Shemaiah looks to Europe
WITH its vibrant summer festival circuit, Europe has been a breadbasket for roots-reggae artistes for over 40 years.
A new wave of Jamaican acts including singer Micah Shemaiah are looking to build on the legacy of pioneers like Bob Marley, Burning Spear and Culture.
Shemaiah is scheduled to kick off a week of dates tomorrow in Augsburg, Germany, followed by appearances at Spain's Rototom Sunsplash next week.
For the 33-year-old artiste, the Rototom gig is "massive exposure" for his songs which include Dread at The Control and Reggae Rockit.
"It's said to be the biggest reggae festival in the world, so you get introduced to a broad spectrum," Shemaiah told the Jamaica Observer.
Last year, he did a handful of dates in the United Kingdom and spent a month in South Africa promoting the independent film, Bad Friday.
Born Micah Shemaiah Abraham, Shemaiah's roots are grounded in the Twelve Tribes of Israel Rastafarian organisation. It's where he learned the music of Marley, Ini Kamoze, the Visionaires, Mighty Diamonds and Still Cool.
Shortly after leaving high school (Excelsior and Jamaica College), he began recording for producers such as Bobby Digital and Buju Banton, but his recent songs like Dread at The Control are self-produced.
"That's very important, you have to have certain control over your music. It's the age we're living in," he said.
All Shemaiah's tracks are released on vinyl, a deliberate strategy to tap into a resurgent market in Europe and Japan.
It is a method that has worked for Jamaican artistes, particularly in Europe, for decades.
"Reggae has always had two markets, underground and mainstream. I'm pretty well known in the underground and I don't mind that," he said. "It's why I'm on these festivals."
Micah Shemaiah will also perform at the Uprising Reggae Festival in Slovakia and Regalowisko in Poland.
- Howard Campbell