Words by Tami Tsansai, Photos by el Puru and Martei Korley
There’s a reggae revival rocking Jamaica, with a flurry of up-and-coming artists determined to bring the music back to its roots, and free the masses from Babylon’s grip. The fortunate emergence of a series of culturally-minded acoustic concerts over the past few months has brought a welcome change from the inarticulate music that’s flooded the landscape in recent years. While dancehall does have its place, and a sizable portion at that, given its current state it is only natural that the need for ‘realness’ would emerge to counteract the dumbing down of Jamaican music.
It’s as if a group of prolific, talented, grounded young artists suddenly awakened to intense cultural starvation and simultaneously moved towards the Tree of Life. And no, I don’t mean weed, I mean reggae. Subtract the hype. Give us the bare essentials—no bling, no dancing girls, no profiling—just pure, sweet, live, conscious reggae, complete with militant lyrics, sweetened with scintillating instrumentals, Afro-centric fashion, black pride and the necessary ‘uptown’ profilers and groupies.
Live From Kingston last Saturday in Manor Park, Jamaica, was living proof of this. The third in a series of concerts presented by I&I Worldwide at the Base Kingston & Belle store—this time in association with Anubis Communications and We Are Massiv–the show certainly delivered much-needed entertainment and mental stimulation, with performances from Protoje, Jesse Royal, Nyla and Kelissa. Scroll through el Puru (black and white) and Martei Korley’s (color) photo series, and start making plans for the next one!