Dubtonic wins Global Battle of the Bands
DUBTONIC Kru, the Jamaican representative to the Global Battle of the Bands (GBOB) walked away with the top spot on Saturday.
The event, which was held in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur, saw the local band pocket the grand prize of US$100,000 and the chance to go on a world tour and the title Best New Band in the World.
Local GBOB franchise holder, Seretse Small was still overjoyed when the Observer caught up with him yesterday. Small says he was at an event on Saturday when he got the news. "I wanted to cry, this is really above and beyond what I expected. I knew Dubtonic had a chance, but for it to materialise is really special and exciting, " Small gushed.
He believes this win for the local band makes a strong statement regarding the way forward for bands and live music in Jamaica. "I really hope younger bands and acts in general will now see the light, drawing on the experience of Dubtonic Kru, so they can ease off the hype and take time to write better music, rehearse more and just develop their craft, " he noted.
On another level, Small hopes this win in Malaysia will also be a watershed for sponsors and government to see the benefits of investing in music over the long term.
Dubtonic Kru beat nine other groups to win the local leg of (GBOB) in Kingston in February.
The judges included Ibo Cooper, an Edna Manley College lecturer and former member of Third World; Ray Hitchins, former head of the guitar department at the Edna College; Jon Baker, head of Geejam Records and Mickey Bennett, head of Grafton Studios and famed songwriter.
Dubtonic has toured the world with artistes including U-Roy, Richie Spice and Voicemail, but are not only a backing band. The members include bassist Stone, guitarist Jallanzo, keyboardist Luke, drummer Jubba and vocalist Kamau. The signature sound is heavy drum and bass above psychedelic guitars and keyboard dub-echoing into separate dimensions.
This year's staging of the local competition was the second staging of the event since 2005. It was delayed each year due to lack of funding.
This year, the event organiser in Malaysia offered to cover travel and accommodation expenses.
The band Live Wyya won the first staging five years ago but didn't win the ultimate contest overseas. Notwithstanding, they networked and played in countries including Japan. In fact, Live Wyya announced the release of their latest album Spread The Love, last month indicating continued growth. However, it was the band Rootz Underground (which placed third in 2005) that ultimately received the most exposure from the event in Jamaica and continue to tour extensively.
Global Battle of the Bands is the self described "world's biggest live talent competition for bands " started in 2004 with 16 countries participating which expanded to over 30 in 2010.