Music

Going back to the roots

Thursday, November 14, 2019

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Music producer Alphonso Henclewood looks to bridge roots-reggae's generation gap with Look Where We Are, a compilation album released in October by his Montego Records.

The 12-track set contains songs by stalwart singers Prince Alla, Michael Prophet and Earl Zero. Autarchii, Magma and Isha Bel are some of the acts representing contemporary reggae.

“Yuh have to bring di old with di young to keep di flow going. Some of di songs wi did years ago, but wi update certain things to keep dem fresh,” said Henclewood.

The New Mexico-based producer has an affinity for spiritual reggae, having grown up in Greenwich Farm, Kingston, where that sound flourished during the 1970s. He grew up listening to Prince Alla and Earl Zero, who are from Greenwich Farm, and was friends with Prophet who died in 2017.

While visiting Jamaica, Henclewood got acquainted with some of the younger acts and eventually recorded songs which he added to Look Where We Are. They include Prince Alla's They Can't Stop Me, Black Beauty by Autarchii and Last Days from Earl Zero.

Most of the recording sessions took place in Jamaica at Tuff Gong studios with veteran musicians including guitarist Earl “Chinna” Smith and drummer Leroy “Horsemouth” Wallace. While he wants to reach as wide an audience as possible, Henclewood is keen on impacting the Jamaican market.

“Jamaica a di root, is where everything start. At di same time this is uplifting music an' Jamaicans need music dat will uplift dem,” said Henclewood.

Most of the songs Henclewood has recorded as a singer and producer have been released by Montego Records which he launched over 20 years ago. The company released his second album, Walk In The Light, in January.

— Howard Campbell


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