Hernan Sforzini, reggae’s torchbearer in Argentina
This is the final of a 10-part series looking at the impact of dancehall/reggae culture around the world.
COME June, when the World Cup kicks off in Brazil, many Jamaicans will support Argentina. Throughout the year, however, Hernan Sforzini carries reggae's flag in Argentina.
Sforzini is the man behind HEMP! Tribute Reggae to The Beatles Vol II, a three-disc album saluting the Fab Four.
The set contains songs by Steel Pulse, Don Carlos, Groundation, Sly and Robbie, Yellowman, Mad Professor, Raging Fyah, Andrew Tosh, Big Mountain, Rebelution, Pato Banton and Ras Michael and the Sons of Negus.
'HEMP!' is a follow-up to El Album Verde (or The Green Album) which features Beatles songs done by top Argentinian reggae acts.
Sforzini, 37, says it was a challenge assembling the artistes for HEMP! Profits from the album will go toward constructing a well for the people of Pucallpa, Peru.
"It's been hard work to get them 'cause there are 56 artistes from all over the world. The project took three years of Jah Work," he told the Jamaica Observer.
Sforzini is from the city of Lanus and has been listening to Jamaican music since he was 12 years old.
In addition to being a producer, he is a musician and show promoter who has brought artistes like Groundation, Andrew Tosh, Israel Vibration and SOJA to his country.
While many Jamaican acts have performed in Argentina in the last 10 years, the most popular reggae artistes are home-grown.
Bands like Los Cafres, Los Pericos, Kameleba, Nonpalidece and Dancing Mood are the best known of the Argentinian acts. They play mainly in the capital Buenos Aires and Marl Del Plata, the country's most vibrant reggae centres.
Reggae's growth in Argentina, Sforzini points out, would not be possible without radio.
"There are two big reggae radio shows. One is LadeDios and the other Pelagatos, these are the ones that play hard, supporting the reggae music," he said. South America is one of reggae's emerging markets. Argentina, Brazil and Chile attract the music's biggest names.