Reggae, Jawaiian style
By Cecelia Campbell-Livingston Observer staff reporter firstname.lastname@example.org
With February being Reggae Month, this is the seventh in an eight-part series looking at reggae's global influence. The music originated in Jamaica but has been embraced by people in many countries. Today, we feature Sahra Indio from Hawaii.
IT took one album — The Wailers' Catch A Fire — for Hawaiian reggae artiste Sahra Indio to get hooked on Jamaican music.
The 1973 album inspired her to become a professional musician. She started out as a solo act in 1999 but performs these days with the Jahringa Reggae Band in her native land.
According to Indio, who is in her early 60s, the reggae scene in Hawaii has been vibrant for decades with a number of small labels and home-grown artistes.
"Bob Marley toured the Aloha State performing in support of the Survival album in 1978 and 1979. His music and One Love philosophy resonated with island people," she told the Jamaica Observer.
She continued: "Bob's music greatly influenced the music scene throughout the island chain leading to a new genre dubbed Jawaiian that still dominates the airwaves of Hawaii's FM radio stations."
While she is yet to perform or record in Jamaica, the country holds a special place for Indio.
"My husband and I honeymooned in Jamaica in 2003 and returned in 2004 when he applied for work," she said.
"I feel long overdue to return and my dream is to return in support of my new album, The Tru I," Indio added.
She has recorded three albums for the independent label Olumeye Records. They are her 2003 debut Good's Gonna Happen; Change in 2007; and The Tru I which was released in 2012.
Good's Gonna Happen's title song is Indio's signature. It won the Unisong International Contest's Reggae Song Of The Year Award in 2004.
She says her sound represents the reggae message of truth and rights. According to Indio, each album has a different flavour but the message is the same.
"Good's Gonna Happen has an R&B crossover flavour, Change has the signature of reggae guitarist/producer Tuff Lion and the Tru I has heavy European roots and dub influence," she explained.
Indio hopes The Tru I will pick up widescale distribution and become her first album to make an impact outside Hawaii.
She is currently working on a children's album entitled Auntie Reggae Time.