Ginjah does ode to Survival


Ginjah does ode to Survival

Observer senior writer

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

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Since kicking off his career over 20 years ago, Ginjah has experienced the ups and downs of the music business. He has travelled the world and performed at major festivals, but remains boxed in the 'one to watch' column.

On March 20, the singersongwriter is scheduled to release Survival, his fourth album. Produced by Young Veterans, it is a strong 12-song effort he describes as deeply personal.

“The lead single from the album is Survival, which speaks about my life directly and indirectly. There's a lot of times I want to pick up arms and do terrible things, because every time I lift my head above water, someone want me to drown,” he told the Jamaica Observer. “I was born to sing, that's why I won't get carried away; faith is all I have.”

Survival will be released three years after Roots, his previous album. That was preceded by 2010's Never Lost my Way and Urge to Love, which was released four years later.

Other songs from Survival, namely Jah by my Side and Fire Blaze, are also autobiographical and focus on the resilience Ginjah credits for keeping him in a competitive music game. Despite frustrations, he believes his songwriting continues to improve.

“Looking back on my previous albums, there's a huge difference on Survival in terms of message and delivery. It's plastered with soul, which is lacking in reggae music these days,” he stated. “Writing these types of songs showed that I've come a far way. To God be the glory.”

For the Survival sessions, Ginjah was backed by guitarists Earl “Chinna” Smith and Dalton Browne, bassist Chris Meredith, drummer Desi Jones, trumpeter Vivian Scott and trombonist Everald Gayle.

Ginjah was born Valentine Nakrumah Fraser in rustic Hanover but grew up in tough Central Village, St Catherine. Ink Out of The Pen, his first song, was released in 1996; a flow of songs followed when he became a member of Beres Hammond's Harmony House label, including War Inna di City, Responsibilities and People Need Love.

While with Harmony House, Ginjah toured the world, performing in Japan, Dubai, Kenya and Brazil. He has also performed at Summerjam in Germany and Belgium's Reggae Geel.

Though he is committed to the concept of making good albums, Ginjah knows the consequences of a hit song.

“Having a hit single would mean everything. I have my family to take care of; a hit single would put food on the table. Mi need like 10 hit singles right now, trust mi!” he joked.

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