LargeUp Interview: Rolling with Martei Korley

July 1, 2014

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LargeUp: Why Glenda’s and Long Life Vegetarian?

Martei Korley: Glenda’s has the best roti skin around. Flaky and non-greasy. And it’s made by women with lots of years of experience in the art of, dare I say, the perfect roti. Long Life Vegetarian has fruit mossโ€”Irish moss made without milk. Most Irish moss is made with dairy and it’s thick and desert-like. This is refreshing, non-cloying. Perfect for a vocalist.

LU: How long have you been singing?

MK: I have been singing since I was a child. Funny enough, I used to sing in church. Regular rehearsals, and Sunday performance, with a big choir. I started to write my own songs, and decided to record them as a way of me contributing to the music I love. Being that I used it so much, I felt like I had to. Reggae is always on my mind.

LU: You spent your early years in Denmark. How were you introduced to reggae?

MK: I first became aware of reggae by hearing Bob Marley. Something about the rhythm just resonated with me. I had been brought up listening to a lot of soul by my mother. And my environment had a lot of rock music. So reggae was a natural choice.

LU: How did you get involved with documenting reggae as a photographer?

MK: Before actually working as a photographer, I somehow managed to work hard enough at photography that I was able to kind of document live shows and those kind of things in a meaningful way.ย Sometimes, I would get the occasional gig out of it. I wanted to create more emotive images, because the music was emotive to me. Growing up in a very homogenous society, there were few positive black role models and I guess that even at that early stage, the royal appearance of Rastafari, which is in reality an expression of the West African kingship and social construct, had a profound influence and piqued my interest.

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