Entertainment

Bad Boys to reggae's rescue

By Cecelia Campbell-Livingston Observer staff reporter livingstonc@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, August 21, 2012    

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WITH over 40 years in the music under their belt, Inner Circle has just about seen and done it all. Recently, the band launched their latest, and arguably, most important, initiative.

Their dissatisfication with contemporary Jamaican music inspired the Saving The Reggae Music campaign.

Bass player and founding member Ian Lewis warns that "unless proper steps are taken, then we are going to lose the best thing that we ever had."

Lewis says current reggae is too influenced by American hip hop. In light of this trend, the group is pushing their latest song, This Is Reggae Music, a cover of the Zap Pow band's hit song from the early 1970s.

According to Lewis, the song is "very appropriate" to get the band's message across.

"We think it is a key song to express to the world our sentiments," he said, adding that an accompanying video will cement the quartet's message.

Lewis believes Jamaican youth have lost touch with their culture, and foregners have noticed this.

"In America alone, there are over 400 white reggae bands, they are the ones enjoying nine months out of the year tours," said Lewis.

Recently, Billboard Magazine did a feature on the rise of American bands like Rebelution and Groundation, who have made a name through constant touring.

Lewis hopes the Inner Circle mission will go viral and influence real change among Jamaican youth to get back to basics as far as reggae is concerned.

Formed in the early 1970s, Inner Circle retains three of its core. Lewis' older brother, guitarist Roger, is another founding member while keyboardist Bernard 'Touter' Harvey has been in the band for over 35 years.

Led by singer Jacob Miller, the band had a string of hit songs such as Tenement Yard and Everything is Great. Miller died in 1980, putting the brakes on Inner Circle's career.

They made a remarkable comeback in 1993 with the big hit songs Sweat (A La La La La Long) and Bad Boys. They won the Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album the next year.

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