Woman time

Rodigan praises young females in reggae at this time

BY RICHARD JOHNSON
Observer senior reporter
johnsonr@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, November 10, 2019

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Veteran British broadcaster and reggae aficionado, David Rodigan has praised the current influx of young, female artistes from Jamaica who are currently making waves for themselves and the music on the international market.

Singling out acts such as Lila Ike, Sevana, Bella Blair and Koffee, Rodigan noted that their success at this time has a lot to do with their incredible talent and the sociopolitical climate of the time. This, he told the Jamaica Observer,comes against the background of a dearth in the presence of reggae and dancehall music out of Jamaica in the global marketplace at this time when reggae music is celebrating its 50th anniversary.

“I think where we were a few years ago is where we were supposed to be at this time, when reggae was having a huge impact globally. The fact that you have a festival like Rototom Sunsplash in Benicassim, Spain, is incredible. Yes we have made amazing moves and the development of the music is incredible, but in more recent times quite frankly, we have not had the stamina and the output that we once had,” he shared.

Rodigan, who was in Jamaica for the two-part event Dubwise Jamaica, held in Ocho Rios on Friday and in Kingston last night, noted that while he is not looking for carbon copies of the pioneering reggae artistes, the genre is in need of singers and artistes whom he described as having the calibre, majesty and sheer magic of a Dennis Brown, Bob Andy, Gregory Isaacs, The Abysinians, and Toots and The Maytals.

“I have to ask myself why is it that we have had groups like the Skatalites and all these people I've mentioned back in the day, and now we have so few. So, we are not where we could be or should be in 2019 — 50 years after the first reggae record,” he emphasised.

That said, he mentioned the likes of Chronixx, Protoje, Jesse Royal, and Kabaka Pyramid, whom he noted are putting in the work, but stated that more Jamaican artistes with the level of talent, skill and style of these artistes are required to lift the international profile of the music back to its former pride of place.

It is against that background that he praised the work of the young females, noting their impact and fresh take on the music.

“They have got something to say and when somebody has got something to say, and they're young and have that power and energy that comes with youth, you have to sit up and take notice. Koffee is a perfect example. I think that the reason why these women are coming through at this time is partly because of the #MeToo movement and women are now declaring, 'we've got something to say, and we are here to say it. We're not going to hold back, we are putting it out there'. These young women have got something to say and it is exciting.

“I don't live my life looking in the rear view mirror; I believe in the future, I believe in seeking and finding new talent, and I see it in the most incredible new talent coming out of Jamaica at this time. I have to talk about Koffee. She is a real master of hope about bringing dancehall music with a positive message. I will tell you that Koffee is being played on daytime radio across the United Kingdom on a daily basis. That is incredible.”


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