed away around the dawning of March 23rd. Mr. Riley grew up in the musically blessed and economically stressed Waterhouse section of Western Kingston, and attended school with Slim Smith, with whom he would later record the timeless ‘My Conversation’ as a member of the seminal Jamaican harmony group The Uniques. He also applied his rich and soulful voice to solo recordings like ‘Love & Devotion’ produced by Sly & Robbie and a cover of Marvin Gaye’s ‘Sexual Healing’ that topped the UK reggae charts. His musical legacy is further enriched by the fact that he was the father of Tarrus Riley, with whom he often shared the stage.
In an Instagram post, Tarrus Riley reaffirmed that “Jah Jah Run Tings, so I nuh need fi worry. Give thanks for all blessings seen n unseen from this time forth forevermore.”
Police in Croydon have reportedly instituted a ban on bashment music, claiming that it’s tied to crime and disorder. A letter from police advised one club was criticised for playing “what this borough finds unacceptable forms of music”. Dice Bar owner Roy Seda says he has had uncover cops in his club monitoring the music and has been forced to sack DJs for playing dancehall, even though customers often request the popular music. “They think I’m a racist”, he told a local newspaper. “All I can say is I am really sorry but the Metropolitan Police has told us [not to play bashment] and, if we do, I will lose my license. Someone has to stand up and say this isn’t right”.
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Chino McGregor and his brother Stephen a.k.a. ‘Di Genius’ have just dropped a hard-hitting track called ‘Zero Tolerance’. The sons of reggae legend Freddie McGregor are best known for dancehall-style cuts but their latest release finds them dropping revolutionary rhymes over a heavy roots track. Watch for their album ‘G.M.T.A.’ coming later this year.
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Check out Stephen McGregor talking about the latest Big Ship production…
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DJ Frass is dominating the dancehall with his new ‘All Inclusive’ riddim, a minimalist, high-energy beat that builds to a frenzied climax. Sean Paul liked the track so much he voiced two songs – the girls tune ‘Wine It’ and a more conscious cut called ‘Give Thanks For Life’. Hot new DJs Jahmiel and Vershon represent well in the juggling with ‘You Can Do It Too’ and ‘Feeling High’ respectively, but the sure-shot has to be Mavado’s ‘Big Bumpa Gal’ because as usual, it’s all about the girls. Check out this interview with new artist Jahmiel, on how he linked with the Gully Gad…
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Since stepping on the scene in 2013, Alkaline has proved to be one of dancehall’s more controversial artists. From his extremely hardcore lyrics to the fuss over eyeballs – which he initially claimed were tattooed black, although it now appears that they were contact lenses – Alka keeps people talking. He has been criticised for emulating Vybz Kartel’s style and image, but there’s no doubt that the artist has plenty of talent of his own.
His first official album, ‘Level Unlocked’ is slated to drop on Zojak Records this month. Judging by the first single, ‘Champion Boy’, which was watched over half a million times in its first two weeks of release, Alkaline will continue to keep his fans enthralled and his haters annoyed.
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If its April it must be time for Coachella. California turns upside down each year as one of the most popular music festival plans to take over for two consecutive weekends. This year if you are a reggae fan then its all about Chronixx and Protoje, the two who collaborated on hit song ‘Who Knows’ will be performing on Saturday 16th and 23rd April. For more info and tickets click HERE.
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TO WRAP UP
Coldplay and Beyoncé may have stirred up charges of ‘cultural appropriation’ by shooting their latest music video, ‘Hymn For The Weekend’, in the streets of Bombay, but putting such controversies aside, the gorgeous clip serves as a timely reminder that if you haven’t visited this part of the world it should be on your bucket list. When Major Lazer shot their ‘Lean On’ video in India last year, they outdid themselves. The video, which has racked up over one billion views, has become a global hit.
Last month, shortly before they became the first American music group to perform in Cuba in over half a century, Major Lazer completed their second tour of India, kicking things off in Mumbai. Although it’s not the nation’s capital, Bombay – as the Brits named it – is a cosmopolitan city that’s not just the epicentre of the Bollywood industry, it’s a hub for just about everything cool taking place in the country. So it’s no surprise that Major Lazer attracted an enormous audience to Bombay’s Mahalaxmi race ground. The dancehall/EDM mashup outfit took over the night in their usual style, throwing down nonstop hits from remixes from Sean Paul to Elephant Man on this occasion without any guest artists, a reminder that the sound system itself has become the star.
The audience was packed with diehard fans taking instructions from Walshy Fire who MC’d most of the night with Jillionaire behind the decks leaving Diplo free to get the crowd going by all means necessary – whether walking over them inside a giant plastic ball or shooting confetti bombs all over them. The Major Lazer crew, which originally started as Diplo, Switch and Skerrit Bwoy (the later who have now been replaced) has expanded to include four female dancers whose moves had all the boys focused. Meanwhile both Diplo and Walshy kept the girls on their toes by going topless through much of the show. The concert wrapped up on a high note with an extended performance of ‘Lean On’. While the rest of the crew wore white, Dipo donned a traditional black Kurta as he expressed himself about this country. “Major Lazer loves India,” Diplo declared. “The whole world loves India, and India is one of the most amazing places in the whole universe”. See Ya Next Month!
Words: Reshma B
Reggae & Dancehall #49: Alkaline, DJ Frass & Tarrus Riley