With all of the upheaval around the world the steady vibes of positive reggae music has been permeating throughout. The year has marked the anniversary for a number of significant early recordings of the genre.
Greensleves celebrated its 40th year in the business as one of the most influential labels based in the UK that supported both domestic and imported productions from the island of Jamaica. (Two Sevens Clash) also had it’s 40th recognized with a re-release.
This album, by Culture, a vocal trio comprised of Joseph Hill (lead singer), Albert Walker and Kenneth Dayes providing vocal harmonies is considered to be one of the most influential works that spread the Rastafari message of peace, love and unity.
It would be remiss not to mention that (Two Sevens Clash) was produced by the legendary Joe Gibbs.
The Heart of the Congos also celebrated their 40th with a re-released by
17 North Parade and VP Records, yet another priceless creation that has stood the test of time.
We are not done with the legends as yet. At 80 plus years young, Lee “Scratch” Perry and Subatomic Sound System teamed up to millenniumize Perry’s classic genre defining Jamaican dub album and believe us when we say the “Super Ape Returns to Conqueror”.
Within our borders, whether you agreed or disagree with the 150 initiatives and celebrations, it allowed the Caribbean Music Industry, with reggae being a major part, the opportunity to shine brighter.
2017 was ushered in by Exco Levi performing at Nathan Phillips Square as part of Toronto’s annual “New Years Eve” celebrations. The event is one of Canada’s biggest outdoor celebrations, which features many of Canada’s biggest musical acts.
Moss “Mossman” Raxlen – Kingston All Stars brought together the who’s who of musicianship Sly Dunbar, Robbie Lyn, Mikey “Mao” Chung, Ansel Collins, Linford “Hux” Brown, Jackie Jackson, Everton & Everald Gayle. Some of the major centers got the pleasure of hearing then live and free of cost with notable singers such as Carol Brown, Stranger Cole, Noel Ellis during the summer outdoor festival season.
Toronto was also able to see and hear artists such as Nana McLean, Jay Douglas, Otis Gayle among others performed in “Little Jamaica” with acclaimed , internationally renowned selecta African Star. The legendary Ska “duos” Roy and Yvonne from Jamaica also made an appearance gave a stellar performance of some of their classics and new releases at Remix Lounge in Toronto.
The music industry experienced some sadness this year with the loss of several legendary artists but their legacy and influence will live on for eternity through the music. We certainly saw that influence alive and well at the 59th Grammy Awards as Pop icon Katy Perry performed her Reggae inspired song “Chained To The Rhythm”, which features Skip Marley.
We also heard new music from the next generation that represented some of the most legendary names in reggae music; such names as the Ellis, the Morgan family, Browns, Toshes, Reids’ , Hammonds, and Dubees’. They are many more names to mention which could take the entire post but rest assured the legacy holders are on the job.
So as we close this article we must mention that there’s another Marley (Damian Marley) up for a Grammy alongside the Royal Family of Reggae (Morgan Heritage) with Chronixx who we would love to see his air miles, J Boog (a reggae singer of Soman descent) and Common Kings (of South Pacific origin hailing from Cali).
Tasha T was also nominated for an Indigenous Music Awards while 5 times Juno award winner Exco Levi released a new album (Narrrative). African artists such as Stonebowy and Shatta Wale working closer with the originators from the Reggae/ Dancehall genre while maintaining their respective unique African Sound.
A small Canadian based independent label, Indie Rootz Records, produced 3 distinctly different artists, from 3 different countries at the same time with one goal in mind; perfection. It paid off with the help of distribution from VPal Music.
We would also like to mention some of the latest releases such as “Kingston meets Havanna” presented by Mista Savona and Leah Rosier among others on the Black Star Foundation.
When have seen Reggae Festivals from Dubai to Argentina, as the music becomes its own living entity.
Reggae Music in all its various forms is alive and well and it’s for us the general public and purveyors of the music to ensure that the artists continue to produce by listening, purchasing and attending the live performances.
Bring it on 2018!
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