Though born and raised in Jamaica, Damian Marley is truly an international reggae star. His albums have sold all around the world and he has toured on multiple continents. In the past few years he has collaborated with household names from North America such as Jay-Z, Nas, Skrillex and Bruno Mars, along with local artists.
His style combines themes and sounds from all around the world and that same multi-cultural approach is evident on the video from his latest Grammy-award wining album, “Stony Hill.”
Entitled, “Speak life” the video depicts Damian Marley sprouting words of wisdom and encouragement such as:
Live a humble and meek life
Ordinary day of the week life
Try to search and seek life”
This is set to the background of mesmerizing guitar licks and rhythmic African percussion. This is not the only area of the video where the continent’s influence is present as the video was shot in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, during his tour of Africa. It features several beautiful shots of ordinary Ethiopians as they go about their daily activities with Amharic (official language of Ethopia) subtitles playing throughout the video.
Shot by Jerry Henry, the creator of the documentary “Africa, I promise” the video is also a display of the reverence that continues to exist between the Marley family and Ethopia. Yet another example of how our heritage has been exported by our cultural flag-bearers.
Below is a video of Damian’s tour of Africa.
Contributed by Brian ‘Kaz’ Kazaara.
“One good thing about music is when it hits you feel no pain”
Reggae is…. Indescribable. It is a musical language born from a people who had no voice, people who were the downtrodden of society and cast aside. In the history of Jamaica, you will find Reggae has a prominent part to play as both a symbol of unity and peace where its lyrics held sway over the ambitions of many a youth who sought the spotlight in the good ol’ Sound System days where the One Drop ruled supreme.
Fast forward to present day where Reggae’s younger sibling, Dancehall has been dominant for the last few years and where Reggae is seen as something for the more mature crowd who are not necessarily into the raunchy and outspoken nature of Dancehall, where it is more celebrated in Europe and Japan and you wonder about the allure that Reggae has on these predominantly white/Asian cultures. You see Reggae for us (Jamaicans, Caribbeans and African races) is built in, the drums are our heartbeat, the guitar resonates with the tingles in our skin. For persons not in black culture, it is almost a rare sensation, almost like watching an eclipse and then feeling the sun on your skin again after a cold morning. Its warmth spreads and there is this feeling of calm in your body. For us, it is natural.
Lately I have been listening to to Reggae instrumentals, a strange habit I know yet it has let me have a new appreciation for where the genre is today. In the past musicians were expensive and to keep costs down, you had to keep the beat to the minimum. You had your pianist, rhythm guitarists, the drummer who was the heartbeat of the riddim with the One Drop and then of course the bassist who is the soul with the rhythmic, resonating thumm thumm in the background . Then there was one additional sound to add, whether this was a horn or a harmonica or the mento box but something to “sweeten the beat.” This of course meant that your lyrics in a sense were front and center. Think of Dub Poetry as Reggae’s other cousin with the beat helping to tell your story but can also tell a story BY itself. Dancehall as a pop variant of Reggae is a slave to the whims of its younger audience, having to move to trends and fads remember the auto tune (computer voice) phase that almost every genre went through? Exactly.
Reggae’s deliberate and sometimes unconscious simplicity is what gives it that ability to transcend cultural borders and norms. It’s one of the reasons why long after his death Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds even without its lyrics feels like a song that one can wake up to, “Redemption Song’s” instrumental has a feeling of deep thought, sadness and hope, “Is This Love?” has a joyous and questioning feel to it. Reggae’s roots in simplicity and the earnestness of its everyday practitioners in the ghetto who valued togetherness and had a certain honest nature to them is welcomed even more so that it is so rare these days. After all if you do Reggae these days, you do it for the love not the likes.
Contributed by Patrick Lawson from Patricklawson.online.
Sunday, December 4 was the Liguanea Art Festival and I decided to visit as I had vowed to follow through on my promise to visit more Art shows to embrace my love of the different fields. Fortunately for me also, this was their 12th year in staging the event and it promised to an exciting affair.
The show started at 10am, but sadly I arrived at 3 due to the inclement weather. Much to my surprise, the sun was out shining brightly with a sizeable crowd browsing the different booths, and here I thought that Jamaicans didn’t like being out when the rain was coming. The event itself was pretty laid back, the venue, Liguanea Plaza, was small but very well put together to accommodate its over 100 artists. A small section of Hope Road was even cordoned off to make more space for booths with sponsor Red Stripe being highly visible at the entrance. Visually, it was spectacular; colours as far as the eyes could see, paintings, sculptures, jewellery, all different fields of art were represented and the talent gathered here was truly awe inspiring. Browsing each booth yielded different styles yet the Jamaican culture was prominently displayed; scenes of rivers, mountains, dancing and the ever popular African inspired painting was present. Jewellery was a hit with the crowd as each piece was different, unique in their design and eye catching. Continue reading “Liguanea Art Festival 2016: Bright and Colourful”