Jahmali soars with Wings

Observer senior writer

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

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Though he rode in on the roots-reggae wave that engulfed dancehall music in the 1990s, singer Jahmali has never liked to be linked to any genre.

His new song, Wings, is a World Beat-like ballad different in feel from his previous work like El Shadai, the 1998 track that announced him.

“Mi neva want anybody put mi inna a box. Wi deliver di music as it come to wi,” he said.

Self-produced, Wings was released early this month. Jahmali, 46, said he recorded it after encouragement from friends and positive response at various events.

“They heard mi playing it on di guitar. I performed it at Bar Mitzvahs and weddings an' people tek on to it, so mi sey mek mi jus' record it an' put it out,” he explained.

Brothers Dalton (guitar) and Danny (keyboards), and bassist Benjy Myaz, are among the musicians who played on Wings.

Jahmali (born Ryan Thomas) was a silent partner in the roots-reggae resurgence of the 1990s. Born in Clarendon, he was a student at Mico Teacher's College in Kingston when artistes like Garnet Silk and Tony Rebel dominated the charts early that decade.

Twenty years ago, Jahmali got his first hit with the uplifting El Shadai for producer Donovan Germain. He believes he has not repeated that success, largely because producers and fans are looking for songs in a similar vein.

“People expect to hear di same thing over an' over. I'd like dem to hear songs as songs an' not stereotype us,” he said.

Jahmali is scheduled to kick off summer dates in the United States in August in the West Coast.




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